Hip-hop has long had a fraught relationship with the Grammys. It's been intensified in recent years, though, with rappers not showing up to the event, and fans debating the results (most notably in 2014, when Macklemore topped Kendrick Lamar, Kanye West, Jay Z, and Drake for Best Rap Album). Now there's a steadily growing movement to institute a change with the potential to alter how rap music -- as well as other genres -- is judged.
A petition on Change.org is calling for the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences to change the rule that "recordings must be available for sale" in order to be eligible for an award. This would, of course, open up hordes of mixtapes and free music for consideration.
It's an issue that Chance the Rapper has helped spark a conversation around in recent months. On Kanye West's "Ultralight Beam," he raps, "He said let's do a good ass job with Chance 3 / I hear you gotta sell it to snatch the Grammy / Let's make it so free and the bars so hard / That there ain't one gosh darn part you can't tweet." Also in February, he tweeted that it was Pharrell who brought the rule to his attention.
This could affect hundreds of artists, though, well beyond Chance. Chano, along with thousands of others, have already signed the petition, which is working towards a 25,000 signature goal.