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STEVEN VICTOR: POP SMOKE WAS ROBBED

The Weeknd isn’t the only richly deserving artist snubbed or down-balloted by the Grammy brain trust. The backlash broadens and intensifies: In a Q&A posted on GQ.com, Steven Victor minced no words when asked about his reaction to the late Pop Smoke—whom he discovered and signed to his Victor Victor label—having received a lone nod, for “Dior,” in the Rap Performance category. Pop, said Victor, “brought drill music to the forefront and made it mainstream," arguing, "He had a huge impact. Forget about whether he passed away; his impact was felt way before that. He was going to be a superstar.”

Victor was just getting started. “The top album this year is Lil Baby, with 2.3 million records sold ... The #2 most-sold album is Pop Smoke ... That’s 2 million records sold," he continued. "And behind Pop is Weeknd ... with 1.9 million records sold. So how does [Pop] not get nominated for Album of the Year or Rap Album of the Year or Best New Artist? This was his only chance to get nominated for these awards. So to me, the Grammys is cap.

“I don’t know who’s making these decisions. He should’ve been nominated for ‘Dior’ in more than one category, he should’ve been nominated for Best New Artist, he should’ve been nominated for Album of the Year and he should’ve been nominated for Rap Album of the Year. He should’ve swept the whole thing. It doesn’t make any sense. That kid was incredibly talented—he gave his life to his music—and you can’t at least nominate him? ...

“[Pop] wanted to win a Grammy, because he knew what it meant for his career and his legacy. It’s just disappointing that he didn’t get nominated.”

In Victor’s view, the issue is systemic: “Hip-hop has never had no relationship with the Grammys!” he asserts. “That’s what I think. They just pick and choose and do what they want to do based on how they’re feeling at the moment without any regard to what’s really going on in the culture.”

There’s much more, and you can find it here.    

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