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Commentary: Grammys snub Kanye West’s ‘My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy’

Courtesy of MCT.

Grammy voters: I’mma let you finish, but “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy” is one of the best albums of all-time.

Yet, you neglected to recognize this.

The nominations for the 54th Grammy Awards, scheduled to take place Feb. 12, were announced Wednesday, with one glaring omission from the Album of the Year category: Kanye West’s “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy.”

Instead, Adele’s “21,” Foo Fighter’s “Wasting Light,” Bruno Mars’ “Doowops & Hooligans,” Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way,” and Rihanna’s “Loud” garnered nods in the category.

Yes, West’s critically acclaimed album — which was the best-reviewed album of 2010, according to review aggregator Metacritic.com — lost out to mediocre albums from Bruno Mars and Rihanna. (Just for some perspective, we’re talking about an album that got a rare perfect 10 from Pitchfork, which houses quite possibly the most pretentious music writers in the business.)

I’m not upset Adele got a nomination. In all reality, she’s a lock to win, and rightfully so. I’m not too upset over Foo Fighters and Lady Gaga getting a nod, either. Shafting arguably the best hip-hop album of the millennium, and quite possibly one of the best pop albums as well, however, in favor of Bruno Mars, is an absolute joke.

West can take solace in the fact that he received eight nods, which was the most of anyone. Apart for making for good headline fodder, nobody is really paying attention to that. People are talking about arguably the best album released in the time period eligible getting shafted.

There are three stumbling blocks that likely cost West a nomination. The first is that the album was released in December 2010, so it wasn’t exactly fresh in voters’ minds. It’s also possible that voters split votes between “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy” and “Watch the Throne,” the collaboration album he and Jay-Z released in August, though both albums were nominated in the Best Rap Album category. Sadly, it’s also possible that voters are still ticked about the incident with Taylor Swift at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards.

Still, none of those are particularly good excuses. “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy” is also one of the best pop albums of the last few years, so getting slighted for an Album of the Year nod is criminal. The fact that middling albums from Bruno Mars and Rihanna got love in its place is, frankly, an embarrassing reflection of Grammy voters.

You can say West is a jerk. I have no problem conceding that he is. But that doesn’t exclude his music from being recognized for awards it deserves. “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy” is one of the best mainstream hip-hop albums in recent memory, and to say it wasn’t one of the best albums of the last year is nothing short of laughable.

Given recent Grammy history, I guess I can’t be too shocked that legitimately great music is getting shafted. Apart from Arcade Fire rather shockingly winning Album of the Year this past year, the Grammys serve more as a pat-on-the-back for sales titans rather than critic’s favorites. But even then, “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy” was No. 1 the week it was released and has since been certified platinum, selling more than 1.2 million copies, so it’s not like we’re talking about an indie album here.

West’s “All of the Lights” did garner a Song of the Year nod, which is his highest-profile nomination, though he has virtually no chance to top Adele’s “Rolling the Deep.” Even then, it’s baffling that the song was nominated in a category that rewards the vocalist, but not the one that rewards production (Record of the Year), considering the track is one of the best-produced hip-hop songs in recent memory.

Still, West not getting any love for a truly great, transcendant album is laughable, and enough for me to decide not to tune in this year to this joke of an awards show.

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