The Toronto rapper had been up for two awards — Best Rap Album (for Certified Lover Boy) and Best Rap Performance (for “Way 2 Sexy”). However, Variety reports that Drake’s name has been removed from both categories at the request of the artist and his management.
The Recording Academy will not replace Drake’s name on the ballot – presumably since voting is already under way — but will instead move forward with only four nominees in the two categories.
Best Rap Album nominees include J. Cole’s The Off-Season, Nas’ King’s Disease II, Tyler the Creator’s Call Me If You Get Lost, and Kanye West’s Donda. Meanwhile, the finalists for Best Rap Performance are Baby Keem and Kendrick Lamar’s “Family Ties,” Cardi B’s “Up,” J. Cole’s “MY .LIFE,” and Megan Thee Stallion’s “Thot Shit.”
It’s not immediately clear why Drake pulled his name from consideration, but the rapper does have a long and contentious history with the awards show. He previously boycotted the Grammys in 2017 due to the lack of diversity among its nominees. Two years later, at the 2019 Grammys he publicly rebuked the Recording Academy during his acceptance speech for Best Rap Song. “We play in an opinion-based sport, not a factual-based sport,” Drake said at the time. “The point is, you’’e already won if you have people who are singing your songs word for word, if you’re a hero in your hometown. Look, if there’s people who have regular jobs who are coming out in the rain and snow, spending money to buy tickets to your shows, you don’t need this right here. You already won.”
Drake’s longtime frenemy, The Weeknd, launched his own boycott of the Grammys after being shut out of the 2021 awards despite releasing one of the most critically-lauded, commercially-successful albums of the last decade in After Hours.