Kanye West dropped a new album, “Ye,” on June 1, which would be big music news under normal circumstances, but it’s not even the biggest Kanye West news this year. He has never shied away from controversy, but this year he has raised the bar for himself — or lowered it, depending on your outlook. Can he still earn Grammy nominations in 2019 despite his bad press?
West, the man who famously said “George Bush doesn’t care about black people” after the government’s notoriously slow response to Hurricane Katrina, seems to have turned over a new political leaf. He voiced his support for Donald Trump, tweeting in April, “You don’t have to agree with Trump but the mob can’t make me not love him. We are both dragon energy. He is my brother.”
But that’s not all. In May he appeared on TMZ and said, “When you hear about slavery for 400 years … For 400 years? That sounds like a choice.” Suffice it to say those comments didn’t go over well. But when his new songs were released they nevertheless raced to the top of the iTunes charts.
Will the recording academy be as willing to overlook his erratic behavior and uninformed opinions? He’s one of the most awarded artists in history with 21 Grammy victories, but he has lost his last 16 nominations in a row between 2014 and 2017. His shutout in 2017 was especially significant: he lost all eight of his nominations, which tied him with Rihanna (2017) and Jay-Z (2018) as the second-worst shutout in Grammy history, right behind Paul McCartney, who went zero-for-nine in 1966.
West still got those eight nominations, though, despite behavior that was already becoming more erratic. So can he still count on multiple noms, whether or not he wins any of them? Our forum posters aren’t so sure. Read some of their comments below, and join the discussion with them right here in our message boards.
D.C.: “I don’t think he’ll get any nominations this year. Not for his own material, anyway. Maybe something he produces or features on.”
Oscar Rodrigues: “I’m conflicted about Kanye. The Grammys showered him with nominations last time, despite the controversy. But I don’t know if they’ll be as forgiving this time. ‘Ye’ seems like it’s bad compared to his projects.”
24fanatic: “This is the 1st year where Kanye West has a project eligible under the new system where the rap genre field has a nominating panel. It’s not going to be as easy for him to score nominations. While I personally enjoy ‘Ye,’ I can easily see them snubbing him or throwing him a single nomination in favor of a newer artist or more critically acclaimed projects like Pusha T’s ‘Daytona.’ Last year, Rapsody and Tyler the Creator got in over much bigger artists/projects.”