"Of course we deserve to be in that category, no question," Ryan Lewis said defiantly to MTV News correspondent Sway Calloway and MTV2 "Girl Code" star Nicole Byer while he and rapping partner Macklemore walked the Grammy red carpet on Sunday night (January 26).
Earlier this week, an unnamed source told the AP that "most" members of the rap committee of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences looked to keep the duo out of the award ceremony's rap categories, arguing that their pop success was a strike against their hip-hop cred.
Despite the assertion that the duo didn't belong in the hip-hop field, Macklemore and Ryan beat out Jay Z, Drake, Kanye West and Kendrick Lamar for the hotly contested Best Rap Album award. "It is a beautiful time in hip-hop music where people are pushing the comfort zone of the listener, of the art. If you look at the list of the people that were nominated for Best Rap Album, everybody in their own way pushed people out of their comfort zone," Macklemore said.
"With that being said, I think that we gratefully, humbly are one of those five people," he continued. "We should be there. I came up on hip-hop music, this is the foundation, it's beats and rhymes, that's what it is first and foremost."
The group scored a number of platinum plaques and two #1 singles with their 2012 album The Heist and its standout singles "Thrift Shop" and "Can't Hold Us." The album's fourth single, "Same Love," took gay rights issues head on and earned the group a Song of the Year nomination at the 2014 awards.
"I understand how certain people are like, 'Oh, it's like the white, gay-promoting rapper from Seattle. That's weird, he doesn't belong here,' " Macklemore reasoned. "It is what it is, there's always gonna be that, but it is hip-hop music. I'm just trying to push the art, I'm trying to push the genre and make music that documents my experience on this earth."