According to a report from the Associated Press, the Seattle duo never submitted their 2016 album, This Unruly Mess I’ve Made, for Grammy consideration. While it wasn’t quite the same rousing success as their 2014 debut The Heist, there may have been some argument for Grammy consideration — after all, the album went gold, and its lead single, “Downtown,” eventually went platinum.
Ultimately, Macklemore and Lewis’s decision may have been informed by their last Grammy experience, in 2014. That year, they got a lot of flack after they took home four Grammys, most controversially for Best Rap Album, beating out Kendrick Lamar, Jay Z, Kanye West, and Drake. They further stoked controversy when Macklemore privately apologized to Lamar — who went home empty-handed that year — via text. Sure, it may have seemed like a nice gesture, but it became unsettling once Mack posted the text on Instagram for the whole world to see. Lamar, for his part, later said the duo’s win was “well-deserved.”
Frank Ocean also didn’t submit his 2016 albums, Blonde and Endless, for Grammy consideration this year. He said he withheld them because he thinks “the infrastructure of the awarding system and the nomination system and screening system is dated.” For Macklemore and Lewis, though, it was probably just a way to dodge any further controversy.