There are a lot of reasons one could have beef with The Grammy Awards. Whether it's the sexist statements made by Grammy President Neil Portnow when he said female artists would win more Grammys if they "stepped up," seemingly arbitrary judgement calls on the quality of certain kinds of music, creative comandeering by producers on the actual awards show, or the history of alleged racism of The Recording Academy — The Recording Academy isn't exactly squeeky-clean or easy to get along with and many musical artists have decided to possibly forgo winning a Grammy in their career to be honest about what's going on behind the scenes.
Oh, and if you're wondering the exact words Neil Portnow said the same year Lorde released Melodrama and Taylor Swift released Reputation, it was: "It has to begin with… women who have the creativity in their hearts and souls, who want to be musicians, who want to be engineers, producers, and want to be part of the industry on the executive level… [They need] to step up because I think they would be welcome." Keep in mind, this was also the year of #MeToo and #Time'sUp, proving that this aged music industry exec hasn't been listening at all...
Instagram / Ariana Grande
Ariana dropped her highly-anticipated fifth studio album thank u, next two days before the 2019 Grammy Awards. There was a lot of speculation that the star would be performing, especially because The Recording Academy had been using her face on advertisements for the ceremony for weeks on everything from billboards to busses and phone booths. However, after Grammy producer Ken Ehrlich made a statement claiming that Ari would not be performing because she felt she couldn't pull a performance together in time, Ariana decided to set the record straight and popped off at Ken and the Grammy Awards as a whole.
In a series of tweets, Ariana claimed that she offered them three songs she'd be willing to perform and they insisted that she had to perform one that she didn't want to. Fighting for creative control, Ari said, basically, it's one of these three songs or nothing. "i’ve kept my mouth shut but now you’re lying about me. i can pull together a performance over night and you know that, Ken. it was when my creativity & self expression was stifled by you, that i decided not to attend," she wrote the night before her album dropped. "i offered 3 different songs. it’s about collaboration. it’s about feeling supported. it’s about art and honesty. not politics. not doing favors or playing games. it’s just a game y’all.. and i’m sorry but that’s not what music is to me." She didn't attend the show on the following Sunday (still took home the Best Pop Album award for sweetener) and gave the Grammys what I'm sure was an incredible case of FOMO when she showed off the stunning gown she would have worn on the red carpet on social media.
Instagram / Drake
Drake's mic got cut off while he was accepting his award for "God's Plan" on 2019's Grammy night because he decided to voice his opinion that the Grammy awards are basically bullsh*t. After stating that music is "an opinion-based sport," he said, "The point is, you’ve already won if you have people who are singing your songs word for word, if you’re a hero in your hometown. If there’s people who have regular jobs who are coming out in the rain and snow, spending money to buy tickets to your shows, you don’t need this right here. You already won." As he went in for the "But..." the Grammys cut to commercial and turned off his mic. All the same, he said he was "happy" with the night. He made his point (he called Travis Scott his brother, too, despite the Kanye West feud) and that was that.
Instagram / Dua Lipa
The same night that Drake got his mic cut for dissing the Grammys, Dua Lipa got the same treatment after she dissed the Grammy president during her Best New Artist Acceptance speech. The singer went after 2018's controversial claims by Neil Portnow when she said, "Where I want to begin is by saying how honored I am to be nominated alongside so many incredible female artists this year because I guess this year we’ve really stepped up?” Well, she may have earned that Grammy but it looks like she didn't earn a full acceptance speech for it because soon after, the English singer/songwriter was cut off and the ceremony decided they were done with her speech.
Instagram / Mariah Carey
Mariah Carey doesn't give an eff about the Grammy Awards anymore — she said so herself! The iconic singer told V Magazine in 2018, "In the music business, if you care about the Grammys and submitting your stuff before a certain time frame, you want a single out in the summer, and then you want to have your record [out] before the Grammys deadline, which has changed. Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn." She continued, "I mean, I have five Grammys. That’s cute. There’s people that have been doing this half the time that have twice as many [Grammys]. I won two Grammys the first year I started, but after that, [the Grammys] are like, “We don’t go with the people that are selling a lot of records and are popular; we’re gonna go the opposite way.” So I got screwed out of certain years. I wasn’t bitter about it. I was just like, okay, well, I guess I’m not standing here barefoot onstage singing and trying to go a certain way. I’m just me." You go, girl!
