The Creation of a Rap Grammy

In 1988, the National Association of Recording Arts and Sciences announced that there would be a new Grammy category, Rap.  The president of NARAS used this statement to explain the decision to add this category:

“Rap last year was an urban black music form, and over the last year it has evolved into something more than that. It has matured into several kinds of music, with several kinds of artists doing it.  We felt there was enough product coming out to justify a rap category.”

I found this quote to be very problematic and disrespectful to the genre and the artists within it, especially to those who developed the genre. This quote is a politically correct way of saying that rap didn’t deserve awards last year because it was music made by black people for black people. But now that there are some white rappers and white people like it and listen to it we should create an award for it. It totally alters the authenticity rap had in its early years. Rap was developed by African American people who had gone through horrible things and were trying to express them and help other people to understand them. By inferring that the music was useless in this ‘urban black form’, the NARAS is basically saying the only good thing that came out of it was creating a section of rap for white people. It’s saying that before rap developed into different artists and types it had no value to anyone but those who were making it.

All in all this quotation is very angering to me, it just shows how truly awful African American people were treated in this country and how much the popularity and evolution of music was driven by the white man. If Rap hadn’t evolved to appeal to the white people of America who knows what it could have become or if it would have even lasted to appear in today’s music world.

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