Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Tyler The Creator calls Igor’s Best Rap Album win a “backhanded compliment”

Illustration for article titled Tyler The Creator calls iIgor/i’s Best Rap Album win a “backhanded compliment”
Photo: David Crotty (Getty Images)

The Grammys are a mess. Just days before this year’s ceremony, Recording Academy CEO Deborah Dugan was unceremoniously ousted as reports swirled about her concerns over “voting irregularities” and “conflicts of interests” within the organization. Dugan then filed a lawsuit against her former employer, accusing it of covering up sexual harassment allegations. This all, of course, comes after the #GrammysSoMale controversy that consumed last year’s ceremony.

But it doesn’t stop there. During a pre-Grammy gala on Saturday, Sean “Diddy” Combs lambasted the organization while accepting the Salute To Industry Icons Award, saying, “Truth be told, hip-hop has never been respected by the Grammys. Black music has never been respected by the Grammys to the point that it should be… And that stops right now.”

In agreement with him is Tyler The Creator, who last night took home a Best Rap Album statuette for Igor. Backstage, Tyler told reporters that, historically, “the rap nomination is a backhanded compliment.”


“On one side,” he said, “I’m very grateful that what I make can be acknowledged in a world like this, but also it sucks that whenever we—and I mean guys that look like me—do anything that’s genre-bending, they always put it in a rap or urban category. I don’t like that ‘urban’ word; that’s a politically correct way of using the N-word to me. So when I hear that I’m just like, why can’t we just be in pop?”

Igor is, after all, much more of a pop album than a rap one. In our review, we noted its “dazzling… collage of shimmering Euro disco, heartsick pop melodies, and pitch-shifted call-and-response verses.” The Recording Academy’s lack of nuance in categorizing its more experimental nominees is glaring.

See the full list of winners here.

Randall Colburn is The A.V. Club's Internet Culture Editor. He lives in Chicago, occasionally writes plays, and was a talking head in Best Worst Movie, the documentary about Troll 2.

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