Instagram / Lorde Photo
Back in 2018 when Lorde was nominated for her album, Melodrama for Album of the Year, there was a bit of drama when the singer was offered to perform a Tom Petty tribute instead of one of her Grammy-nominated songs. She refused. She was the only female artist in the category and the only one in the category who didn't end up taking the stage on Grammy night. Then, after Ken Ehrlich defended the decision not to let Lorde perform her own music he said — basically — there's only so much time and you've gotta decide who's worth it or not. Lorde tweeted an apparent response to his words (keep in mind, this is the same year the Grammy president told women to "step up" and said, “IF YOU’RE DEBATING WHETHER OR NOT I CAN MURDER A STAGE… COME SEE IT FOR URSELF.” However, she ultimately decided to delete the tweet, perhaps hoping to stay on the Grammys good side for a future win?
Instagram / Snoop Dogg
No matter what your music genre is, you can have beef with the Grammys. Snoop Dogg dissed the Recording Acamedy in the most concise way when he posted a photo with Macklemore with the caption "F*ck the Grammys." I guess while other artists have decided to skirt around that three-word statement, why waste your time when you can do it like Snoop?
Instagram / Chris Brown
In our not-so-humble opinion, Chris Brown does not deserve a Grammy. He's an admitted woman-beater and an alleged rapist and we can't separate the art from the artist any longer. That said, Chris Brown clearly thinks he does deserve more Grammys (he won one in 2013 for Best R&B album, proving the Recording Academy is just as sexist as they seem) and he bashed the Recording Academy over his lack of recognition. In 2016, after he released Royalty, "#GRAMMY? This is probably the main reason I love being free to create any kind of music I want. Too many people kiss ass and work less. If u turn on ya radio right now I promise within the hour you will hear CHRIS BROWN on damn near half the songs or I've co-written. The awards used to mean something. Now it's about likes, and memes. I'm thankful to my fans, I am able to be the best artist I can without having to conform to the ways of my peers. I also need my commission (sic)." Keep in mind this psychopath singer has been nominated for over a dozen Grammy awards.
Instagram / Tina Knowles
This superstar took to Twitter to shed a light on the serious racist undertones of the Grammy Awards like the boss that she is. Dropping cold, hard FACTS, Solange wrote, "There have only been two black winners in the last 20 years for album of the year… there have been over 200 black artist who have performed.” This is the year that Solange took home a single Grammy award (that was awarded ahead of the show... so no speech) and her sister, Beyoncé took home only two awards for the ICONIC album that was Lemonade. She linked to Frank Ocean's Grammy comments on Tumblr and also stated, "If I would've gotten to accept this, I would've said black girls/women ARE grammys."
Instagram / Frank Ocean
Speaking of Frank Ocean's Grammy comments, the R&B star opted not to even submit his music for consideration in 2016. He told Fader why. "I think the infrastructure of the awarding system and the nomination system and screening system is dated,” then referring to the racial injustices of the show. "I’d rather this be my Colin Kaepernick moment for the Grammys than sit there in the audience.” He expanded those words on Tumblr, writing a letter to Ken and the producers (in all caps) that said, "IN REALITY, I ACTUALLY WANTED TO PARTICIPATE IN HONORING PRINCE ON THE SHOW BUT THEN I FIGURED MY BEST TRIBUTE TO THAT MAN’S LEGACY WOULD BE TO CONTINUE TO BE MYSELF OUT HERE AND TO BE SUCCESSFUL. WINNING A TV AWARD DOESN’T CHRISTEN ME SUCCESSFUL... USE THE OLD GRAMOPHONE TO ACTUALLY LISTEN BRO, I’M ONE OF THE BEST ALIVE. AND IF YOU’RE UP FOR A DISCUSSION ABOUT THE CULTURAL BIAS AND GENERAL NERVE DAMAGE THE SHOW YOU PRODUCE SUFFERS FROM THEN I’M ALL FOR IT."
