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The Grammys Change Rules, Still Aren't Relevant

Hip-hop and The Grammys have always had an inconsistent relationship, to put it amicably; Chuck D infamously rapped, “Who gives a fuck about a goddamn Grammy?” a full year before the genre was recognized by The Recording Academy. It’s been 25 years since the award show implemented rap music, yet The Grammys are still slow to embrace it beyond niche categories—the closest thing to a hip-hop “Song of the Year” winner would be Beyoncé’s “Single Ladies.” Hip-hop looks to stand a better chance in broader categories at next year’s show, though, since The Academy announced today that samples and interpolations of previously recorded works will finally be eligible for all categories, including “Song of the Year.” (Until now, the only category that accepted sampling was “Best Rap Song.”) It’s an encouraging step for hip-hop and even EDM, two cultures rooted in reinterpretation and repurposing.

The archaic sampling guideline was one of the Grammys’ least known and most bizarre rules, and we’re happy to see it go. Kanye West's “Good Life,” which won “Best Rap Song” honors in 2008, was disqualified from other categories because of its two-line allusion to 50 Cent’s “In Da Club.” Similarly, Jay Z’s 2011 winner “Empire State of Mind” was held back from more nominations because of its sample of The Moments’ “Love on a Two-Way Street.” Had the rule not been changed, many hits would have seen similar fates, like “Move That Dope” by Future, which interpolates Salt-N-Pepa’s “Push It” in its opening whispers.

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The Grammys Change Rules, Still Aren't Relevant