Tyler, the Creator has won his first ever Grammy Award for his 2019 LP, Igor.
Despite being a multi-faceted work of funk, neo-soul, R&B and hip hop, Igor was nominated in the Best Rap Album category. There is rapping on the album, but Tyler’s soul and R&B melodies are its central focus.
Although visibly thrilled to receive his first Grammy, Tyler expressed reservations about the particular award he was given.
“I am very grateful that what I made can be acknowledged in a world like this… but it sucks that whenever we – and I mean guys that look like me – do anything that’s genre-bending or anything they always put it in a rap or urban category,” he said in a post-awards press conference.
Watch: Tyler, the Creator’s Backstage Interview
Drake offered similar criticisms after ‘Hotline Bling’ won the Grammy for Best Rap Song in 2017.
“I’m apparently a rapper, even though ‘Hotline Bling’ is not a rap song. The only category 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,” he said on Apple’s OVO Sound radio show.
“I feel almost alienated, or [like they’re] trying to purposely alienate me by making me win rap awards or pacify me by handing me something and putting me in that category because it’s the only place where you can figure out where to put me.”
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Tyler precisely echoed these remarks in his post-Grammys interview. “I don’t like that ‘urban’ word,” he said. “It’s just a politically correct way to say the N-word, to me. So when I hear that, I’m just like, ‘why can’t we just be in pop?’ So I felt like… half of me feels like the rap nomination was a backhanded compliment.”
Igor won the award over other nominees Meek Mill (Championships), 21 Savage (i am > i was), YBN Cordae (The Lost Boy), and Dreamville (Revenge of The Dreamers III). The musician’s mum came up onstage with him to accept the award. Tyler, the Creator also performed at the ceremony.