Surprisingly, one of the artists leaving the 64th Annual Grammy Awards with a new piece of hardware was The Weeknd. The singer (b. Abel Tesfaye, 32) is not a fan of the Recording Academy after they completely shut out his After Hours album, but that didn’t stop the Academy from awarding him Best Melodic Rap Performance. The Weeknd won for his contributions to Kanye West’s “Hurricane,” a track off of Ye’s Donda that also features Lil Baby. Neither the Weeknd nor Ye, 44, were on hand to collect the award, which was handed out in a ceremony before the Apr. 3 broadcast.
Does this win mean all is good between The Weeknd and the Grammys? Probably not. After the 2021 Grammys completely ignored After Hours and the commercially and critically successful hit, “Blinding Lights,” Abel announced he was done. “Because of the secret committees,” the Weeknd told The New York Times in March 2021, “I will no longer allow my label to submit my music to the Grammys.” He previously likened the snub to a “sucker punch,” an “attack” that left him feeling confused. “I just wanted answers. Like, ‘What happened?'” he told Billboard. “We did everything right, I think. I’m not a cocky person. I’m not arrogant. People told me I was going to get nominated. The world told me. Like, ‘This is it; this is your year.’ We were all very confused.”
Since that snub, The Weeknd has released Dawn FM, and while the album hasn’t spawned a megahit like “Blinding Lights,” it sits at 88 on Metacritic. However, don’t expect it to get any nods at the 65th Grammy Awards. “The trust has been broken for so long between the Grammy organization and artists that it would be unwise to raise a victory flag,” he told Variety in May 2021. “I think the industry and public alike need to see the transparent system truly at play for the win to be celebrated, but it’s an important start. I remain uninterested in being a part of the Grammys, especially with their own admission of corruption for all these decades. I will not be submitting in the future.”
“Hurricane” beat out J.Cole and Lil Baby’s “Pride Is The Devil,” Doja Cat’s “Need To Know,” Lil Nas X and Jack Harlow’s “Industry Baby,” and “WusYaName,” by Tyler The Creator (ft. Youngboy Never Broke Again and Ty Dolla $ign). Ye also won Best Rap Song for “Jail,” his track with Jay-Z, adding to his growing list of Grammy wins. The controversial rapper lost Best Rap Album to Tyler, The Creator (Call Me If You Get Lost), and Donda failed to claim Album of the Year, losing out to Jon Batiste’s We Are. Ye was scheduled to perform at the Grammys but was pulled from the show over his social media attacks on Kim Kardashian and Pete Davidson.