Variety reports that sources say the decision was made by Drake and his management team. The Grammys honored the request but the motivation from his withdrawal is still unclear.
Drake received two nominations including: Best Rap Album, for Certified Lover Boy, and Best Rap Performance, for his song “Way 2 Sexy” featuring Future and Young Thug.
Grammy ballots were posted for voting members on Monday (Dec. 6) morning. Instead of giving a nomination to the recipients of the sixth-most votes, the Academy decided to expand the top four categories from eight to 10 last month. The voting for those two rap categories will move forward with four nominees since the voting period has already begun.
This is an interesting move for Drake and his team. Grammy nominations are usually submitted by a representative, most times from the artist’s record label. If an artist does not want their music to be considered, the label won’t submit it.
Though Drake’s choice to be removed from the ballot seems unusual, he has been vocal about his thoughts on the Recording Academy in the past.
Some fans are associating his withdrawal with the tragic events that took place at Astroworld festival and the lawsuits that followed. This notion seems unlikely because Drake is still scheduled to perform with Kanye West at the Free Larry Hoover benefit concert taking place in Los Angeles on Thursday (Dec. 9).
Just last year, Drake called for the Recording Academy’s pretentious Grammy Awards ceremony to be replaced with “something new that we can build up over time and pass on to the generations to come,” after it failed to recognize his peer and fellow Canadian artist the Weeknd in any of its 2021 categories, despite him having one of the top albums and singles of 2020.
“I think we should stop allowing ourselves to be shocked every year by the disconnect between impactful music and these awards and just accept that what once was the highest form of recognition may no longer matter to the artist that exist now and the ones that come after,” he wrote in his Instagram Story. “It’s like a relative you keep expecting to fix up but they just won’t change their ways. The other day I said @theweeknd was a lock for either album or song of the year along with countless other reasonable assumptions and it just never goes that way. This is a great time for somebody to start something new that we can build up overtime and pass on to the generations to come.”
In 2017, Drake declined to submit his album “More Life” for consideration during the 2018 Grammy awards. Drake also made comments at the Grammys during his acceptance speech in 2019 when “God’s Plan” took home Best Rap Song. The awards show producers quickly cut his mic when he devalued the award.
“We play an opinion-based sport, not a factual-based sport,” he said. “You already won if you have people singing your songs word for word, if they’re singing in your hometown. You’re already winning, you don’t need this right here.”
Recording Academy CEO Hawrvey Mason, Jr. has been vocal about making changes to the Academy’s typical procedures and staff, making promises to clean up the organization’s act since recent accusations of insider deals and self-interest began swarming the industry.
After the 2021 awards, the Academy announced it was eliminating the “secret” nomination-review committees, which existed for decades and had the final say-so of which artists landed on the complete list of nominees.
We could assume Drake wanted to give his other contenders, like Cardi B, Megan Thee Stallion, Baby Keem and J. Cole, in the Rap categories an opportunity to take home a Grammy this year or maybe he just doesn’t care about the awards enough to be involved. Who’s to say but Drake himself?
No other comments were given by Drake or his representation.