OPINION: Macklemore takes the spotlight for the Grammys, other artists overlooked


Macklemore and Ryan Lewis at the Grammy Awards Ceremony 2014

Tessa Petrich, Editor in Chief: Layout and Design

Here’s news you already know: Macklemore & Ryan Lewis swept the Grammys. They dominated. On Sunday, Jan. 26, they took home four Grammys: Best New Artist, Best Rap Album (“The Heist”), Best Rap Song (“Thrift Shop”), and Best Rap Performance (“Thrift Shop”).

Macklemore this, Ryan Lewis that. We hear only about them: Their new take on rap, their progressive lyrics (same-sex love, white privilege, economic class), and their nontraditional backgrounds as rappers.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not bad, but by only focusing on Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, we are missing out on other artists who were just as deserving of those Grammys.

Take Kendrick Lamar. He, like Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, was nominated for seven Grammys. He took home zero. His album, “good kid, m.A.A.d city,” needed more recognition than just a few nominations. It needed to win something.

The album is more than a collection of songs. It’s Lamar’s story, his experience. Each song is a thread in Lamar’s life as a teenager growing up in Compton, Calif. A common theme includes the day-to-day life in the streets of Compton, overrun by drugs and gangs and violence. The album, as a whole, is almost like a film, masterly directed by Lamar and his team of producers.

“good kid, M.A.A.d city” sold 242,000 copies the week it debuted, earning the title of best-selling debut from a male artist in 2012.

Compare that to “The Heist,” selling only 78,000 copies in the first week. Although Macklemore & Ryan Lewis independently released “The Heist”, “good kid, m.A.A.d city” takes the cake.

Nothing personal, but the Grammys are a beauty contest. Nominations are based not only on musical excellence, but on popularity. Yet the question is, how do Grammy judges decide on who goes home with an award? And what happens to all of the artists who are simply nominated but don’t win any awards? They don’t make it on the Grammy CD or iTunes Grammy radio, that’s for sure.

Unfortunately, those artists get pushed aside. The Grammy winners, in this case, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, bask in the glory, seeing their names in sparkling lights on iTunes, TV, and everywhere in between. But is there more than Macklemore?

The fruitless nominees instead go home, still supported by their loyal fans, but feeling underappreciated for their work.

Macklemore tried to be humble about his big win. At 8:53 p.m. on the night of the Grammys, he posted a screenshot of a text he sent to Lamar on Instagram. The text said: “You got robbed. I wanted you to win. You should have. It’s weird and sucks that I robbed you. I was gonna say that during the speech. Then the music started playing during my speech and I froze. Anyway, you know what it is. Congrats on this year and your music. Appreciate you as an artist and as a friend. Much love.”

I’ll give Macklemore the benefit of the doubt and assume it was a sincere text. But it’s undeniably a little fishy, possibly a ploy to gain a few more fans from Lamar. Plus, the photo puts the spotlight on Macklemore yet again.

Drake, another nominee contending for Best Rap Album, was disgusted by Macklemore’s post. On theboombox.com, he was quoted saying, “I was like, ‘You won. Why are you posting your text message? Just chill. Take your W, and if you feel you didn’t deserve it, go get better — make better music.’”

Drake also asked why “just Kendrick? That s— made me feel funny. No, in that case, you robbed everybody. We all need text messages!” And it’s true! Drake was yet another artist overlooked while Macklemore took the spotlight.

“Nothing Was the Same”, Drake’s album, was close behind Lamar’s album in terms of copies sold in the first week after its debut. 658,000 copies were sold, more than the number of copies sold of “The Heist” by far.

Drake literally “started from the bottom and now [he’s] here.” His fame began with the Teen Nick show “Degrassi,” and now, after releasing three hit albums, he has established himself as one of the top rappers in the game.

“Nothing Was the Same” shows Drake’s growth as an artist, with his fresh beats and breathless flow as a rapper. The album is saturated with confidence and style.

So, while Macklemore blasts on every radio station, keep in mind that there is unrecognized talent out there brewing their next albums, hoping to take home a Grammy in the coming year.