As the Grammy Awards have been done for over a week now, and the dust has settled on the red carpet, many are gearing towards the last and possibly biggest award show of the season, The Academy Awards. For Steve Stoute though, his mind is still on last week. Steve, a hip-hop mogul and advertising exec, wrote a letter to Neil Portnow (President of NARAS), stating what is written in the title of this article.
In the letter, which he writes it in The Huffington Post, Stoute claimed that best-selling artists like Kanye West, Eminem and Justin Bieber were snubbed by a ceremony that had “no qualms” in using the same musicians as performers during the show to “to ensure viewership and to deliver the all-too-important ratings for its advertisers.” In his ad, Stoute said the Grammys’ failure stems from “over-zealousness to produce a popular show that is at odds with its own system of voting” and “fundamental disrespect of cultural shifts as being viable and artistic.”
This he equates to in 2001 when Eminem lost Album of the Year to Steely Dan, something that baffled many people, myself included. What Steve is really eloquently saying is that albums like Steely Dan’s and also Herbie Hancock’s album “River: The Joni Letters”, which won best album in 2007 over Kanye West’s “Graduation”, have zero cultural impact on my generation. The albums both won, and did little before or after in terms of relevance or charting. “Graduation” and “The Marshall Mathers LP” are two of the greatest albums in the past decade both in the hip-hop world and mainstream. They provided huge hits, became cultural phenomenons and changed the way we look at music today. When you look at a band like Arcade Fire, they don’t change culture. I’m pretty sure that this week’s Billboard Top 200 and their new chart, Social 50, will see a spike for the band and it will jump in numbers, but then it will just go back down and fall off the charts. Eminem and Kanye don’t need that.
I got a lot of anger from some of my Long Island friends and other people who commented over what I wrote in my last blog about Arcade Fire & Esperanza Spalding, but I’m glad that Steve Stoute, someone who has the knowledge and experience, agrees in the same sentiment. In terms of Esperanza, you can’t be a Best New Artist if about 90 percent of the 26 million people who watched that night don’t have a clue as to who you are. The Grammys have always turned a blind eye at hip-hop, and will continue to do so until something shakes the 8,000 plus members that vote every year. We can vote on substance, which Arcade Fire has, but also vote on what type of an impact do they make in the broader spectrum. I think if that were true, the Grammys would be a much better award show to watch.
To read Steve Stoute’s article, go to http://huff.to/fpDOOV.