By: Nikash Ganguli

The Grammy Awards, heralded as music’s most prestigious accolades, have long been a symbol of peak achievement and recognition within the industry. However, their relationship with the hip-hop genre has been fraught with contention and debate. This conversation delves into the nuanced dynamics between the Grammys and hip-hop, highlighting instances where the awards seem to have missed the mark in truly honoring the genre’s contributions and innovations. By examining the specific cases of artists like Travis Scott, alongside broader issues of recognition and respect within the hip-hop community, we unravel the complex interplay of cultural validation, artistic merit, and the quest for equity in the music industry’s highest honors.

Welcome to Sole Groove, the essential blog for hip-hop aficionados and sneaker enthusiasts. Dive into the vibrant intersection of beats and sneakers, where major music headlines and the freshest kicks meet. (opinions are all my own)


In recent years, Travis Scott’s experiences with the Grammy Awards have highlighted not only his individual struggles with recognition within the prestigious institution but also underscored a broader, ongoing tension between the Grammys and the hip-hop genre at large. Scott’s outspoken reactions to his Grammy snubs, particularly in 2019 and again in 2024, serve as focal points in this discussion.

In 2019, Travis Scott’s highly acclaimed album “Astroworld” was in the running for Best Rap Album but lost to Cardi B’s “Invasion of Privacy”. This outcome was met with surprise and disappointment from Scott’s fans, who believed “Astroworld” deserved the accolade. Scott himself has never won a Grammy, despite being nominated 10 times, a point he vocally addressed during his 2024 Grammy performance. He expressed his frustration by altering lyrics and performing actions that symbolized his discontent with the Academy’s decisions.

Scott’s latest Grammy snub occurred in 2024 with his album “Utopia”. Despite the album’s commercial success and critical acclaim, it lost to Killer Mike’s “MICHAEL” in the Best Rap Album category. Scott’s reaction was noted both during his Grammy performance, where he made a direct statement about being overlooked, and on social media, where he subtly expressed his feelings.

It’s essential to clarify that the purpose of this discussion is not to diminish the achievements of artists like Killer Mike or Cardi B, whose Grammy wins are significant milestones in their careers and in the representation of hip-hop within mainstream music awards. Cardi B’s victory with “Invasion of Privacy” marked a historic moment as she became the first solo female artist to win Best Rap Album, and Killer Mike’s win with “MICHAEL” is a testament to his enduring influence and artistry within the genre. These moments are undoubtedly important for hip-hop and reflect the genre’s evolving status within the broader music industry. However, the focus on Travis Scott’s snubs serves to highlight the complexities and nuances of award recognition and how it interacts with broader trends and moments within hip-hop. Travis Scott’s albums, particularly “Astroworld” and “Utopia”, were not only commercial successes but also cultural events within the genre itself that sparked conversations for months after their respective releases.

“Utopia” was a monumental release, breaking streaming records and achieving significant commercial success. It dominated streaming platforms upon release, with 128 million Spotify plays on its first day. The album also debuted at number one on the Billboard 200, with all 19 tracks entering the Billboard Hot 100. Despite these achievements, the Grammy’s decision to not award “Utopia” sparked debate among fans and observers about the criteria and biases that may influence Grammy voting.

This situation with Travis Scott illuminates the broader issue of the Grammy Awards’ relationship with the hip-hop genre. Critics argue that the Grammys have historically marginalized hip-hop artists and their cultural impact, often overlooking groundbreaking work in favor of more conventional or mainstream choices. This perceived snubbing has led to vocal criticisms from within the hip-hop community, including prominent figures like Jay-Z and Drake, who have questioned the relevance and fairness of the Grammy Awards in representing the genre’s artistic achievements.


The controversy surrounding Travis Scott’s Grammy snubs, particularly with “Astroworld” and “Utopia”, reflects not just individual grievances but a systemic issue within the music industry’s recognition systems. It highlights the ongoing struggle for hip-hop artists to receive equitable recognition and respect from traditional award institutions like the Grammy Awards, underscoring a need for reassessment and reform in how these institutions engage with and honor the diverse landscape of contemporary music.

