Music News

9 Unforgivable GRAMMY Snubs We’ll Never Forget

January 23, 2015 12:27 PM

It’s safe to say that, for some artists, their music career isn’t validated until a GRAMMY gets placed on their mantle.

Yes, they may be #1 on the Billboard charts or receive a ton of radio play, but GRAMMY recognition is the crème de la crème for the music industry. Just to be nominated is an honor, but it really stings when an artist gets snubbed for an award they obviously deserved.

Listed below are some of the most shocking GRAMMY snubs of all time! Try not to flip any furniture over while scrolling through this list.

Best Rap Album: 2014


Winner: Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, The Heist
Snubbed: Kendrick Lamar, good kid, m.A.A.d city; Kanye West, Yeezus

You know the snub is serious if the winner thinks he didn’t deserve the award.

Macklemore took it to social media by posting a series of texts between himself and Kendrick to Instagram. We all do agree that Kendrick Lamar was snubbed from all of the categories he was nominated in, but let’s remember that Kanye too was snubbed for Yeezus.

“Imma let you finish, but I had the best rap album of 2013!”

Album of the Year: 2001


Winner: Steely Dan, Two Against Nature
Snubbed: Eminem, The Marshal Mathers LP

2000 was the year for boy bands, girl groups, and alternative rock bands. However, there’s no denying Eminem as a prominent artist of the 00s. Releasing a controversial album that called out his family, rivals, and his rise to fame, Eminem created an autobiographical album opening up to listeners.

But SOME PEOPLE didn’t think so.

Best Rock Song: 1993


Winner: Eric Clapton, “Layla (Unplugged)”
Snubbed: Nirvana, “Smells Like Teen Spirit”

Let’s get this out of the way: CLAPTON IS GOD (confirmed by graffiti; Eric Foreman and Hyde from That 70s Show). “Layla” is an amazing song and his Unplugged album was phenomenal, at times bringing us to tears. But Nirvana — their album Nevermind and its lead single “Smells Like Teen Spirit” — caused a seismic shift in the music world.

Nirvana was SNUBBED BY GOD.

Best Rap Performance Duo or Group: 1992


Winner: D.J. Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince, “Summertime”
Snubbed: Public Enemy, “Apocalypse 91… The Enemy Strikes Black”

♫In West Philadelphia, born and raised, the duo stole a GRAMMY and Public Enemy wasn’t amazed♫

This wasn’t the first time Public Enemy got snubbed, nor would it be the last. The groundbreaking artists were nominated every year from 1990 through 1995, not winning a single award.

Album of the Year: 1980


Winner: Christopher Cross, Christopher Cross

With all due respect to “Sailing,” Mr. Cross, you are not in the same league as Barbra Streisand (Guilty), Billy Joel (Glass Houses), Frank Sinatra (Trilogy: Past Present Future), and Pink Floyd (The Wall).

Best Contemporary (R&R) Recording: 1967


Winner: The New Vaudeville Band, “Winchester Cathedral”
Snubbed: The Beatles, “Eleanor Rigby”

You can’t really justify The Beatles being snubbed. But if it eases the pain, the Beach Boys and their seminal hit “Good Vibrations” was also snubbed.

Wait. Nope, still hurts.

Best Rap Solo Performance: 1998 & 1999


Winner: Will Smith, “Men in Black”/”Gettin’ Jiggy wit It”
Snubbed: The Notorious B.I.G., “Hypnotize”/Jay-Z, “Hard Knock Life”

A double dose of snub… Big Willie Style, versions 2.0 and 3.0!

Look, we love Will Smith on the big screen. We’ll fork over $12.50 to see him in theaters any day. But Smith is the all-time GRAMMY snub beneficiary. First it was in 1992 (SEE ABOVE). Then he went back-to-back in ’98 and ’99, thwarting two of hip hop’s greats: Biggie and Hov.

Yes, Men in Black was a cool movie (with a catchy song) and we LOVE gettin’ jiggy with it at holiday parties — but those two comical, good time tunes can’t stand up against “Hypnotize” and “Hard Knock Life.”

Best Hard Rock/
Metal Performance Vocal or Instrumental: 1989


Winner: Jethro Tull, Crest of a Knave
Snubbed: Metallica, …And Justice for All

This is a big slap to the face for the hard rock/metal genre overall. If it weren’t for legendary metal rock bands such as Black Sabbath and Metallica, a category such as this wouldn’t even exist.

Cracked summarized appropriately: “Black Sabbath pretty much invented heavy metal, but most agree that Metallica perfected it, and spawned a whole genre of imitators.” And, yeah, we don’t know if having a flute would fit the metal image.

Album of the Year: 2008


Winner: Herbie Hancock, River: The Joni Letters
Snubbed: Kanye West, Graduation

Don’t get it twisted: Herbie Hancock is an unbelievably talented musician. His resume and longevity are proof of that. But Kanye West is as well. Album of the Year is always a battle between genres, but it’s important to remember that the GRAMMYs, aside from lifetime achievement awards, celebrates contemporary music. At the 50th Annual Grammy Awards in 2008, it was Hancock’s jazz versus West’s hip hop — and the jazz record that no one but a few “experts” listened to won over a groundbreaking hip hop record.

Was Graduation groundbreaking? Yes. If you remember, West’s third studio album was up against 50 Cent’s Curtis in a “friendly” wager to see who could sell more copies. Graduation easily outsold Curtis, proving that slick production and careful songwriting trumped street credibility, shattering the hardcore-gangster mold that shaped hip hop for so many years. It was truly a watershed moment, opening the doors for superstar artists like Drake.

While West usually ends up on the wrong end of GRAMMY snubs, let us not forget that he has WON 21 GRAMMY Awards — more than any other artist EVER. So, let’s not feel too bad for the guy.

There are many more snubs, but these are what we think are the snubbiest of the snubs. If you have any more snubs, let us know and comment below!

The 57th Annual GRAMMY Awards take place on February 8, 2015 from the Staples Center in Los Angeles and broadcast live on CBS. Follow all of our GRAMMY coverage during the lead up to music’s biggest night right here on!

~ E.J. Judge / Allyza Umali, CBS Local

More From WCBS-FM 101.1

Big Show PodcastScott Shannon Weekly Podcast
Sunday 7am-11amScott Shannon's new show featuring artist interviews, song countdowns, one-hit-wonders and commentary from Scott.

Listen Live