Nicki Minaj has called out The Recording Academy for switching her hit “Super Freaky Girl” out of the Grammy Awards’ rap category and into pop, a decision she reckons is a contradiction, and part of a broader agenda to celebrate rising rap artists over veterans.
Earlier this week, Billboard’s sister title The Hollywood Reporter disclosed the Grammys change-up, despite “Super Freaky Girl” logging its eighth week on top of Billboard’s Hot Rap Songs chart.
Minaj’s team submitted the track to the Grammys’ rap categories, but the decision was overturned by the Recording Academy’s rap committee, a source told THR.
The Trinidadian star addressed the situation in a series of tweets, and went deeper still in a 17-minute rant posted on social media.
“’Super Freaky Girl’ was removed from the rap category, we found out today in the Grammy submission. ‘Super Freaky Girl,’ where I only rapped on the song, was removed out of the rap categories at the Grammys, right. And put it in pop,” she explains.
It should be noted that MC Hammer also sampled Rick James’ “Super Freak” for “U Can’t Touch This,” which won the best rap solo performance Grammy back in 1991.
Drake’s “Hotline Bling,” however, in 2017, took out best rap song and best rap/sung collaboration, she points out, though even Drake himself admitted it was a pop number.
On the flip side, Minaj wants the same rules applied to Latto’s pop-leaning “Big Energy”.
“Now, let’s say that ‘Super Freaky Girl’ is a pop song. Let’s just say that, right. What is ‘Big Energy?’ If ‘Super Freaky Girl’ is a pop song, what song is ‘Big Energy.’ What genre is ‘Big Energy?’”
Suggesting she’s been done wrong, Minaj continued, “If you know something is unfair as an artist, speak on that s–t. Drake could’ve just let that shit slide and added it to his collection, but he spoke up.”
If the Grammys move “Super Freaky Girl” out of rap and “put it in pop,” she adds, “do the same for ‘Big Energy’. Same producers on both songs, by the way. So let’s keep s–t fair.”
Minaj’s “Super Freaky Girl” was a mainstream hit, blasting to No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in August. Its shift into the pop frame, or “moving the goal post,” as she says, is part of a process to “uplift the people who they want to shine, the people who these corporate giants can make the money off of the people, control things behind the scenes, they have to elevate someone that they profit off.”
Minaj also issued a warning, claiming unnamed power players had an agenda that would eventually upend diversity in hip-hop.
“If you can’t tell by now that there is a concerted effort to give newer artists things that they really don’t deserve, over people who have been deserving for many years, then you’re not paying attention,” she continued. “And soon female rap will really not have any black women. If you pay attention, you’ll see, you’ll understand.”
The Recording Academy doesn’t reveal reasons when its screening committees relocate tracks into categories other than those that eligible recordings were submitted in, THR noted. The general ballot, which can include thousands of submissions in a single category, isn’t released to the public.
Despite it all, Minaj insists she’s still the queen of rap.
“I know one thing,” she says, “even when I’m rapping on a pop track, I still out-rap.”
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