For Discussion: Shouldn’t The Grammy’s Be Reflective Of What’s Popular In Society? Steve Stoute Thinks So…

- By Bossip Staff

Yesterday, former music executive Steve Stoute let loose a scathing letter to the Grammy committee chastising their use of today’s most popular artists to sell the award show, without properly crediting them with statues for the categories in which they are nominated.

Over the course of my 20-year history as an executive in the music business and as the owner of a firm that specializes in in-culture advertising, I have come to the conclusion that the Grammy Awards have clearly lost touch with contemporary popular culture. My being a music fan has left me with an even greater and deeper sense of dismay — so much so that I feel compelled to write this letter. Where I think that the Grammys fail stems from two key sources: (1) over-zealousness to produce a popular show that is at odds with its own system of voting and (2) fundamental disrespect of cultural shifts as being viable and artistic.

As an institution that celebrates artistic works of musicians, singers, songwriters, producers and technical specialists, we have come to expect that the Grammys upholds all of the values that reflect the very best in music that is born from our culture. Unfortunately, the awards show has become a series of hypocrisies and contradictions, leaving me to question why any contemporary popular artist would even participate. How is it possible that in 2001 The Marshall Mathers LP — an album by Eminem that ushered in the Bob Dylan of our time — was beaten out by Steely Dan (no disrespect) for Album Of The Year? While we cannot solely utilize album sales as the barometer, this was certainly not the case. Not only is Eminem the best-selling artist of the last decade, but The Marshall Mathers LP was a critical and commercial success that sold over 10 million albums in the United States (19 million worldwide), while Steely Dan sold less than 10% of that amount and came and went as quietly as a church mouse. Or consider even that in 2008 at the 50th Annual Grammy Awards, after going into the night as the most-nominated artist, Kanye West’s Graduation was beaten out for Album Of The Year by Herbie Hancock’s River: The Joni Letters. (This was the first time in 43 years that a jazz album won this category.) While there is no doubt in my mind of the artistic talents of Steely Dan or Herbie Hancock, we must acknowledge the massive cultural impact of Eminem and Kanye West and how their music is shaping, influencing and defining the voice of a generation. It is this same cultural impact that acknowledged the commercial and critical success of Michael Jackson’s Thriller in 1984.

What say you? Do you feel that the Grammy’s are representative of today modern pop culture?

Go to HipHopWired to read more of Stoute’s letter

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  • tyrone

    No the grammys is about talent and music quality, not popularity. Look at rihanna, popular but not real music

    • kelleykel09

      tru dat, tru dat!!!


      I BELIEVE THE GRAMMYS ARE ONLY GONNA GIVE THE BIGGEST AWARD TO MUSICIANS ESPECIALLY THE ONES THAT STUDIED MUSIC.. however he makes a good point they tease the public with popular artists to sale the show then end up giving the biggest awards these days to the less popular artists. most wouldnt tune in if the popular artists didnt show up.

    • Laura

      NICE NEWS !
      My friend Vanessa, a 25 yrs lady, has announced her wedding with a m’illionaire young man Ronald who is the CEO of a MNC. It’s amazing, she said she just posted her profile on a m’illionaire d’ating s’ite called ———-RichMatchmaker. ℃○M——– – and received his chat invitations a few days later. Then, everything went so well that I can’t believe it’s true! Every love story will unfold on it’s own..——-
      Uhm and how many Beyonces and Alicia Keys’ are there? And both of them DO have talent, so your comment kinda proved me right. I did not say that all popular artists are garbage. But more than often, the best ones are the ones that aren’t in the spotlight 24/7

  • uknoitsromaro


  • JustSaying

    Isn’t recognizing what’s “popular” for “The People’s Choice” awards?

    The Grammy is an industry award selected by Academy members. Just like any other industry award, merit is based on what those insiders/members think – good or bad, not what the customers think.

    Deal with it.

    Any award is based solely on the OPINIONS of whoever votes. Nothing more, nothing less.

  • me


  • kelleykel09

    i thought that was omar epps

    • nikki88

      glad i wasnt the only one…

  • Slide Like a Fresh Pair of Gators

    What say you? Do you feel that the Grammy’s are representative of today modern pop culture?

    I can’t call it…

    My musical “taste buds” just prefer hip-hop/rap and R&B = that’s it…

    For the most part I’m not into other genres of music and so I can’t fully a$$es the situation and tell you if some of these other acts are any good and more deserving of some of these Grammy’s or not…

    If I could appreciate other types of music than maybe, but at this time I can’t…

    Even though I don’t like Steve Stoute this Open Letter was pretty good and I respect it…

    But he’s a Snake and in my opinion, once a snake = always a snake… Shady a$$ n*gga…

  • nickelcitygirl

    That’s what the American Music Awards are for. The Grammy’s are held to a higher standard of talent and artistry.

    • mspeach

      but they had all the “lower standard” big name artists performing…Y if they are soooo above these artists????

  • tessa

    Buffalo butt needs to shut up whining because Beiber and Eminem dont even deserve grammy’s in my opinion. This guy should be trying to improve his industry with some talented artist instead of worrying about a stupid award. And to think this negro wasted good money for an ad just to defend Eminem.

  • daisy jay

    That’s not fair. We have other music award shows that base everything on “popular vote”.

