The late, great Phife Dawg famously rapped, “I’ll never let a statue tell me how nice I am,” on “Award Tour” off A Tribe Called Quest’s class Midnight Marauders album. The words still ring true over 25 years when it comes to the Grammy Awards, which too often have been lacking when it comes to its respect for Hip-Hop culture.
Back in the day, the Grammys wouldn’t even air the Rap category winners during the proper show. To many, the slights still continue, like Jay-Z sitting in the front row only to go 0-8 in Grammy wins in 2018. Every year it’s a guarantee, the Hip-Hop heads will be upset, about something, justifiably so.
Needless to say, the Grammys’ relationship with the culture is still strained at best, with artists like Drake, Kendrick Lamar and Childish Gambino all essentially curving the show after being asked and passing on performing.
Considering the amount of Hip-Hop legends, who have dropped quality material, only to never take home a Grammy Award, you can’t blame them. Like Phife insinuated, a Grammy Award will never make you a great MC, but the acknowledgment would still be cool. And don’t get use started groups like the aforementioned A Tribe Called Quest or De La Soul or Public Enemy.
To be clear, we’re not taking anything away from stars whose shelves are littered with Grammys. We just wish the distribution of the accolades were more equitable.
As evidence, check out the eyebrow-raising list of Hip-Hop artists who have never won a Grammy in the gallery. It wouldn’t really be the Grammys if someone wasn’t getting snubbed, right?
1. Yasiin BeySource:WENN
Yasiin Bey f/k/a as the Mighty Mos Def is already one of the greatest MC’s of all time. Not so much in Grammy land.
UPDATE: Nas finally got a trophy in 2021 for King’s Disease.
Nasty Nas, the rapper who made Illmatic is still Grammy-less despite 14 nominations.
Blastmaster KRS-One and Boogie Down Productions are legends. For shame.
4. WaleSource:Warner Records
Wale has only one nomination to his name for Best Rap Song back in 2013.
The R has been nominated a grand total of two times.
6. A Tribe Called QuestSource:WENN.com
A Tribe Called Quest has come up blank after only four nominations. Q-Tip has a Grammy, but that’s thanks to a performance on “Galvanize” by the Chemical Brothers.
Brad Jordan is still a GOAT.
8. Snoop DoggSource:WENN.com
Despite 16 nominations, Snoop Dogg has always come up empty.
9. Ice CubeSource:WENN.com
O’Shea Jackson has been nominated just one time. Think about that.
10. Wu-Tang ClanSource:Hip-Hop Wired
Despite being for the children, the Wu-Tang Clan has managed to snag only one Grammy nomination.
DMX once dropped two critically acclaimed and commercially successful albums in one year. Nevertheless, he’s 0-3 in Grammy Awards.
12. Busta RhymesSource:Getty
The Dungeon Dragon has a dozen nominations to his name.
Redman will go down in history as a GOAT, but he only has two Grammy nomination to his name. His buddy Method Man has one Grammy, though.
14. Mobb DeepSource:Getty
The speakers of the Dunn Language. Rest in power Prodigy.
15. Tupac Shakur & The Notorious B.I.G.Source:Getty
Both of their lives were cut short, but a posthumous award is way past due.
16. Public EnemySource:WENN.com
This is just disrespectful
17. J. ColeSource:Getty
J. Cole has been nominated a total of 12 times. And finally got a trophy in 2019.
UPDATE: Hendrixx got one in 2019 for Best Rap Performance