The Grammy Awards definitions have changed for 2021 making ‘Urban’, ‘Latin’ and ‘New Artist’ a grey area and making a mockery of its categories.
You no longer have to be an Urban artist to win an Urban award, you don’t have to create Latin American music to win the Latino awards and you don’t even have to be a new artist to win the New Artist Award (but that one has been fucked up for a while).
‘Best Urban Contemporary Album’ has been renamed ‘Best Progressive R&B Album’. The Recording Academy, the organisation behind the Grammy Awards, says this is to create a “more accurate definition to describe the merit or characteristics of music compositions or performances themselves within the genre of R&B”. Pop, Euro-pop, country, folk and alternative with elements of Urban will now qualify for this renamed award effectively whitening the category.
‘Best Rap/Sung Performance’ will now be known as ‘Best Melodic Rap Performance’ to highlight “the growing hybrid performance trends within the rap genre”. Again, Rock, Country and Electronic songs that may contain traces of Rap will now qualify in this category. Yes, JASON MRAZ will be eligible now for ‘BestRap/Sung Performance’.
The strangest change is for ‘Best New Artist’. The name remains the same but now the category is up for anyone who has a breakthrough. Yes, you could have had a dozen albums over 20 years and still qualify for ‘Best New Artist’ as long as your career had been a total stiff for the previous 20 years.
‘Best Latin Pop or Urban Album’ and ‘Best Latin Rock or Alternative Album’ have also been gone to hospital for a liver transplant and come out instead with breast implants. Latin Pop or Urban can now include ballads and commercial Latin music and as long as the song “reflects the broad spectrum of Latin pop music style and culture” it is no longer “limited to any one region”. Like Latin Rock or Alternative can also come from anywhere in the world.
Has the Recording Academy fucked up the 2021 Grammy Awards? Yep!