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Why Did Jay-Z Take a Dig at the Grammys for Beyonce's Snubs?

The 2024 Grammys came with a storm and left breaking records for several artists. Artists like Miley Cyrus, Tyla and Victoria Monet became first-time Grammy winners with their songs ‘Flowers’, ‘Water’ and ‘On My Mama’ respectively. Pop titan Taylor Swift, broke all-time Grammy records becoming the only artist to take home the most Album of the Year awards, which is four. Last but not least, the hip-hop icon Jay-Z was awarded the Dr. Dre Global Impact Award, for a second time which was presented to him by the host of that night, Trevor Noah. Jay-Z was present at the award show with his wife, Beyoncé and their daughter, Blue Ivy. The latter even accompanied him on the stage when he was honoured by the Recording Academy with such a special award.

However, situations took a bit of a toll towards the south when Jay-Z, took a dig at the Grammys, calling out the academy over snubbing Beyoncé for the ‘Album of the Year’ awards over the years. Beyoncé has set the record for most Grammys of all time (male and female artists combined) with a record of 32 wins and is also celebrated as the most nominated female artist with 79 career nominations. However, not one among those 32 wins is an ‘Album of the Year’ award to which Jay-z said, “But you know, some things- I don’t want to embarrass this young lady, but she has more Grammys than everyone and never won album of the year. So even by your own metrics, that doesn’t work. Think about that. The most Grammys never won album of the year. That doesn’t work.” 

Jay-Z’s words cannot be ignored as he indeed stated an important fact that night. An artist like Beyonce who has conquered the music industry from her days of being one-third of Destiny’s Child to her being a solo artist, one might automatically believe that she has won ‘Album of the Year’ at least once in her career, but unfortunately, truth is, she has never been rewarded with it. Even with albums like, I AM…SASHA FIERCE (2008), BEYONCÉ (2014), and Lemonade (2016), which consisted of songs like Halo, Single Ladies, If I Were a Boy, Haunted, Partition Sorry, Formation and many more, the albums failed to ‘impress’ the Recording Academy. Her latest and seventh studio album Renaissance (2022) which debuted at number one on the US Billboard 200 chart and was certified platinum,  failed to sweep the ‘Album of the Year’ at the 2023 Grammys. However, that was the same year she won ‘Best Dance/Electronic Album’ for Renaissance which gave her the record for most gramophones won by an individual act.

Jay-Z in this regard further stated, “We want ya’ll to get it right. At least getting close to right. And obviously, it’s subjective. Ya’ll don’t gotta clap at everything. Obviously, it’s subjective because, you know, it’s music and it’s opinion based.” 

Beyoncé has been nominated four times previously for ‘Album of the Year’ starting in 2010 (losing to Taylor Swift), 2015 (losing to Beck), 2017 (losing to Adele) and 2023 (losing to Harry Styles). Jay-Z also added, “You know some of you gonna go home tonight and feel like you’ve been robbed. Some of you may get robbed. Some of you don’t belong in a category. No, when I get nervous, I tell the truth.” 

It’s no suspense that after last year’s Grammys, most of her fans showed their outrage openly at the fact that Renaissance should have won the award in question, instead of Harry’s House. Even then, Jay-Z spoke about why he thought his wife’s album deserved the coveted award, in an interview with Tidal. He told Elliot Wilson, “The truth is, we grew up wanting to be on the Grammys, and it was our goal. We just want them to get it right. That’s what we want,” He further stated, “Even with Bey, I felt like they missed the moment. Not just Lemonade; when Beck won over her. I was like, ‘Oh, ya’ll missed it.”, as a response to a question asked to him about his previous losses at the Grammys. 

As Harry Styles said in his 2023 Album of the Year Award acceptance speech, “I think on nights like tonight it’s important for us to remember there is no such thing as ‘best’ in music. I don’t think any of us sit in the studio making decisions on what is going to get us one of these,”  [referring to the Grammy in his hands], when on one hand, it is incredibly true, on the other, it cannot be completely denied that a Grammy is indeed the highest honour in the music industry and receiving one, does make an artist feel special. Grammys have been the validation check box for so many artists over the years and to be awarded one does claim some remarks on an artist’s artistry. Hence, it would be so honourary if Beyoncé, who is already the recipient of 32 Grammys, also had a few ‘Album of the Year’ wins.

Beyoncé undoubtedly is one of the most phenomenal and sensational artists of this generation. Her songs speak volumes and she has been the voice of the Black community about their pain, struggles, darkness and most importantly their history which is something that needs to be respected, rewarded and honoured. She has always been loud about the issues that have made her community uncomfortable. Her albums especially Renaissance had a huge impact on our culture. In the conversation with Tidal, Jay-Z also said, “Every remix is amazing. Everyone’s inspired. It has inspired the world. When it just inspires creativity, that’s an album. That has to be album of the year.” 

There is no doubt that Jay-Z has never left an opportunity to speak about his wife’s Grammy snubs and talk about how every album of hers has brought about so much cultural change and inspiration for the younger generation of artists. She has been and still is the foundation for so many rising artists and hence, for all the rightful reasons, the industry calls her the ‘Queen B’.

At the 2024 Grammys, Jay-Z concluded his Dr. Dre Global Impact Award acceptance speech with the powerful lines, “Just in life, you got to keep showing up. Just keep showing up. Forget the Grammys you got to keep showing up until they give you all those accolades you feel you deserve. Until they call you Chairman, until they call you a genius until they call you the greatest of all time.”, somewhere underlining his hope to see Beyoncé winning ‘Album of the Year’ with her further production of records in the future.

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