And Finally Artist News Awards Beef Of The Week

CMU Beef Of The Week #286: Cash Money v Drake

By | Published on Friday 11 December 2015


The Grammy Awards nominations came out this week. And those who could be bothered to trawl through all 83 categories noted that there were a few omissions.

That’s the way awards work, of course. Not everyone can be nominated for an award. Even at the Grammys, where it seems to have been specifically designed so that everyone gets a crack. Some people reckon Eagles frontman Don Henley and his ‘Cass County’ album were pretty roundly snubbed, but he’s still got a nomination for Best American Roots Song.

But there was one song missing from the list in its entirety that everyone noticed: Drake’s ‘Hotline Bling’.

How could this be? A song that has done so well this year (and particularly in the US) that, even if you haven’t actually heard the track itself, you’ll almost certainly be aware of the memes drawn from its video.

Denying that there had been an intentional snub, a rep for the Recording Academy told Forbes that ‘Hotline Bling’ had never been submitted for consideration by its judges. This led the magazine to speculate at length that this was a strategic move by Drake.

“The fact that Drake released so much music in 2015 may actually hurt his chances at the Grammys, and that’s likely the reason why he didn’t even bother to submit ‘Bling’ for consideration”, wrote Forbes contributor Hugh McIntyre. “Drake had a massive year, and Grammy voters are very aware of this, and it will be on their minds as they choose who they believe deserves the final recognition. By submitting only a few options, Drake is funneling all of his supporters to one destination: him winning another award”.

It’s certainly true that Drake has plenty of other Grammy nominations, despite not submitting ‘Hotline Bling’ – Best Rap Performance, Best Rap Song, Best Rap Album, and two nods as a featured artist on Nicki Minaj tracks – but if this was part of a strategy it doesn’t seem to have entirely paid off.

Surely he would have been holding out for the Record Of The Year and Song Of The Year categories, rather than all genre specific classifications. I think Drake would probably consider himself bigger than rap now. Also, he faces some stiff competition. 2015 may have been Drake’s year in the world of rap, but that’s an argument he’s going have to have with Kendrick Lamar (who has the President of the USA on his side, remember).

If the strategy really was to focus the voting, power ahead and win awards, a better strategy would have been to just submit ‘Hotline Bling’ and ignore everything else he’s put out this year. Which is why an alternative explanation for its absence from the Grammy proceedings would seem a little more likely.

“Drake’s massive ‘Hotline Bling’ was not submitted due to a clerical error on the part of label Cash Money”, wrote Hits Daily Double. “That huge hit might well have been a multiple-category contender but for this goof”.

I’m not sure what that clerical error would entail. “Oh, hey, I was totally going to submit our biggest track of the year to the Grammys, but then I got distracted watching Drake play tennis”. To be fair, that Vine is pretty mesmerising. I just watched it about 30 times on a loop when I went to grab the link. So maybe it’s excusable that the song wasn’t put forward.

Although, as Fuse points out, when the deadline for submissions for the awards came round at the end of August, the track wasn’t yet the all encompassing phenomenon we know today, rather it was languishing fairly low on the Billboard Hot 100, clawing its way up to number 57 a month after its release.

It wasn’t until a month later that its slow rise up the chart saw it break into the top ten at number nine, rising to four the week the video was released and then peaking at number two a couple of weeks later, where it stayed for a month.

Maybe Cash Money expected the video to push the track through the roof all along, and in its excitement about what was about to happen completely forgot to sign it up for inevitable Grammy recognition. Or maybe with the track only just appearing in the charts after a month, as the Grammy deadline loomed, everyone involved was embarrassed about how it had all gone and just hoped we’d all forget it and move on.

We may never know, but in lieu of a Grammy trophy for ‘Hotline Bling’, I hereby present Drake with the coveted CMU Beef Of The Week commemorative dinner service. Drake will now perform a celebratory dance: