Update: Drake has abruptly withdrawn his two nominations for the 2022 Grammy Awards. Sources tell Variety that the Canadian star and his management have asked for "Certified Lover Boy," nominated for best rap album, and song "Way 2 Sexy," nominated for best rap performance, to be withdrawn from consideration. Variety notes that ballots have already been sent out and that withdrawing an entry this late may be unprecedented. No reason was given, though Drake has criticized the Grammys before—he called for the start of "something new" after The Weeknd was excluded last year. Our story from Nov. 26, 2020, follows:
"What once was the highest form of recognition may no longer matter." That's what Drake has to say about the Grammy Awards after The Weeknd, expected to be the king of 2021 nominations, was excluded altogether. In posts on his Instagram Stories, Drake—who received two nominations—wrote that he was sure his fellow Canadian artist would be nominated for album or song of the year. There were "countless other reasonable assumptions," but "it just never goes that way," Drake wrote, per Variety. "I think we should stop allowing ourselves to be shocked every year by the disconnect between impactful music and these awards." The Weeknd had demanded transparency on Tuesday. In response, Recording Academy chief Harvey Mason Jr. cited "a record number of submissions in this unusual and competitive year," per Variety.
Drake noted there were too many snubbed artists to name (he mentioned Lil Baby, Pop Smoke, Party Next Door, and Popcaan) and compared the Grammys to "a relative you keep expecting to fix up but they just can't change their ways." The Guardian notes Drake refused to submit an album for Grammys consideration in 2018, a year after his song "Hotline Bling" won best rap song though it didn't actually include rap. That was before the Grammys created a task force to examine diversity. As a result, the advisory group Black Music Collective was launched in September. It applauded the 2021 nominations for the "historic" inclusion of Black artists. "But the mission to be more inclusive continues," it added. Drake instead suggested it was "time for somebody to start something new that we can build up over time and pass on to the generations to come." (The Weeknd will be looking forward to another big night.)