Hip-Hop’s relationship with the Grammy Awards is checkered, to say the least. For the better part of the past four decades, rap artists have had to fight for the acknowledgment and respect of the mainstream and other cultural institutions, most notably the Recording Academy, which determines which artists and albums are nominated to receive awards.
Despite rap’s overwhelming popularity and impact on music, the Grammys have been slow to fully recognize the genre as worthy of their highest accolades, which include Song of the Year and Record of the Year. The Album of the Year award—which is given to the body of work or collection of songs that are deemed the most impressive by the Recording Academy—has only been won by two Hip-Hop artists: Lauryn Hill for her 1998 album, Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, and Outkast for their 2003 double-album, Speakerboxx/The Love Below.
That figure is shockingly small, given the number of Hip-Hop albums that have captivated the public and dominated the charts while earning critical acclaim as musical masterpieces. This, among other gripes, is why a segment of rap fans and figures are on the brink of boycotting the annual awards show, with some having already made that decision due to past perceived transgressions by the Recording Academy. And with superstars like Kanye West, Drake, Jay-Z, and others who’ve voiced their disenchantment with the Grammys, only time will tell if the Grammys will get their act together or if Hip-Hop will opt out of vying for their acceptance completely.
In light of the dissension between the Grammys and the Hip-Hop community, VIBE highlights 10 instances in which rap albums were robbed in the Album of the Year category at the Grammy Awards.