Jay-Z, who once boycotted the Grammys as
biased against hip-hop, was hailed Saturday by
the music industry’s power brokers ahead of the
latest awards where he leads nominations.
The rapper who rose from a broken home to
become a hip-hop multimillionaire was contrite
over his previous attacks on the Grammys when
he accepted a prize as an “industry icon” at a
pre-award gala thrown by veteran music
executive Clive Davis.
Jay-Z refused to attend the Grammys in 1999
because the Recording Academy which
administers the awards snubbed fellow rapper
He stayed away, upset at the lack of recognition
for hip-hop, until coming in 2004 with wife-to-be
Beyonce, who joined him on Saturday.
“I realize like, man, art is super subjective and
everybody is doing their best and the Academy,
they are human like we are,” Jay-Z told the
packed ballroom in New York’s Times Square.
“We can pretend we don’t care, but we really
care,” he said of Grammy recognition.[tooltip id=”4500c2f113202943ff1ae30d00c9d4ac”] [/tooltip]“We care
because we see the most incredible artists stand
on that stage and we aspire to be there.”
A who’s who of top artists performed in Jay-Z’s
honour, with soul legend Gladys Knight singing
her classic “Midnight Train to Georgia” and Luis
Fonsi dancing through his viral hit “Despacito.”
Alicia Keys weaved Jay-Z’s songs from “Hard
Knock Life (Ghetto Anthem)” to their
collaboration “Empire State of Mind” into a piano
medley, in which she raised her hands and led a
chant of the rapper’s nickname Hov.
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