While accepting the Dr. Dre Global Impact Award at the 2024 Grammy Awards on Sunday night, Jay-Z criticized the Recording Academy for never giving his wife Beyoncé the Album of the Year Award, despite her multiple Grammy wins and nominations.
The 54-year-old rapper took to the stage with his daughter, Blue Ivy, first thanking the award’s namesake Dr. Dre and the Black Music collective.
“It’s great to have an award for such an icon,” he said. “How far we’ve come since Will Smith and Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince, winning their first Grammy in ’89 and boycotting because [the award] wasn’t televised.” Jay-Z then joked that Smith and Jeff “went to a hotel and watched the Grammys … It wasn’t a great boycott.”
His speech then took a more serious tone as he appeared to address the Recording Academy directly. “I’m just saying, we want you all to get it right. We love y’all, we love y’all. We want you to get it right—or at least get it close to right,” he said. “And obviously, it’s subjective … because it’s music and it’s opinion-based, but some things … I don’t want to embarrass this young lady but she has more Grammys than everyone and never won Album of the Year. So even by your own metrics, that doesn’t work. Think about that. The most Grammys, never won Album of the Year.”
The camera then panned to Beyoncé. The singer is the most-nominated female artist in Grammys history, with 88 career nominations, and holds the most Grammy wins, with 32 awards. She has never won Album of the Year, despite being nominated in the category four times, losing previously to Taylor Swift, Beck, Adele, and Harry Styles. Out of the coveted Big Four categories—Best New Artist, Song of the Year, Record of the Year, and Album of the Year—Beyoncé has only won a Song of the Year Award, for “Single Ladies (Put a Ring On It)" in 2010.
The low-key disses continued. “Some of you are going to go home tonight and feel like you’ve been robbed,” Jay-Z said. “Some of you may get robbed, some of you don’t belong in the category”—a comment which earned gasps from the audience.
“When I get nervous, I tell the truth,” he added.
But the speech did end on a positive note from the rapper, culminating in a rapturous applause. “Just in life, you gotta keep showing up. Just keep showing up. Forget the Grammys. You gotta keep showing up, until they give you all those accolades you feel you deserve. Until they call you chairman. Until they call you a genius. Until they call you the greatest of all time.”
After his speech, Jay-Z poured a drink into his Grammy trophy and took a sip from it.
— Entertainment Tonight (@etnow) February 5, 2024
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