It all started when his early production work was overlooked by voters and flared up when West lost Best New Artist to Maroon 5 in 2005. The War also included an improbable feud with Vince Gill in ’08, and a declaration from West the following year that he didn’t want to win any more Grammys , “because [he has] 10, and that’s a perfect number.” In the years since, he’s boycotted the show to hang out in Brazil with Will Smith, and told the Recording Academy, rather matter-of-factly, to “suck [his] d—.” So, yeah, there appears to be no détente in sight.
’Ye’s main bone of contention with the Grammys seems to center around the Album of the Year category, which he’s never won and, in recent years — despite releasing critically lauded works like My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy and Watch the Throne — hasn’t even been nominated for. Or at least that’s what he says in his fanatical, free-wheeling interview with The New York Times, where he weighs in on a lot of subjects, including his AOTY snubs.
“[My Beautiful] Dark [Twisted] Fantasy and Watch the Throne — neither was nominated for Album of the Year, and I made both of those in one year,” West said. “The thing is, I don’t care about the Grammys; I just would like for the statistics to be more accurate. … I don’t want them to rewrite history right in front of us. At least, not on my clock.”
And while he’s correct about neither of those albums being nominated, West also claimed that he’s never won a Grammy “against a white person,” which needs some clarification. Turns out, he’s done this a couple times, including the 52nd Grammys, where “Run This Town” bested “I’m on a Boat” by the Lonely Island — who are so white they’re nearly translucent — for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration. And there were the 54th annual awards, where “All of the Lights” bested the likes of Eminem, Skylar Grey and Modest Mouse (credited as songwriters on Lupe Fiasco’s “The Show Goes On”) to win Best Rap Song.
Of course, we suspect that West may have meant he’s never won a Grammy in a “non-urban” category, which, rather incredibly, is true: He’s 0-for-3 in Album of the Year as a solo artist (and 0-for-2 as a producer on other nominated albums), 0-for-3 in Song of the Year, and 0-for-1 in Record of the Year. And, as you already know, he lost Best New Artist … so, maybe he’s got a reason to be upset.
West also told the Times that he has “the most Grammys of anyone my age,” and, though he prefaced that claim with “I don’t know if this is statistically right,” turns out, ’Ye’s statistically spot-on. He’s 36 years old, and already has 21 Grammy wins to his name, a number that puts him sixth on the all-time list, trailing only the likes of U2, Stevie Wonder, Quincy Jones and Alison Krauss. He’s six years younger than his mentor, Jay-Z, and yet, has four more Grammys, and unless Alicia Keys (14 wins at 33 years of age) and Beyoncé (17 wins at 31 years of age) go on monumental winning streaks, well, Kanye’s claim appears to be safe.
Kanye’s 51 Grammy nominations are also the fourth-most of any artist, and Jones’ all-time mark of 79 is certainly within reach; meaning that, perhaps it’s time for West to put all the bad blood behind him and make peace. We wouldn’t hold our breath, of course.