    The Grammys is in a leauge of its own. There are too many TRULY talented artists out there and they deserve to be recognized. It’s easy to get people to vote for you, but true musical talent isn’t something that’s as common as having a decent voice. If the Grammys is based on popular vote, the ones that really deserve awards will be left in the dust and kept underground; never found.

  • daisy jay

    Don’t you realize that a lot of the best artists out there are ones most aren’t familiar with? Drake, Rihanna, and Bieber are forced on us nonstop. Promoted. The music audience today mostly consists of kids who haven’t even been exposed to real talent. So of course they were angry when Bieber didn’t win. What talent does Bieber have exactly? He has a decent voice, but his stage presence is boring. He has everybody doing everything for him. He is forced on us just like other generic mainstream artists. Just because they are selling, doesn’t mean they have real, genuine talent. You seriously think that the consumer searches for amazing talent when they listen to music? No. Overall it’s just about a song being catchy and having a nice beat. I’ve heard SO many people say that they only care about a nice beat. Those can be produced in any studio.

    Esperanza deserved that award, and I’ve never even heard of her. I don’t need to know everything about her and see her on tv nonstop to know that she’s got amazing music talent. Popular vote isn’t anything. That’s like saying Gucci Mane has musical talent because everybody is buying his music.

    Like I keep saying, the best of the best are the diamonds hidden in the dirt. Mainstream artists are flawed scraps of silver and gold.

  • tessa

    I disagree because I have seen many of the most popular artist win like Beyonce and Alicia Keys!


    Anything to further Th Hip Hop agenda. The Grammy Awards are an industry Award voted on by Members of The academy of Recording ARTS and SCIENCES! It is not meant to represent Pop culture,it is an award that is based on ARTISTIC merit. Many members of the Academy do not now and never will,recognize rap as an art. No rap album will ever win a best album award over a an actual MUSICIAN!Those who actually play instruments,read and actually write MUSIC will always be rewarded for doing so,over rappers. When rappers and Hip Hop producers move towards actually using more LIVE instruments as opposed beats made by computers,the Grammy voters,many who are actual MUSICIANS,will reward them for doing so.

  • daisy jay

    Uhm and how many Beyonces and Alicia Keys’ are there? And both of them DO have talent, so your comment kinda proved me right. I did not say that all popular artists are garbage. But more than often, the best ones are the ones that aren’t in the spotlight 24/7

  • no no no no no

    the grammys should be about good music period, and should have a weight to influence taste and showcase things that may be aren’t popular because the one’s doing them may not be as savvy business men as this man right here.
    It would be a terrible thing to do because that would mean the total flood of our ears with unidimensional music, autotunes and flashy light music.
    Yes we do appreciate the pop but its important that the Grammys remains a smart and eclectic awards. If it becomes a popularity contest it will have lost its power and say in today’s music. I DISAGREE with this man’s opinion. People admit you are happy to have discovered Esperanza Spalding and to feed your ears with some variety. And honestly, this guy this the same thing Kanye Did with the “excuse me taylor but Beyonce…” only with more tactic and diplomacy. its music!!! Enjoy the music!

  • The Professor

    @nickelcity girl-that’s the truth!!! If the grammys are going to be like the american music awards then what’s the point? The grammys were made to recognize ARTISTS like esperanza spaulding not entertainers like justin beiber. That is why they exist and why artists like stevie wonder,chaka khan and aretha franklin have so many of them.

    • mspeach

      then why are they promoting so heavily with popular artists????? thats all hes saying!!!! I didnt see that girl Esperanza name one time before that show aired … but i heard bieber and drake and rihanna… the grammys should recognize others but cut the crap stop using the big names for ratings leave that to American Music Awards than

  • mspeach

    still missing the whole point which is dont use the bigger artist for ratings to promote the show then snub these people…they still want to be acknowledge for their artistry too!!! I am happy its more unknowns out there and that are probably more talented and had better albums but its not fair to use the bigger names to draw people in then bait and switch thats what its like….none of them got anything???? its plenty of awards to go around…I agree I wouldnt go you not using my big name to get ratings then snub me its bogus at least give me 1 award

  • thesaneone

    this dude has got to be kidding me! steely dan is a musical icon…same with herbie hancock. popular music is recognized on the grammy’s but talent is also recognized. if it were a popularity contest, it would not be distinguished from the VMA’s, american music awards, bet awards, etc.

  • Ellimac25

    Performing at the Grammys is an honor in itself. Nobody who performed or won is complaining so why is this guy?

  • Hypocrites are here

    He’s full of &*^% If that were the case you’d have non-talented studio created musicians winning grammys left and right. While I admit that the grammys *&^%$ it up about 90% of the time, I ‘d hate to think what kind of message they would send to the REAL MUSICAL WORLD by letting the Justin Beibers win. Bad enough the Rhianna chick won!!!!

  • Hypocrites are here


    Don’t say “this girl no one is familiar with”. There are those of us who know who she is and have listened to her music. Because we don’t appreciate the bull&*^% thats shoved down our throats that you wanna call music today!!! Don’t get it twisted, people who listen to REAL MUSIC know who she is and WHY SHE WON!!!!!

  • denne

    The Grammy’s should be about GOOD music not popular music. That’s what the MTV awards are for..

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