Rap-Up TV: Jermaine Dupri Weighs In on Hip-Hop at the Grammys

Will hip-hop win big at this year’s Grammys? Kendrick Lamar is up for a near record-setting 11 awards at the annual ceremony, and other stars like Drake and Nicki Minaj are also raking in the noms. Despite this promise, though, Jermaine Dupri thinks hip-hop fans will be disappointed on Music’s Biggest Night.

“It’s always interesting to see rappers leading the Grammys because I never believe they’re gonna win,” JD told Rap-Up TV. “I think that it’s a good look now for the Grammys to have [rappers nominated]. The same thing that’s happening now with the [Oscars] happened with the Grammys where people were boycotting [like], ‘I’m not going.'”

The So So Def founder, who can currently be seen on Lifetime’s “The Rap Game,” might not be optimistic about rap’s Grammy chances, but he does see progress. “I think the Grammy board got cool enough and hip enough to be like, ‘You know what? We’re gonna nominate these guys and they’re gonna come. They’re still not gonna win though,'” he explained.

This opinion comes from experience. “I’ve been robbed a bunch of times,” added JD. “[Usher’s] Confessions got robbed. I didn’t win [Album of the Year] on Confessions. I didn’t win [Album of the Year] on [Mariah Carey’s] Emancipation of Mimi. So the Grammys is wild to me. These are two of the biggest albums of our decades and I didn’t win [Album of the Year] Grammy on either one of them.”

So So Def in the building @jermainedupri #RapUpTV

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Dupri has a long history with the Grammys. In 2004, he resigned from his post as president of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences’ Atlanta chapter after he felt the Grammys shunned his former girlfriend Janet Jackson due to her infamous wardrobe malfunction during that year’s Super Bowl.

“I felt like it didn’t really impact what was going on at the Grammys, but at the same time, somebody gotta take a stand,” he added. “Jada Pinkett-Smith taking a stand and Spike Lee taking a stand is the right thing to do because somebody has to do it.”

Pinkett-Smith and Lee have been outspoken about the lack of diversity at the Oscars. While JD saw the same issues at the Grammys, he does feel like change is possible.

“They should find out about the board of Oscars,” he explained. “I believe they have the same type of situation as the Grammys. The people at the Grammys always told me, ‘Jermaine, all your friends complain about the Grammys, but nobody wants to come in here and sit on the board and sit in the meetings to make sure that this record is nominated and this artist gets nominated.’ Maybe Spike Lee should try to get on the board of the Oscars, or Jada should get on the board of the Oscars so they can start curving this. If they don’t get inside of it, it’s never gonna change. Just them talking about it ain’t gonna change it.”

Despite all of this, JD still believes Kendrick will take home a few Grammys come Monday.

“I think out of 11, I give Kendrick like three or four,” he said. “If he wins more than that, then God bless him and a change of times is definitely here, but it don’t seem like that happens.”