Rap veteran Nas‘ ex-manager, Steve Stoute, has inked an open letter to the Grammy Awards calling out and questioning the show’s set-up and treatment of nominated artists.
Stoute, who is also viewed as a marketing genius, specifically pointed out 16 year-old Justin Bieber‘s “Best New Artist” snub as an example.
“Just so that I’m not showing partiality to hip-hop artists (although it would be an entirely different letter as to how hip-hop music has been totally diminished as an art form by this organization), how is it that Justin Bieber, an artist that defines what it means to be a modern artist, did not win Best New Artist? Again, his cultural impact and success are even more quantifiable if you factor in his YouTube and Vevo viewership — the fact that he was a talent born entirely of the digital age whose story was crafted in the most humble method of being “discovered” purely for his singing ability (and it should be noted that Justin Bieber plays piano and guitar, as evidenced on his early viral videos).” (New York Times)
He also cited the Grammys for unfairly choosing high profile mainstream artists to fuel viewership.
“So while these very artists that the public acknowledges as being worthy of their money and fandom are snubbed year after year at the Grammys, the awards show has absolutely no qualms in inviting these same artists to perform. At first I thought that you were not paying attention to the fact that the mental complexion of the world is becoming tanned, that multiculturalism and poly-ethnicity are driving new meaning as to what is culturally relevant. Interesting that the Grammys understands cultural relevance when it comes to using Eminem’s, Kanye West’s or Justin Bieber’s name in the billing to ensure viewership and to deliver the all-too-important ratings for its advertisers.” (New York Times)
After last weekend’s Grammy Awards, West Coast rapper Game vouched for Drake after he lost the “Best New Artist” category.
“Drake aint win BEST NEW ARTIST ? Exactly why I’m kool onawards. (finishes rolling weed up as I turn the tv off).,” Game tweeted Sunday (February 13) night.
“You wouldn’t care about AWARDS if you seen the people giving em’. “WHO DA F*CK ARE Y’ALL” ( @drakkardnoir voice ) cheated the homie. (Game’s Twitter)
Grammy-winning rapper Kanye West, who collaborated with Justin Bieber last year, also expressed his dismay with the “New Artist” outcome.
“D*mn… I can’t find the words to explain how I feel about the best new artist award… Don’t wanna say the wrong thing,” Kanye West tweeted Sunday. (Kanye West’s Twitter)
Check out some past Steve Stoute footage below: