Grammys pigeon-holed me as black artist, says Drake | music | Hindustan Times
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Grammys pigeon-holed me as black artist, says Drake

Drake, who won the Grammys for Best Rap Song and Best Rap/Sung Performance for Hotline Bling at the music industry’s February 12 gala, voiced dismay that his One Dance, was passed over for nominations.

music Updated: Feb 21, 2017 15:13 IST
AFP
This January 3, 2010, file photo shows Canadian rapper Drake during the Grammy Nominations Concert in Los Angeles on December 2, 2009.
This January 3, 2010, file photo shows Canadian rapper Drake during the Grammy Nominations Concert in Los Angeles on December 2, 2009. (AFP)

Drake, the world’s top-selling artist in 2016, has accused the Grammys of pigeonholing him as a rapper because he is black and said he does not want his latest awards.

Drake, who won the Grammys for Best Rap Song and Best Rap/Sung Performance for Hotline Bling at the music industry’s February 12 gala, voiced dismay that his One Dance, which is Spotify’s all-time, most-streamed song, was passed over for nominations.

For the Grammys, “I’m a black artist, I’m apparently a rapper, even though Hotline Bling is not a rap song,” Drake, who rarely gives interviews, said on his weekend show on Apple’s Beats 1 radio.

“The only category that they can manage to fit me in is in a rap category, maybe because I’ve rapped in the past or because I’m black,” he said in the form of an interview with Britain’s DJ Semtex.

The Toronto artist, who rose to fame in the hip-hop world, said that his megahits were “pop songs -- but I never get any credit for that.”

“I want to be like Michael Jackson; I want to be like artists that I looked up to,” he said.

“I won two awards but I don’t even want them because it feels weird to me,” said Drake, who did not attend the Grammys event in Los Angeles, in part because he was touring Europe.

Drake -- who according to the global recording industry body IFPI sold more than any other act last year -- was also in contention for the most prestigious Album of the Year Grammy for Views.

The award went to white English ballad singer Adele’s blockbuster 25 and not the other favourite, black artist Beyonce’s edgy Lemonade. It was the third time Beyonce was nominated and passed over for the prize, renewing charges in some circles that the awards have a racial bias.

Drake, who is of mixed ancestry and also is Jewish, voiced pride in being raised in the “cultural mosaic” of Toronto and said he never felt like an outsider until spending time in the United States.

“The first time I really experienced it was when I got famous and went to America,” he said.

“People would challenge me, like I don’t understand how it works, or like, ‘You’re Canadian, you’ll never understand the black American struggle’.”

Drake has rarely been political but recently made headlines when he staunchly attacked US President Donald Trump’s anti-immigration policies from a London stage.

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