Can I Live? Why Hip Hop Music Suffers At Award Shows

ATLANTA – OCTOBER 18: Recording artist DJ Khaled accepts an award onstage with Rick Ross, Lil Wayne and Ludacris during the 2008 BET Hip-Hop Awards at The Boisfeuillet Jones Atlanta Civic Center on October 18, 2008 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images for BET)

“You should be honored by my lateness, that I would even show up to this fake sh*t.” – Kanye West, Stronger

Every year we gather in front our televisions for award show season and every year we’re in an uproar or begrudge undeserving winners. Whether it’s politics, economics, or a just sheer obliviousness you walk away feeling like an artist’s work didn’t receive the proverbial cherry on top. The genre that constantly falls victim to this (in my humble opinion) is rap/hip-hop. Though the culture pushes the narrative that we shouldn’t look to whyt owned award shows for validation, the blunt truth is we DO (to some degree). Recognition and appreciation at its highest levels is something we all yearn for in some capacity.

Awarding more deserving rap/hip-hop artists starts with the perception of rap by outsiders – and by outsiders I mean those who don’t truly engage or consume the culture enough to truly conceptualize and interpret it. One of the biggest problems I see is those very same external forces homogenize the culture to the point that it diminishes the nuances, intricacies, and subtleties that make it the most influential sub-culture in the world. Rap is arguably the most linguistically challenging and dexterous art form to date. Even in its most elementary form, it is difficult to hone and project with resulting praise.

The diversification of rap over the years has birthed many styles and sounds. Whether it’s trap, conscious rap, boom-bap, gangsta rap, grime or drill the sub-genres continue to attest to the versatility of the art form. Think about it, rappers often switch up their flow from album to album and even song to song. They’re essentially learning how to