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Grammys Announce Changes to their R&B & Rap Categories

Grammys Announce Changes to their R&B & Rap Categories

Today, The Recording Academy announced that they are making changes to several different Grammy Awards categories.

Including the always controversial Rap & R&B categories plus having nomination review committee members sign disclosure forms to prevent conflicts of interest. These new rules will come into effect immediately at the upcoming 63rd Annual Grammy Awards on January 31, 2021. In the past, there was a 30 song limit to songs submitted for the awards disqualifying certain performers specifically rappers. The new rules say, “there is no longer a specified maximum number of releases prohibiting artists from entering” the category.

Earlier last week, Republic Records announced they will no longer be using the word “urban” to describe black music. “‘Urban’ is rooted in the historical evolution of terms that sought to define Black music,” the memo reads. The Grammys have decided to follow suit. The Best Urban Contemporary Album category started in 2012 will now be called Best Progressive R&B Album. Keeping up with the times, The Academy said that the new title serves as a “more accurate definition to describe the merit or characteristics of music compositions or performances themselves within the genre of R&B.” With everything going on in America, this seems like the perfect time for the Academy to make the change. At last years show, rapper Tyler, The Creator criticized the show and other shows for the use of the word. “It sucks that whenever we — and I mean guys that look like me — do anything that’s genre-bending or that’s anything they always put it in a rap or urban category. I don’t like that ‘urban’ word — it’s just a politically correct way to say the n-word to me,” he said. Agreed. As soon as you think of the word, automatically black music comes to mind. We have to change that stereotype because we all know black artists are not the only ones making what they call “black music.”

The Best Rap/Sung Performance category is also being renamed. Best Melodic Rap Performance to “represent the inclusivity of the growing hybrid performance trends within the rap genre.” The number one genre in music is black music, so these changes benefit every black artist in the game. “This category is intended to recognize solo and collaborative performances containing elements of rap and melody over modern production. This performance requires a strong and clear presence of melody combined with rap cadence, and is inclusive of dialects, lyrics or performance elements from non-rap genres including R&B, rock, country, electronic or more. The production may include traditional elements of rap or elements characteristic of the aforementioned non-rap genres,” they wrote. What’s interesting is they are keeping their Best Urban Album category the same. Not sure what happened there but the word will survive at least one more year. It will be interesting to see how or if these changes could make new underground stars.

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