Drake has sided with his compatriot The Weeknd after the “Blinding Lights” singer was sidelined in the 2021 Grammy nominations.
The Weeknd (real name Abel Tesfaye) thought he did enough to earn at least one Grammy mention for After Hours, which debuted atop the Billboard 200 and stayed there for a month, or its hit “Blinding Lights,” which also led the Billboard Hot 100 for four weeks.
The Toronto native even managed a nomination at the 2020 ARIA Awards in Australia, but his name wasn’t on the Grammys roll call.
The R&B singer expressed his frustration toward the Recording Academy on behalf of himself, his fans and the entire music industry. “The Grammys remain corrupt,” he stated on Twitter. “You owe me, my fans and the industry transparency…”
In a followup tweet, he wrote: “Collaboratively planning a performance for weeks to not being invited? In my opinion zero nominations = you’re not invited!”
Now, Drake has entered the fray. “I think we should stop allowing ourselves to be shocked every year by the disconnect between impactful music and these awards and just accept that what once was the highest form of recognition may no longer matter to the artists that exist now and the ones that come after,” he wrote on Instagram.
“It’s like a relative you keep expecting to fix up but they just can’t change their ways,” Drake added.
“The other day I said The Weeknd was a lock for either album or song of the year along with countless other reasonable assumptions and it just never goes that way,” he continued. “This is a great time for somebody to start something new that we can build up over time and pass on to the generations to come.”
Drake’s calling out the Grammys is notable because he is a four-time Grammy winner and is nominated for two more awards this year. He joins a long line of artists and industry professionals who’ve come out in support of the Weeknd, a list that includes Kid Cudi, Charlie Puth, Tinashe and Akon.
The Recording Academy has weighed in on the simmering controversy. Speaking with Billboard, the Academy’s chair and interim president/CEO Harvey Mason Jr. said he understood the artist’s pain at being left out of the categories.
“I can imagine what he’s feeling,” he explained, “but I don’t pretend to put myself on the level of The Weeknd as one of the biggest artists in our industry. But I can imagine that he’s disappointed.”