The Grammys may be known for being the most prestigious award in the music business, but artists have slowly been distancing themselves from it for years. The Weeknd is the latest superstar to boycott the Grammys after they completely snub him at this year’s awards show. The Grammys have never been all too accurate when it comes to who the masses think should win their awards, but never has a snub been so peculiar as The Weeknd’s at this year’s ceremony.

The Snub That Start It All 

On November 24th, the Recording Academy announced the nominees for all of their awardsBeyoncé leads the pack with nine nominations, Roddy Ricch, Dua Lipa, and Taylor Swift each has six nominations. All four of them had a superb 2020 and released huge critically and commercially successful albums. While those four artists deserve acclaim for their releases, there’s one artist who had an even bigger year than they did. The Weeknd’s fourth studio album “After Hours” was completely shut out by the Grammys. This includes his gargantuan hit single, ‘Blinding Lights’, which recently became the only song to stay on the Billboard top ten for an entire year.

“After Hours” was released at the start of lockdown in 2020, yet it somehow still garnered headlines for how great it was. It is The Weeknd’s most consistent and concise work to-date. He takes listeners on a synth-soaked journey through a cinema-inspired album. It features themes of love, loss, overindulgence, and regret. The album marks a stylistic departure from what he’s done in the past, yet is also a call back to some of his earliest hits. Songs like ‘After Hours’ (named after the album) are very reminiscent of his debut studio album, “Kissland”, with the synths and the lyrical content.

Before the Grammys announced the nominees, many thought The Weeknd would be a shoo-in for all the categories he submitted for. But when they released the nominees, not only did The Weeknd not get nominated for none of the big three awards, (Best album, Song of the Year, and Record of the Year) he didn’t get nominated for anything.

The Weeknd’s Response

The same night the Grammys announced the nominees, The Weeknd tweeted “The Grammys remain corrupt. You owe me, my fans, and the industry transparency…” He reveals that he was planning performance for the show for weeks, but would not be attending after not being nominated for anything. He tweets “In my opinion zero nominations = you’re not invited!” In an interview a couple of months later, he talks about the snubs again. He was asked by Billboard how he feels about the Grammys, he says “I personally don’t care anymore. I have three Grammys, which mean nothing to me now.” Now four days before the awards show, The Weeknd has announced he will not allow his label to submit his music to future Grammy award shows.

The Weeknd Joins an Already Growing List of Artist

The Weeknd isn’t the first artist to boycott the Grammys. Other huge stars such as Kanye West and Drake have boycotted the Grammys. Kanye West began to speak negatively about the Grammys when he wasn’t nominated for album of the year for his album “Yeezus”. His relationship with the awards show got even worse when Beyoncé lost album of the year to Beck. Drake didn’t submit his 2017 effort, “More Life” to the Grammys and didn’t show up for multiple shows. While both artists have issues with the Grammys, they still submit their music year in and year out.

Not many artists refuse to submit their music, but there are a few exceptions. Frank Ocean submitted his debut album, ‘Channel Orange’ and won a Grammy for it. But for his second album, ‘Blonde’, he did not submit it and had no interest in the award. He spoke to the New York Times in 2016 and said “I think the infrastructure of the awarding system and the nomination system and screening system is dated.” Ocean is one of the most critically acclaimed artists of the 21st century and for him to lose all interest in the Grammys definitely says something.

Other Times The Grammys Got It Wrong

The Weeknd’s huge snub isn’t the first time the Grammys got it completely wrong. Frank Ocean lost “best new artist” to FUN. FUN went on hiatus in 2015 and has yet to announce a comeback. Meanwhile, since their hiatus, Frank Ocean has released two of the best albums of the last decade.

In 2013, Macklemore beat out Kendrick Lamar for the best rap album. Macklemore released ‘The Heist’, and Kendrick released ‘good kid, m.A.A.d city.’ There isn’t much more to say than that. Then in 2016, Kendrick Lamar’s masterpiece, ‘To Pimp A Butterfly’, lost album of the year to Taylor Swift. This caused many to further question the Grammys validity in the music world.

The Future of The Grammys

Musicians aren’t like athletes, they don’t have a Finals game, Superbowl, or World Cup, to earn the most coveted award from their years of hard work. The Grammys is their Superbowl. They received praise for all the work they’ve put in over the year and when they don’t get noticed, it can be insulting. The Grammys has a problem on their hands. Artists are beginning to care less and less about their Superbowl. After years of underserved wins, ridiculous snubs, and an archaic labeling system, the Grammys have lost some of their pristine. The Weeknd just might be the nail in the coffin.

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