Jay-Z used his speech at the Grammy Awards to get some things off his chest.
While accepting the Dr Dre Global Impact Award with his 12-year-old daughter Blue Ivy by his side, Jay-Z noted that the industry had come a long way since Will Smith and DJ Jazzy Jeff boycotted the Grammys in 1989 over the rap awards not being televised.
“And then they went to a hotel and watched the Grammys,” Jay-Z said. “I ain’t even understand… it wasn’t a great boycott.”
The rapper and entrepreneur said that he, too, boycotted attending the Grammys in 1998 over DMX not being nominated, despite having two successful albums that year.
“I’m just saying, we love y’all, we love ya’ll, we love y’all and we want y’all to get it right,” Jay-Z said. “At least get it close to right.”
Noting that the voting is subjective, he then brought his wife Beyoncé into the conversation.
“I don’t want to embarrass this young lady, but she has more Grammys than anyone, and never won album of the year,” he said of Beyoncé. “Even by your own metric that does not work. Think about that, most Grammys, never won album of the year, that doesn’t work.”
Bey became the most-awarded artist in Grammys history in 2023, when she earned her Grammy Award for best dance/electronic album, which she won for her celebrated record, “Renaissance.”
Beyoncé supporters have long complained she has consistently been shut out of winning the prestigious Album of the Year Grammy.
The Recording Academy, the group behind the Grammys, has also long faced criticism for failing to equally recognize women and artists of colour, along with alienating rap and hip hop performers in key categories, over the years.
The group has been working to implement changes to address that since 2020.
During his speech Sunday night, Jay-Z quipped, “Some of you are going to go home tonight and feel like you’ve been robbed.”
“Some of you may get robbed,” he said. “Some of you don’t belong in the category.”
As the audience tittered at that shade, Jay-Z said, “When I get nervous I tell the truth.”
“Outside of that we got to keep showing up,” he said. “And forget the Grammys for a second. Just in life.”
“Just keep showing up,” he added. “You got to keep showing up until they give you all those accolades you feel you deserve. Until they call you chairman, until they call you a genius, until they call you the greatest of all time. You feel me?”