The 2019 Grammys is only days away, and so far, the moments leading up to music’s biggest night have been filled with drama. Ariana Grande reportedly pulled out of her performance due to a disagreement with production, and according to a new report from The New York Times, Drake, Kendrick Lamar, and Childish Gambino declined the Recording Academy’s invitation to perform at the awards show altogether.
The Times’ latest story, which was published on Feb. 7, suggests the artists’ rejection may have stemmed from a longstanding tension between the Recording Academy and the hip-hop community. The article points out the hip-hop community’s lack of representation and acknowledgement in the major song and album categories throughout the years.
“The fact of the matter is, we continue to have a problem in the hip-hop world,” Ken Ehrlich, producer of the Grammys telecast, told the Times. “When they don’t take home the big prize, the regard of the academy, and what the Grammys represent, continues to be less meaningful to the hip-hop community, which is sad.”
Coincidentally, Jay-Z’s 2018 collaboration with Beyonce, “Apesh*t” calls out the Grammys after he was nominated for eight awards at last year’s ceremony, but went home empty-handed. Other artists didn’t even show up to the ceremony.
This year may be different however. In addition to booking acts like Cardi B and Travis Scott to perform, rap artists have been nominated for major categories. Kendrick, Cardi B, H.E.R., Drake, Janelle Monae, and Post Malone have all been nominated for Album of the Year for their respective projects.
We’ll just have to see who takes home the trophy this Sunday, Feb 10. Catch the broadcast on CBS at 8p.m. ET.