In a feature story titled “The Grammys’ Head of Awards Explains Why This Year’s Rap Nominations Don’t Suck,” Complex caught up with Bill Freimuth to get the Head Of Awards’ thoughts on this year’s rap nominations.
Freimuth spoke specifically on the evolution of the rap and R&B categories, and the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences’ efforts to better showcase rap music.
In regards to the academy overlooking certain types of Hip Hop, Freimuth explained that the academy “has tightened up a bit.”
“The rap sorting committee has tightened up a bit,” Freimuth said. “When they think something is pop, they’ll send it over to the pop room. In most cases, the pop room will accept decisions from the rap room. Year by year, hopefully, they’re getting better, less predictable, and less biased toward any particular style of rap.”
Freimuth was later asked if indie Hip Hop artists face an uphill battle when it comes to being nominated for the annual awards show.
“Yes and no,” the Head of Awards said. “I want to give some credit to our voters here. A single voter cannot vote in every category in the process. They are limited to 20 categories out of the 83, plus everyone can vote in the four categories of the general field. We ask that people only vote in the categories where they have some expertise. If you look at rap or EDM, they’re both relatively mainstream genres, and there are breakout stars from both of those areas, but I think where the music is really happening is a little more underground. It is our hope that the people voting in those areas are part of that underground. They know the mainstream stuff, sure, and they give it due respect, but when they see an artist or a recording listed on the ballot, they’re able to say, oh yeah, that’s the one I heard at that club, or a friend of mine turned me onto this record. Those songs will have their chance to rise.”
Earlier today (December 7), a full list of nominees was released for next year’s Grammy Awards. Compton, California lyricist Kendrick Lamar leads the list of nominees with 11 nominations.