If The Weeknd’s “Gasoline” was the synth anthem that kept you warm all winter, or Drake’s “Sticky” was stuck in your head all summer, don’t expect to see your personal favorites confirmed at the 2023 Grammys. Despite being behind some of the most notable releases of this eligibility period, neither Drake, The Weeknd nor fellow favorites Silk Sonic will see their projects compete.
This is not for lack of recognition (although Drake’s Honestly, never mind debuted to middling reviews). Long story short: it’s because of the artists themselves. Both Drake and The Weeknd declined to submit their respective entitlements albums—Frankly speaking, forget it and Dawn FM—for remuneration, a pattern established in 2021 continues, per Fork.
Drake has long criticized the Grammys for, among other things, mislabeling his work. He skipped the 2017 show in protest of the Academy’s decision to nominate “Hotline Bling” in the rap categories, despite Drake’s claim that it was a pop song. Drake too withdrew the nominations to Certified Lover Boy and the single “Way 2 Sexy” in 2022; he had been nominated for Best Rap Album and Best Rap Performance respectively.
The Weeknd began his official The academy boycott the year before, in 2021, citing his massively successful After hours album and its singles not receiving any nominations. “Because of the secret committees, I will no longer allow my record company to submit my music to the Grammys,” he said. New York Times in a statement at the time. Before sharing an official statement, he expressed his displeasure with the closure on Twitter, writing: “The Grammys remain corrupt. You owe me, my fans and the industry transparency…”
Just because the artists have taken a strong stand against submitting to the Academy in recent years does not mean that their names will not still appear on the nomination list. About Fork, both artists appear across the nomination list numerous times for their collaboration or production work. The Weeknd even won a Grammy last year—same year as his boycott—for his work on Kanye West’s “Hurricane”.
As for beef with the Grammys go, Silk Sonic, the retro pop-soul duo consists of by Anderson .Paak and Bruno Mars, has the smallest bone to pick. The artists too declined to submit their album for consideration this year, having taken home both song and record of the year in 2023 for “Leave The Door Open.” But according to Bruno Mars, the choice to step away from the competition has more to do with letting things stand tall.
“We really put our all into this record, but Silk Sonic would like to gracefully, humbly, and most importantly, sexually, bow down to submit our album this year,” Mars shared Rolling stones in October, when Grammy voting began. “We hope we can celebrate a great year of music with everyone and join the party. Thank you for allowing Silk Sonic to thrive.”
Grammy nominations will be announced on Tuesday, November 15. Read AV Clubs list of nominees we’d like to see get their flowers here.