The late Pop Smoke is now a Grammy-nominated rapper, and the head of his record label has addressed claims that Pop's nod could in part be due to his passing. However, while speaking on the topic, he threw some shade at another rhymer that was nominated.
During an interview with GQ magazine, which was published on Wednesday (Nov. 25), Steven Victor, the head honcho at Victor Victor Worldwide, expressed that Pop's recognition isn't because he was tragically killed and that he should've been nominated for more than Best Rap Song for "Dior." Victor feels his beloved artist, who helped to amplify the Brooklyn drill rap scene, should've been nominated in either the Album of the Year, Rap Album of the Year or Best New Artist categories, instead of California rhymer D Smoke.
"Not to cut you off, but I think the Grammys is cap, bro. No disrespect, but who is D Smoke?," he begins. D Smoke, who won the Netflix hip-hop competition series Rhythm + Flow, hosted by Cardi B, Chance the Rapper and T.I., in 2019, received nods for Best New Artist and Best Rap Album for his February effort Black Habits.
"This is an artist—I’m not saying he started a genre, because he didn’t start drill music—but [Pop] bought drill music to the forefront and made it mainstream," Victor continues. "He had a huge impact. Forget about whether he passed away, his impact was felt way before that. He was going to be a superstar. His mixtape sold 40,000 records in its first week with no hit record. It’s not like 'Dior' was a hit when we put out the second mixtape. Most albums that come out and sell north of 25,000 their first week, there’s always a song driving those sales. To say that his impact is because he passed away, it’s cap. It’s not true."
"The top three albums this year are Lil Baby with 2.3 million records sold, that came out in January or February; the number two most sold album is Pop Smoke, and that came out in July, that’s 2 million records sold; and behind Pop is Weeknd, which came out in March," he tells the publication. "Weeknd, with 1.9 million records sold. So how does he not get nominated for Album of the Year or Rap Album of the Year or Best New Artist? This is his only chance to get nominated for these awards. So to me, the Grammys is cap. I don’t know who’s making these decisions."
Victor adds: "He should’ve been nominated for 'Dior' in more than one category, he should’ve been nominated for Best New Artist, he should’ve been nominated for Album of the Year, and he should’ve been nominated for Rap Album of the Year. He should’ve swept the whole thing. It doesn’t make any sense. That kid was incredibly talented, he gave his life to his music, and you can’t at least nominate him? I mean, I’m sorry this whole thing went left, but…"
The Grammys has definitely had their fair share of backlash over the last 24 hours or so following their announcement of the 2021 nominees.
The 2021 Grammy Awards is set to take place at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Jan. 31, 2021.
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