Drake rejects latest Grammy wins

Drake has accused the Grammy Awards of pigeonholing him as a rapper as he is black.
Drake has accused the Grammy Awards of pigeonholing him as a rapper as he is black.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

NEW YORK • Drake, the world's top-selling artist last year, has accused the Grammy Awards of pigeonholing him as a rapper because he is black and said he does not want his latest awards.

The biracial Canadian singer, who won in two rap categories for Hotline Bling at the gala this month, voiced dismay that his One Dance, which is the all-time most-streamed song on Spotify, was passed over for nominations.

For the Grammys, "I'm a black artist, I'm apparently a rapper, even though Hotline Bling is not a rap song," he told the OVO Sound Radio show in an episode that aired on Apple Music's Beats 1 station last Saturday.

"The only category that they can manage to fit me in is in a rap category, maybe because I've rapped in the past or because I'm black," said the artist, who rarely gives interviews.

The singer, who rose to fame in the hip-hop world, said his megahits were "pop songs - but I never get any credit for that".

"I want to be like Michael Jackson; I want to be like artists that I looked up to," he said.

"I won two awards, but I don't even want them because it feels weird to me," said Drake, who did not attend the Grammys, in part because he was touring Europe.

He sold more than any other act last year, according to the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry, or IFPI.

He had also been in contention for the Album Of The Year Grammy for his album Views. The award went to Adele's 25, and not the other favourite, Beyonce's Lemonade.

It was Beyonce's third loss for Album Of The Year, renewing charges in some circles that the awards have a racial bias.

Drake, whose father is black and whose mother is white and Jewish, took pride in being raised in the "cultural mosaic" of Toronto and said he never felt like an outsider until he spent time in the United States.

"The first time I really experienced it was when I got famous and went to America," he said.

"People would challenge me, like I don't understand how it works, or like, 'You're Canadian, you'll never understand the black American struggle.'"

Drake has rarely been political, but recently made headlines when he attacked US President Donald Trump's anti-immigration policies during a concert in London.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 22, 2017, with the headline 'Drake rejects latest Grammy wins'. Print Edition | Subscribe