Jay-Z took aim at the Grammys for what he deemed as questionable practices during his acceptance speech for the Dr. Dre Global Impact Award at the 66th Annual Recording Academy Honors on Sunday (Feb. 4).
Reflecting on his history with the Recording Academy, he recalled boycotting the Grammys in 1998 in solidarity with DMX after the rapper was overlooked for the Album of the Year category despite two chart-topping albums that year.
“I was nominated for Best Rap Album. DMX had dropped two albums that year, they both were number one. Shout-out to DMX,” Jay-Z said. “He wasn’t nominated at all so I boycotted and I watched the Grammys. I’m just saying, we want y’all to get it right. We love y’all. We want y’all to get it right. At least get it close to right.”
He then shifted the spotlight to Beyoncé’s lack of Album of the Year wins. The rap billionaire questioned why his wife repeatedly gets snubbed in the highly coveted category, despite holding the record for most wins by a female artist.
He stated, “I don’t want to embarrass this young lady, but she has more Grammys than any other woman in history and never won Album of the Year,” Jay said towards Beyoncé standing in the audience. “So, even by your own metrics, that doesn’t work. Think about that: The most Grammys. Never won album of the year. That doesn’t work. Some of you gonna go home and feel like you’ve been robbed. Some of you may get robbed. Some of you don’t belong in the category,” he further joked.
He added, “When I get nervous, I tell the truth. But outside of that, we gotta keep showing up. Forget the Grammys for a second, just in life. Just in life, you gotta keep showing up. You gotta just keep showing up until they give you those accolades you feel you deserve until they call you chairman, until they call you a genius, until they call you the greatest of all time, you feel me? Thank you.”
Jay-Z’s speech directly references Beyoncé’s 32 Grammy wins in total, none of which were for Album of the Year despite critical acclaim for albums like “Lemonade” and “Renaissance.”
Watch his full speech below.
Jay-Z becomes the second recipient of the Dr. Dre Global Impact Award, following the Los Angeles rapper-producer himself. The award, in partnership with the Recording Academy’s Black Music Collective, recognizes individuals who have made a lasting positive impact on Black music throughout their careers.