Last night in Ottawa, at a non-televised gala preceding tonight's main awards show, early Juno statues were handed out for Jazz Cartier, Kaytranada, A Tribe Called Red, Grimes, Drake, and The Weeknd, among others. The Juno Awards are Canada's most significant music industry recognition; like many other award shows, a portion of the event is non-televised.
Jazz Cartier's Hotel Paranoia was recognized for Rap Recording of the Year, Grimes won Video of the Year for "Kill V. Maim," A Tribe Called Red were named Producers of the Year, and Kaytranada's 99.9% won for Electronic Album of the Year. Drake, who hosted the show in 2011, won an International Achievement Award, and The Weeknd's Starboy was awarded for Best R&B/Soul Recording of the Year.
In a speech, which wasn't televised, Jazz Cartier recognized his peers — past and present — and made a point of calling out Canadian radio, as well as the Junos, for diminishing rap's significant cultural contributions. He shared the details in an Instagram post after the event, writing, "This means a lot to me but like I said this evening the Canadian radio is gonna have to stop bullshitting and start playing our own on our radio so these kids don't feel the need to leave to the states in order to make it or get heard. And also @thejunoawards while you guys enjoy all the hip hop in the world at your after parties, next year you gotta have this category filmed on television."
The Juno Awards, which compiles nominees through submissions, has long been a site of contention for Canadian hip-hop and electronic artists. Last year, in a series of now-deleted tweets, Kaytranada called the awards "out of touch." In 2014, A Tribe Called Red was the first Indigenous act to win outside of the Aboriginal Music category; they spoke out about their decision to not submit for consideration in the latter category. And in 1998, seminal Canadian rap group the Rascalz refused to accept their win for Best Rap Recording to protest the exclusion of black music genres from the televised broadcast. The Junos responded by airing the award the following year — the Rascalz also performed on the show — but have dropped it from the broadcast since, right through the era of Drake.
Thumbnail photo by Lars Hagberg/AFP/Getty Images