Drake Says Grammys 'May No Longer Matter' as He Defends The Weeknd Against Snubs
Drake said there's a "disconnect between impactful music and these awards" after The Weeknd called the Recording Academy "corrupt"
The lineup of 2021 Grammy nominees was revealed on Tuesday, with several surprises, including no recognition for The Weeknd, 30, whose After Hours album was eligible. Responding to the snub, the artist tweeted: "The Grammys remain corrupt. You owe me, my fans and the industry transparency..."
Amid his tweet and a TMZ report that The Weeknd's snub may have stemmed from his decision to headline next year's Super Bowl, Harvey Mason Jr., Recording Academy chair and interim president/CEO, told PEOPLE in a statement "that in no way could" The Weeknd's headlining of the NFL event "have affected the nomination process."
Drake, 34, took a moment on his Instagram Story on Wednesday to speak out about how he sees the music award show as having a "disconnect" from acknowledging "impactful music." Drake, who has won four Grammys, dissed the award institution onstage at the 2019 show.
"I think we should stop allowing ourselves to be shocked every year by the disconnect between impactful music and these awards and just accept that what once was the highest form of recognition may no longer matter to the artists that exist now and the ones that come after," he wrote.
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"It's like a relative you keep expecting to fix up but they just can't change their ways," continued Drake. "The other day I said @theweeknd was a lock for either album or song of the year along with countless other reasonable assumptions and it just never goes that way."
Drake then added that now is "a great time" for someone to "start something new that we can build up over time and pass on to the generations to come."
Despite seeing success, The Weeknd's latest album, After Hours, failed to receive an album of the year nod. His single "Blinding Lights," which peaked at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and spent 40 weeks in the top 10, also did not make it onto the list of final nominees for song and record of the year.
"We understand that The Weeknd is disappointed at not being nominated," Mason Jr. said in a statement. "I was surprised and can empathize with what he's feeling. His music this year was excellent, and his contributions to the music community and broader world are worthy of everyone's admiration."
According to TMZ's report, the Grammys officials issued the singer-songwriter an ultimatum between the two events, but came to an agreement where the musician could perform at both after heated negotiations.
"We were thrilled when we found out he would be performing at the upcoming Super Bowl and we would have loved to have him also perform on the Grammy stage the weekend before," Mason Jr. added in his statement. "Unfortunately, every year, there are fewer nominations than the number of deserving artists. But as the only peer-voted music award, we will continue to recognize and celebrate excellence in music while shining a light on the many amazing artists that make up our global community."
"To be clear, voting in all categories ended well before The Weeknd's performance at the Super Bowl was announced, so in no way could it have affected the nomination process. All GRAMMY nominees are recognized by the voting body for their excellence, and we congratulate them all," the statement continued.
Sources close to the situation told PEOPLE: "There were many conversations between the Grammys and The Weeknd team about his performance slated for the 2021 Grammys. There was an ultimatum given resulting in a struggle over him also playing the Super Bowl that went on for some time and was eventually agreed upon that he would perform at both events."
"The Grammys had their nomination ballots as of Oct 12th and had all these convos with The Weeknd team in the past month and today on Nov. 24 The Weeknd had not one nomination and is now completely ignored by the Grammys," one of the sources said. "This was the year that they were supposed to rise up. What is the process and where is the transparency?"
The Weeknd has won three Grammys in his career so far. His last win was in 2017 when he picked up an award for best urban contemporary album for Starboy.