Frank Ocean & Co. Have a Go at the Grammys

By Pablo / Bottom Posts / 12th February 2017

For some, the Grammys is the most anticipated music event of the year – yet four of the biggest names in the music industry have decided to give it a skip.

Even though he is nominated for four awards, Justin Bieber will not be performing or making an appearance as he feels that the award ceremony is not representative or relevant when it comes to young artists. Drake had previous commitments to performing in Europe, but has previously been vocal about the show not being diverse enough. Yeezy has 21 Grammys under his belt and is up for another 8 this year but wont show up for the 2nd year in a row: he says the award ceremony has become irrelevant and like Bieber, doesn’t give enough credit to emerging artists in the Hip-Hop music genre.

Frank Ocean decided not to even submit his 2016 albums, Blonde and Endless – regarded by many as the best of the year – for Grammy consideration. Ocean explained in an  interview with the New York Times last year that:

“that institution certainly has nostalgic importance,” but “ It just doesn’t seem to be representing very well for people who come from where I come from, and hold down what I hold down.”

Kanye has also said publicly that he wont go to the event if the committee doesn’t break the rules and put Frank’s album up for nomination anyway. That didn’t happen, so maybe then this is just Yeezy sticking to his word.

But it’s Ocean’s response to remarks made by the producers of the Grammys, Ken Ehrlich and David Wild on a podcast with Rolling Stone that’s really got our attention. In the behind the scenes interview, Ehrlich and Wild blame Ocean’s 2013 Grammy performance of “Forrest Gump” as the reason he is not returning:

“Frank had a very definite idea of exactly what he wanted to do and how he wanted to do it. Ken said, that’s not great TV, and what he’s taught all of us is. We’re not putting on a radio show … you have to make it a TV moment.He knew from the start that that was not one of those moments. We executed his vision knowing that it was faulty. And we tried to tell him that, we tried to tell his management that, we tried to tell the record label that. So, his feelings about the Grammys right now, I would imagine, probably go back to that in one way. But honestly, it wasn’t us.”

Usually, Ocean’s engagement with social media is kept to the absolute minimal. But these comments clearly pissed old Frank off, just a little. Here is his response, published in capitals, because he is shouting, obvs:

“ OK KEN (AND DAVID). AS MUCH AS I HATE TO MAKE YOU GUYS FAMOUS OR EVEN RESPOND TO YOU DIRECTLY. WE ALL DIE ONE DAY AND YOU’RE OLD SO FUCK IT. YEA YEA MY 2013 PERFORMANCE AT THE GRAMMYS WAS ABSOLUTE SHIT. TECHNICAL DIFFICULTIES, BLAH BLAH. THANKS FOR THE REMINDER. VERY MUCH APPRECIATED. FUCK THAT PERFORMANCE THOUGH. YOU THINK THAT’S WHY I KEPT MY WORK OUT OF THE GRAMMY PROCESS THIS YEAR? DON’T YOU THINK I WOULD’VE WANTED TO PLAY THE SHOW TO ‘REDEEM’ MYSELF IF I FELT THAT WAY? 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. IT TOOK ME SOME TIME TO LEARN THAT. I BOUGHT ALL MY MASTERS BACK LAST YEAR IN THE PRIME OF MY CAREER, THAT’S SUCCESSFUL. BLONDE SOLD A MILLION PLUS WITHOUT A LABEL, THAT’S SUCCESSFUL. I AM YOUNG, BLACK, GIFTED AND INDEPENDENT.. THAT’S MY TRIBUTE. I’VE ACTUALLY BEEN TUNING INTO CBS AROUND THIS TIME OF YEAR FOR A WHILE TO SEE WHO GETS THE TOP HONOR AND YOU KNOW WHAT’S REALLY NOT ‘GREAT TV’ GUYS? 1989 GETTING ALBUM OF THE YEAR OVER TO PIMP A BUTTERFLY. HANDS DOWN ONE OF THE MOST ‘FAULTY’ TV MOMENTS I’VE SEEN. BELIEVE THE PEOPLE. BELIEVE THE ONES WHO’D RATHER WATCH SELECT PERFORMANCES FROM YOUR PROGRAM ON YOUTUBE THE DAY AFTER BECAUSE YOUR SHOW PUTS THEM TO SLEEP. 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. HAVE A GOOD NIGHT.”

Ocean, out. (drops laptop)

With regard to the other artists who have decided to ‘boycott’ the show, all of who were asked to perform, the producers had this to say:

If they’re concerned about the representation of hip-hop on the show, they need to respond and say ‘Yeah, of course I want to do it.’ They’ve all done it in the past. Without overstating it, I think we were very instrumental in the growth of Kanye West’s career. He did epic performances on our show going back to ‘Jesus Walks.’ We know that he’s had his problems this past year, but we pursued him. We would love to have had him here. Same with Drake. But early on, before nominations came out or anything, Drake had already locked in his schedule to be in Europe. So, there’s nothing I can do about that. Justin Bieber, we’re still talking to him – he may or he may not be there.”

Many have reprimanded the Grammys for not properly representing Hip Hop before, especially when Macklemore beat out Kendrick Lamar in 2014 for numerous awards, including Best Rap Album. The fact that they now try defend themselves by saying “but we invited Drake and Kanye”, two mainstream superstars, just proves they know little to fuck all about Hip-Hop. 

Check out the full list of Grammy Nominations here. We can’t seem to find out exactly when the show will be aired on our shores, but that’s okay, because we prefer to watch the best performances on YouTube tomorrow anyway.

Yours in Good Vibes & Beats

Halfway Crooks

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