According to the Hollywood Reporter, the Trinidadian-born artist submitted the track to various hip-hop categories for the 2023 Grammy Awards; however, a source claimed the Academy pulled the track from rap consideration after determining it was better suited for Best Pop Solo Performance. As THR points out, the move is particularly notable as “Super Freaky Girl” has dominated the rap charts since it debuted at No. 1 back in August.
In addition to spending eight weeks atop Billboard’s Hot Rap Songs chart, it also garnered more than 3 million Spotify streams following its release, marking the biggest debut for a solo female hip-hop record in the platform’s history.
The insider said the decision was primarily based on the playful, poppy of the song, which samples Rick James’ iconic 1981 hit “Super Freak.” THR writes that there have been other tracks with “rap elements” that have competed for pop awards. These include Lizzo’s “Truth Hurts,” Doja Cat’s “Say So,” and Post Malone’s “Better Now.”
Nicki addressed the report in an Instagram Live stream, claiming the move was unfair and inconsistent.
“Super Freaky Girl,’ where I only rapped on the song, was removed out of the rap categories at the Grammys and put in pop,” she told viewers. “[Drake’s] ‘Hotline Bling’ won Best Rap Song and Best Rap Sung [Performance].”
Minaj went on to applaud Drake for calling out his own wins, stating that the 2017 hit was not a hip-hop song. She continued, “Now, let’s say that ‘Super Freaky Girl’ is a pop song. Let’s just say that. What is [Latto’s] ‘Big Energy’? … If you move ‘Super Freaky Girl’ out of rap and put it in pop, do the same thing for ‘Big Energy.’ Same producers on both songs, by the way. So let’s keep shit fair. Even when I’m rapping on a pop track, I still out-rap.”
Minaj also said the decision was a form of sabotage. “What do you think is going to happen when they start voting on these pop categories?” she said. “And it’s a bunch of people—white or whatever they’re from, older or whatever—and they have to decide between Nicki Minaj and Harry Styles, or Nicki Minaj and Adele. Like, that’s purposely designed so that Nicki is not in the category that we don’t want any competition in. ‘Put her in there so she has less of a chance to win.’ … But Black women rarely—even though we’re the most powerful group on the planet, a lot of times we don’t speak up until it’s too late.”
THR notes that Minaj has received 10 Grammy nominations throughout her career, and only competed in a pop category once. She earned a nod for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance for 2014’s “Bang Bang” alongside Ariana Grande and Jessie J.
You can hear Minaj’s full responses below. Complex has reached out to the Recording Academy and Nicki’s camp for comment.