LOS ANGELES — First and foremost, Jimmy Jam is best known as one-half of the most successful production duos on the planet, working with cohort Terry Lewis to amass a string of 16 #1 hits on the Billboard Hot 100 for the likes of Mariah Carey, Janet Jackson and Usher.
But over the years, Jam has also become known for his work with the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, where he currently serves as chair emeritus. Of course, NARAS is the organization that hands out the Grammy Awards, so when MTV News spoke with Jam on Friday night’s MusiCares red carpet, we figured there was no one better to weigh in on this year’s biggest Grammy controversy : the odd (and some would say inexcusable) absence of Kanye West’s universally acclaimed My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy in the Album of the Year category.
And Jam wasn’t afraid to address the issue. He’ll be the first to admit that sometimes the Grammy voters make, uh, interesting choices when it comes to nominations. He thinks he knows what happened in Kanye’s case: He actually put out two really great albums during the eligibility period.
“I was a little surprised that it did not get nominated,” Jam said. “But it happens a lot of times when you have two really great records, and by the way, Watch the Throne is a great album on it’s own. Sometimes the votes split, and that may have been what happened.”
Of course, there are some who believe that the My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy AOTY snub had less to do with vote splitting and more to do with the Grammys’ dislike for West and his antics. But Jam wants to let everyone know that’s simply not the case. In fact, he’s one of the rapper’s biggest supporters. To him, this was simply a matter of bad timing. Nothing more, nothing less.
“It’s interesting, because we don’t really tabulate the votes … it goes to a separate place [the auditing firm of Deloitte]. We don’t touch that stuff,” Jam said. “So a lot of times, [we’re] very surprised by what the nominations actually end up being. I think Kanye’s record is one of the best records of the year, but sometimes it’s just timing.”
Chaos! Profanity! Wardrobe malfunctions! Don’t miss our Grammy red-carpet live stream this Sunday, February 12, for a full three hours of mayhem, starting at 5 p.m. ET on MTV.com. And the fun doesn’t end Sunday: MTV News has you covered for all the Grammy red-carpet fashion, Grammy winners and Grammy news until the hangover wears off!