Hours before Macklemore sent (then publicized) a semi-sorry text into Kendrick Lamar’s iPhone inbox last year, the humble frontman of Top Dawg Entertainment swallowed defeat at the 56th Grammy Awards. He entered L.A.’s Staples Center a Grammy nominee in six categories—Best New Artist, Best Rap Performance, Best Rap/Sung Collaboration, Best Rap Song, Best Rap Album and Album of the Year—but left a winner of none. We could handle Jay Z’s “Holy Grail” inching over him for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration and even Daft Punk taking home Album Of The Year, but we just knew in our heart of hearts that Kendrick would grace the stage with his trademark boyish grin to thank God for his wins in the rap categories. Especially Best Rap Album.
That didn’t happen, and more than a few people were ticked off at the Grammys voting committee for not recognizing an act of genius when it’s staring them in the face. This year was the perfect chance for them to get it right and redeem themselves from the obvious snub. Lamar was nominated for Best Rap Performance and Best Rap Song for “i,” the first single from his yet-to-be-titled forthcoming album, and by the end of the night—well, the beginning of it—he won them both, but something about the victory was more bitter than sweet.
The moment probably went unnoticed to viewers for a while, as the win was announced prior to the ceremonies, when everyone’s focus was on the red carpet fashion. If no one is around to see you bask in the well-deserved win that was robbed from you in Grammys prior, does it even exist? Forget that the TDE squad wasn’t in the building. Would it have killed them to announce that during prime time? Taylor Swift, however, was moved to digital tears after learning that her friend K.Dot took home his first ever Grammy.
— Taylor Swift (@taylorswift13) February 8, 2015
Absence aside, the lack of a chance to speak on his win on air was half of the let-down. It was the win for the song itself that was a bit iffy. K.Dot got the Grammy stamp of approval for “i,” his feel-good empowerment anthem of sorts. While it’s a fine song (that was admittedly hard to get into before seeing the visual component), it had nowhere near the commercial success as his 2012 magnum opus, good kid m.A.A.d city. Yes, it became the official promotional theme song for the NBA 2014-2015 season, a huge feat in and of itself, but of all the things this is what he’s acknowledged for? Not the album that was universally praised and defended across media platforms and amongst his rap peers? “i” is not so much an influential song, just a really good one. And we already know Kendrick has a penchant for making really good things (we’re still waiting for the full song with Dr. Dre from the Beats By Dre commercial).
These two smaller wins pale in comparison to how monumental it would’ve been to get the due diligence for GKMC last year. It almost feels like a pacifier from the Grammy committee. “Shh. Here, he finally got something. Will you be quiet now?” No wonder he didn’t even bother showing up. K.Dot knows what’s up. —Stacy-Ann Ellis (@stassi_x)
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