Let’s bump some Tierra Wack instead.
I didn’t watch The Grammys this year. And in all likelihood, you didn’t either. That’s because almost no one ever does. Their ratings are in a death spiral; this year’s were the worst for the awards show, ever.
The problem, as I see it, is that “The Academy” is made up of old, and in most cases clueless industry-types, who still long for the days when they could make a bajillion bucks selling “The Eagles Greatest Hits.” Keep in mind, this is a job–deciding the best records of the year–that could just as easily be done, and with infinitely-higher credibility, by a randomly-selected group of tweenage high school dropouts. Yet, with each passing year it is done with increasing incompetence by obvious tools.
The Grammys have done almost nothing right in their shameful, decades-long history of self-congratulatory bullshit.
I have long been a critic, especially of their racism; which is blatant and astonishing. As I wrote in 2015, after watching in disgust as they awarded Best Rap Album to a white artist for the second year in a row:
“If the Grammys are to be believed, a white artist has made the best hip-hop record 40% of the time in the past two decades. Wow. Is there anyone in the world who believes that to be reality? Does “The Academy” even believe that?”
The Academy never responded to my question and I highly doubt they even read my critique. Yet, they clearly felt some shame, because the following year, The Grammys went big on African-American music. LL Cool J hosted, there were countless tributes to nearly every black artist imaginable. Most of whom, it should be noted, were ignored by the Grammys when they were actually changing the course of music history. For example, Chic never won a single grammy in the late 70s and early 80s, but the Grammys sure called on Nile Rodgers when they needed someone to add some desperately-needed cred to the Lady Gaga-led tribute to David Bowie that year.
Yeah, you heard that right: Lady Gaga, in charge of a Bowie tribute. In their mind, those are similar artists. Kinfolk, if you will.
And that performance, a medley of Bowie’s greatest hits sung by someone who wears a meat suit for no other reason than to “be edgy” was actually much worse than it sounds, which is technically, and mathematically impossible. Except Lady Gaga was somehow able to do it. And the Grammys not only allowed it all to happen, they put it together.
For that alone, fuck the Grammys. But also, for millions of other reasons. Here is another:
Despite not watching the Grammys this year, it’s pretty clear to me that they decided to go full-on pander-mode once again. But this time, they pandered to women. And before you get your panties up in a bunch, I’m not against giving women their due, but I am against pandering to them. Clearly, the Grammys got the memo, probably as a result of reading utterly bullshit Pitchfork’s year end list for 2018. In case you missed it, the prevailing media narrative is this: 2018 was the “Year of the Woman”! Missing out on that would cash cow would be catastrophic considering the Grammys are presently enjoying a major credibility crisis with all demographics.
You’ll also notice the Grammys didn’t leave much to chance this year, either.
They knew full well how the academy might vote if given a choice, so they took care of that little problem by not nominating noticeably fewer men this year. Apparently, there wasn’t a single man in pop music who made a record good enough to be record of the year, last year. Sorry Drake, the academy has to be overly politically-correct because they’ve ignored women and people of color for decades. You don’t check all of the boxes, unfortunately.
That said, it’s not as if I feel sorry for Drake or anything (he did end up winning an award), and I do suppose you gotta give the Grammys a little credit, they are trying…I suppose. It’s just completely disingenuous and probably too little, too late. Because, even if they did address the real issue: that they are still (STILL!!!!) ignoring the year’s best music—it wouldn’t matter; they’ve already lost all credibility with people who love music.
I could go on for another 5,000 words about this shortcoming alone, but I’ll give you just one example: Tierra Whack.
This is an artist possessing an unparalleled amount of juice and fire right now. Yet her brilliant album (Whack World) was all but completely ignored by the Grammys (she got a best video nomination, which is a token acknowledgement at best, and she lost anyhow). But the Grammys did decide to nominate women like Cardi B, who have nothing to say, for Album of the Year instead, and for all I know, Cardi B won. But, like I said, I didn’t watch, I don’t want to watch, and most of all, I don’t even care enough to google it.
What I do know is this: Cardi B didn’t make the best album last near. Not even fucking close. Maybe one day she will, but it didn’t happen in 2018. Meanwhile the person who arguably did make the best album of the year, wallows in relative obscurity.
But don’t fret, Tierra Whack will still be one of the biggest stars on the planet within the next few years.
And that’s kind of the point. The Grammys don’t matter and probably they never will, ever again. They are completely fucking clueless and their show is nonstop bullshit and pandering. Truth be told, the Grammys deserve the position they now find themselves in. And make no mistake, these ratings are not going to help them find a major television network to carry their bullshit awards show next year.
America doesn’t give a fuck.
Network executives aren’t going to keep ignoring that inescapable fact. One day soon, I’m not going to have them to kick around anymore. To that, I say, “Good riddance.”
Now all we need is a music awards show that doesn’t suck. And while we all ponder on how hard that’s going to be to accomplish, given the Grammys were such an unmitigated disaster, let’s go bump some Tierra Whack and try to focus on what’s dope.
is a freelance writer and hipster emeritus. His work has appeared in various impressive publications including the one you’re enjoying now and he has his own music blog where he reviews music both old and new: oldnewborrowedblew.blogspot.com