Drake, the world’s top-selling artist last year, has accused the Grammys of pigeonholing him as a rapper because he is black and said he does not want his latest awards. Drake, who won the Grammys for Best Rap Song and Best Rap/Sung Performance for “Hotline Bling” at the music industry’s February 12 gala, voiced dismay that his “One Dance,” which is Spotify’s all-time, most-streamed song, was passed over for nominations.
For the Grammys, “I’m a black artist, I’m apparently a rapper, even though ‘Hotline Bling’ is not a rap song,” Drake, who rarely gives interviews, said on his weekend show on Apple’s Beats 1 radio. Drake “The only category that they can manage to fit me in is in a rap category, maybe because I’ve rapped in the past or because I’m black,” he said in the form of an interview with Britain’s DJ Semtex.
The Toronto artist, who rose to fame in the hip-hop world, said that his megahits were “pop songs — but I never get any credit for that.” “I want to be like Michael Jackson; I want to be like artists that I looked up to,” he said. “I won two awards but I don’t even want them because it feels weird to me,” said Drake, who did not attend the Grammys event in Los Angeles, in part because he was touring Europe. Drake — who according to the global recording industry body IFPI sold more than any other act last year — was also in contention for the most prestigious Album of the Year Grammy for “Views.”
The award went to white English ballad singer Adele’s blockbuster “25” and not the other favorite, black artist Beyonce’s edgy “Lemonade.” It was the third time Beyonce was nominated and passed over for the prize, renewing charges in some circles that the awards have a racial bias. Drake, who is of mixed ancestry and also is Jewish, voiced pride in being raised in the “cultural mosaic” of Toronto and said he never felt like an outsider until spending time in the United States. “The first time I really experienced it was when I got famous and went to America,” he said. “People would challenge me, like I don’t understand how it works, or like, ‘You’re Canadian, you’ll never understand the black American struggle.’” Drake has rarely been political but recently made headlines when he staunchly attacked US President Donald Trump’s anti-immigration policies from a London stage.