2023 Grammy nominations: Are the “Scammys” back?

A brief look at the Grammy’s and some of their recent controversies


Jonas Corliss

A vinyl copy of Kendrick Lamar’s 2015 masterpiece “To Pimp a Butterfly”

Jonas Corliss, Staff Writer

LOS ALAMITOS, CA — This past Tuesday, the Grammys released the nominations for the 2023 award show. As the same as every year, the nominations brought a lot of conversations, and not all of them were positive. Let’s go over the main points of contention.

First, let’s go over how the nominations work. The first step of the process is submitting your work. Once this step is taken, the company can submit its music. In order for the music to be considered for this upcoming award show, the music must have been released between Oct. 1, 2021, and Sept. 30, 2022. A new rule added this year requires companies to pay a fee for each submission with the price gradually increasing as it nears the Aug. 24 deadline.

Next comes choosing who gets nominated. The first part of the process is screening. This is when 350 experts review all the music submitted to ensure that all the submissions were placed into the correct categories. After this, ballots are sent to members in good standing. These people are told to only vote in areas of their expertise and are able to vote in up to ten categories across three different genres plus the four general categories.

The nominations are chosen based on this initial vote, and the final vote is taken with the same regulations. These final votes decide who wins the awards during the event. This process is meant to make the process very efficient and remove as much extra time as possible. However, it also creates some issues. This voting makes it so that the most generally liked album is usually the winner. This has led to some controversy before. One of the biggest examples in recent memory happened in 2014. This is when Macklemore and Ryan Lewis won the Grammy for best rap album over Kendrick Lamar’s good kid, m.A.A.d city, one of the most celebrated rap albums of the last decade. This sparked major backlash for Macklemore and hurt his career.

In 2021, The Weeknd did not receive a single nomination for his album After Hours, arguably the biggest album of that year. This led to outrage, and the Weeknd himself tweeted about his anger, saying, “The Grammys remain corrupt. You owe me, my fans, and the industry transparency.”

Controversy continues into this year’s nominations, namely in the best rap album category. This year’s nominees include DJ Khaled, Jack Harlow, Future, Kendrick Lamar, and Pusha T. Many fans voiced their opinions on the nominations on Twitter, claiming that Khaled and Harlow have no reason to be included in the category. Rapper Denzel Curry, an artist many pointed to for who should have been nominated, tweeted “They don’t care about the culture. They only care about building the majors,” in reference to the Grammys and gave 10 other albums that should have been nominated instead of Khaled, Harlow, and Future.

These controversies show a worrying pattern of underrepresentation of black people, an issue that the Grammys have been targeted for in the past several years. Even in 1989, Will Smith didn’t accept his Grammy for best rap performance due to the award not being televised. The Grammys have begun to make changes in an attempt to get more inclusive in their awards, but it seems as though there is still a ways to go.

The question remains; what will it take for the Grammys to recognize the voice of the people?