The Grammy Awards’ perceived loss of value within the hip-hop community in recent years can be attributed to a combination of factors, including allegations of racial bias, a disconnect between the awards and the genre’s evolving landscape, and controversial decisions that have often sidelined influential works in favor of more commercially palatable or mainstream-friendly choices.


Historically, the Grammys were highly sought after in the hip-hop genre as they represented a form of recognition from the broader music industry. Winning a Grammy was seen as a pinnacle of achievement, symbolizing not only critical acclaim but also industry validation for artists who often came from marginalized backgrounds. In the early years of hip-hop, the genre fought for legitimacy and acceptance within a music industry that was slow to recognize its impact and cultural importance. Thus, Grammy recognition was not just an award; it was a symbol of breaking barriers and gaining a foothold in the mainstream music narrative.

However, the relationship between hip-hop and the Grammys began to sour due to recurring issues. Notably, the Grammys have been criticized for their handling of the hip-hop category and for the overall representation of black artists. One pivotal moment was in 1989 when the first Grammy Award for Best Rap Performance was introduced, but the segment was not televised, leading to a boycott by nominees, including Will Smith and DJ Jazzy Jeff. This incident highlighted the Grammys’ reluctance to fully embrace hip-hop and set the stage for future tensions.

Moreover, the Grammys have often been accused of being out of touch with the hip-hop genre’s evolution, priorities, and the voices that define its direction. Decisions that have awarded artists and works that did not resonate with the core hip-hop audience have fueled perceptions of a disconnect. This gap between the Grammy’s choices and the hip-hop community’s preferences has contributed to a growing sense of disillusionment with the awards.


In recent years, high-profile snubs and controversies have exacerbated these feelings. Artists like Kanye West, Drake, and The Weeknd have publicly criticized the Grammys, questioning their relevance and fairness. These artists’ decisions to distance themselves from the awards, through boycotts or dismissive comments, reflect a broader skepticism within the genre about the Grammy’s ability to accurately and fairly recognize hip-hop’s artistic achievements.

The future of the Grammys’ relationship with hip-hop may hinge on the awards’ ability to adapt and address these criticisms. This includes greater transparency in the voting process, more inclusivity in recognizing the diversity within hip-hop, and a concerted effort to remain connected with the genre’s shifting dynamics and cultural impact. Only by acknowledging and responding to these challenges can the Grammys hope to restore their value and relevance within the hip-hop genre. The Grammy Awards’ relationship with hip-hop remains a topic of keen interest and debate among artists, fans, and industry observers. The decisions of artists like Kanye West and The Weeknd to distance themselves or outright boycott the Grammys underscore a growing sentiment within the hip-hop community regarding the relevance and fairness of the awards. These actions raise questions about the Grammys’ role and merit in recognizing hip-hop’s artistic achievements. As hip-hop continues to dominate as a leading music genre globally, the Grammy Awards face a pivotal challenge in ensuring that their recognition processes and outcomes reflect the genre’s diversity, innovation, and cultural significance. This may require the Grammys to adapt and evolve in their approach to engaging with hip-hop, ensuring that the awards remain a meaningful and respected accolade within the genre. The future of the Grammys’ relationship with hip-hop will likely depend on their willingness to address these concerns and work towards greater inclusivity and equity in their awarding process.

In exploring the dynamic between the Grammy Awards and hip-hop, it’s clear that the awards’ relevance and respect within the genre have been challenged by perceptions of bias and disconnect. This conversation, highlighted by the experiences of artists like Travis Scott and the broader community’s response to Grammy decisions, underscores the need for the Grammys to evolve. As hip-hop continues to shape the cultural and musical landscape, the question remains: How can the Grammys adapt to truly honor the genre’s diversity and innovation?

Now, let’s consider the future: What steps should the Grammy Awards take to better recognize and align with hip-hop’s evolving landscape?

Thanks for reading Sole Groove! Entering the realm where streetwear and hip-hop music collide has been an authentic experience. Until we groove again, keep your playlists current and your kicks fresh.

Posted in Blog and tagged .