Instagram / Trent Razor
The Nine Inch Nails said "F*ck you" to the Grammys after his 2014 closing performance was cut short by the show due to time constraints. (Neil told them this could happen ahead of the show.) However, Trent was not happy about feeling "disrespected" and posted to Twitter "Music's biggest night... to be disrespected. A heartfelt F*CK YOU guys." He's since deleted the tweet. It's kind of surprising he was asked to perform at all, though, considering his 2011 word: "Why don't the Grammys matter? Because it feels rigged and cheap - like a popularity contest that the insiders club has decided."
Instagram / Corey Taylor
Sliptknot's Corey Taylor has got issues with the Grammys and their voting processes, noting that it's all sorts of messed up. In a podcast with Nerdist, he stated, "Now the 'Best Metal Performance' looks just like they threw f*cking darts… 'Cause I'm looking at it, going, 'Really?' ... I was stoked that Halestorm won, because I'm really good friends with those guys and I know what kind of work they've put into it. I mean, they came from f*cking nothing, and I was really stoked for them. But yeah, at this point, there's two schools of thought. It's, like, well, we're just gonna try and vote for the most obscure Norwegian black metal f*cking band… with illegible font. We're gonna give it to you tonight. Or it's, like, well, this is everything that has been played on the radio for the last five minutes. It's, like, 'We're gonna f*cking celebrate you." He continued, "It doesn't mean anything. I mean, that's like trying to hit a f*cking needle with another needle. You have one metal category, you have one basic rock category, and you've got bands like Fun winning it. And I'm, like, 'Really? Show me on the doll where Fun is a rock band.'"
Instagram / Charli XCX
This "Boom Clap" singer was PTFO'd over Neil's comments about women in music needed to "step up" and she didn't care who knew it! She responded to a tweet about the ~Grammy President Addressing Sexism~ saying, "ugh bout 2 step up on 2 ur face.. women are making AMAZING music right now wtf is this dude talking about ?????" It's honestly TRUE.. just because you're not hearing the graeat music coming out (or have implicit bias about the people making it) does not mean it's not happening. BYEEEE.
Instagram / Iggy Azalea
Charli XCX's "Fancy" collaborator Iggy Azalea also wasn't thrilled with Neil's comments and suggested a boycott! She wrote, "Instead of being gracious and wearing white flowers on the carpet (bringing in the viewers for his telecast in designer gowns) women should consider if we NEED to take firmer action and stay at home in PJs next year. See how that works out for Neil." (Women wore white flowers to the ceremony in 2018 in solidarity with victims of sexual violence and the #Time'sUp movement in Hollywood.
Instagram / French Montana
There were rumors that French Montana was beefin' with Kendrick Lamar after he called the Grammys "Kendrick night" during an interview with the radio show The Breakfast Club. However, French later clarified that he and Kendrick are good, but it's the Grammys that have things twisted if they're only paying attention to a single rap or R&B star. "Eachch style of rap, whether it be street rap, conscious rap, trap, or anything else should be looked at equally as being hip-hop," he told TMZ. "All of these artists should be acknowledged, rather than singling out an individual, whether it be Kendrick or anyone else."
When Beck won over Beyoncé for Lemonade, Kanye almost pulled a Kanye and started storming the stage to proclaim Bey was the rightful winner. Later, though, he said it wasn't an issue with Beck, but more with The Recording Academy as a whole and their weird voting practices. He told Ryan Seacrest, "I think it came off the wrong way, and that was a mis-wording on my part because obviously Beck is one the most respected artists and respects artistry. But I felt — and this is my opinion and he’s his own man and he’s not wrong ... but I felt that even though the Grammys some times gives awards to people who you wouldn’t think should win in the category, as a respect to artists, we mention the other artist’s name in our speech. And that was the point I was making about it. There’s like many of times I gave other people my award, literally made them come up onstage."