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Billboard Discusses Grammy's Hip Hop Snubs, PE's Boycott
February 14th, 2017

Billboard has published an extensive article exploring the Grammy Awards' tumultuous, up and down relationship with hip hop, including the series of snubs that lead Public Enemy to boycott the famous award show in 1991.

The Grammy Awards are widely considered to be the most prestigious award show in the American recording industry, yet the show's relationship with hip hop, now one of the most profitable and popular genres of music, has been a rough one. Despite hip hop dominating sales charts and airwaves, the Grammy's have always been hesitant to fully embrace the art form, so much so that mainstream news outlets even began reporting on the award show's traditionally cold reception toward to hip hop and rap music. The award show has been accused of intentionally snubbing some of hip hop's most legendary artists, including 2Pac, The Notorious B.I.G., and Ice Cube.

The Grammys unfortunate relationship with hip hop began in 1989, when the Grammys finally gave rap music its own category and award but, refused to televise the presentation of the award. All of the rap nominees, including Public Enemy, Salt-N-Pepa, LL Cool J, and the winners of the award, Will Smith and DJ Jazzy Jeff, boycotted the event in protest.

Despite being nominated for a Grammy for "Fear of a Black Planet," Public Enemy would also boycott the awards again in 1991, when the award show once again chose not to televise the presentation of the rap award, a move which industry mogul Russel Simmons called a "broken-record snub of inner-city contributions to the music industry."

You can read Billboard's full history of The Grammy Award's relationship with hip hop here.

By Michael Lacerna for PublicEnemy.com