Tyler, The Creator

Tyler, The Creator Says Grammy Win Feels Like ‘Backhanded Compliment’

Tyler, The Creator is celebrating his first Grammy win.

Last night, he took home the award for Best Rap Album for IGOR at the 62nd annual Grammys. During his acceptance speech, he thanked Pharrell and his mother, who joined him on stage. While speaking with reporters backstage, Tyler said he had mixed emotions about the win.

“I’m half and half on it,” he said. “On one side, I’m very grateful that what I made could just 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 or that’s anything, they always put it in a rap or urban category, which is–I don’t like that ‘urban’ word. That’s just a politically correct way to say the n-word to me.”

He added, “When I hear that, I’m just like, ‘Why can’t we just be in pop?’ Half of me feels like the rap nomination was a backhanded compliment. Like, ‘Oh, my little cousin wants to play the game, let’s give him the unplugged controller so he could shut up and feel good about it.’ That’s what it felt like a bit.”

However, he is still grateful to be recognized. “But another half of me is very grateful that the art that I made could be acknowledged on a level like this when I don’t do the radio stuff, I’m not played in Target, I’m in a whole different world than what a lot of people here listen to.”

Tyler also hit the Grammy stage for the first time for a fiery medley of IGOR hits, “EARFQUAKE” and “NEW MAGIC WAND,” featuring Boyz II Men and Charlie Wilson.

His fellow nominee Meek Mill congratulated him on the award along with his “boyfriend” Jaden Smith.

The L.A. native also paid tribute to Kobe Bryant, who died hours earlier in a helicopter crash. “That news was heavy, especially just being in L.A. and just being here at the Staples Center,” he said. “Within a short period of time between him and Nipsey—if you’re from Los Angeles and depending on what sector you’re in, like that shit is really, really heavy. We take an L tonight and rest in peace to Kobe, that hurt, but also we took a win just being from Los Angeles and taking that home. So it’s mixed emotions.”