Vince Staples Got Snubbed From The Grammys... Again
The Grammys announced the nominees for their 2022 awards on Monday and left out, yet again, an important voice in today's music: Vince Staples.
The Long Beach rapper released his third LP this year, a self-titled project with introspective lyrics about paranoia ("Keep my shit off safety/You know you can never be too safe"), his rise to fame, and seeking a sense of home. All of it flowed effortlessly over wavy production from one of today's most-sought producers, Kenny Beats. Staples also released two artful videos, one for "LAW OF AVERAGES" and another for "ARE YOU WITH THAT?" where he literally is buried up to his neck. While the trend in hip-hop is to bounce around waving stacks of money in front of a rented Lamborghini, Staples has used his platform for true storytelling.
The 22-minute run time of "Vince Staples" was the subject of an essay by Adam Aziz for The Undefeated on how artists should balance the lightning fast pace of TikTok singles with the historic significance of double albums. The skits on this project weave into the narrative and build a sense that the artist is creating for more than just himself.
Staples was also snubbed back in 2017 when his experimental "Big Fish Theory" didn't receive any Grammy nominations. It debuted at No.16 on the Billboard 200 and featured singles "BagBak" and "Big Fish" with a guest appearance from Juicy J. Despite mixed reviews upon its release, the album was celebrated this year when producer SOPHIE died and several revisited her musical contributions, including the mechanical "SAMO." Staples has been ahead of his time.
This year, Drake and Kanye West, who dueled around similar fall release dates for "Certified Lover Boy" and "Donda" respectively, are both nominated for several categories, including Best Rap Album. West even has a nod for Album of the Year. Their albums were lengthy and discombobulated, yet both projects had success on the Billboard charts (both are in the Top 10 of the Billboard 200 at time of publication) and continue to be the center of conversations.
But the Grammy voters must ask themselves: Do they want this generation to be remembered as the definition of basic? C'mon "Way 2 Sexy" as Best Rap Performance? Or even marred with drama over alleged abusers with Marilyn Manson on "Donda?"
Perhaps the Grammys are afraid of Staples' gang affiliations. But they have nominated ScHoolboy Q and YG, although neither won.
Perhaps Staples simply hasn't made enough of a commercial splash. His music has been featured in Gatorade commercials, but an appearance on "The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon" and an impeccable set on NPR's "Tiny Desk" maybe weren't enough to keep up with Saweetie's McDonald's deal.
Vince of all people does not care if he's nominated for the Grammys. Several in the hip-hop community have written off the traditionally white male-dominated awards. Yet it remains a symbol of status that gives affirmation to someone as an important cultural figure. His thoughtful, carefully crafted art that is carrying the torch for such legends as Snoop Dogg (who himself has never won a Grammy despite 16 nominations) is worth being considered.