Bruno Mars grabbed nearly all the Grammy’s including 3 of the Big Four Awards. He won Song of the Year for That’s What I Like, Record of the Year for 24k Magic, and Album of the Year for 24K Magic. Sure, Bruno Mars is talented and his singles off 24K Music are great, but there are better records nominated and more deserving to win.
For Song of the Year, the favored to win was Logic’s suicide awareness rap song ‘1-800-273-8255’. The song's name is the phone number for the U.S.’ National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (or NSPL). The song’s message is so powerful that since the song’s release, the NSPL experienced a 50% surge in the number of calls to their hotline. Logic’s song is so important in the psychology of mental health, its impact saved a lot of people. Mars’ ‘That’s What I Like’, on the other hand, is a just song where Mars narrates the things he likes.
For Record of the Year, any of the nominees could easily win, including of course 24K Magic. However, the most favored to win was Despacito. Yes, it’s an annoying song, overplayed and overrated but not one music journalist can deny that the song’s impact is great. The song alone achieved many milestones including being the first song primarily in Spanish to top the Billboard charts in years, the longest reigning number one hit ever, and its music video is the most viewed video on YouTube. More than a pop hit, Despacito had great impact in Latin music and even economic impact to the place of origin Puerto Rico where a 45% surge in tourists were recorded since the song’s release. Despacito is 2017 as Smells Like Teen Spirit was 1991 or I Want to Hold Your Hand was to 1964. Despacito was a huge and impactful pop hit that got everyone’s attention in 2017, while Mars’ 24K Magic was a simple catchy party song that wasn’t even released in 2017.
Now here’s the big one! Album of the Year. Jay-Z should’ve won this for his redefining album 4:44. That album, which has cemented Jay-Z’s legacy as the best in the game, will drive the cultural narrative of hip-hop in the future. In 4:44, Jay-Z discusses his role as a hip-hop icon, his infidelity with wife Beyoncé and how his actions affect his family and public image. The Jay-Z we knew since the late 90’s is the arrogant rapper who boasts that he’s got everything figured out. But in 2017’s 4:44, we meet a new Jay-Z, the vulnerable and self-aware kind, like we’ve never seen him, or any other rapper at all before. In 4:44 Jay-Z isn’t competing with the younger generation of hip-hop artists. Instead, he opens himself up and gives advice to young rappers in the game. As someone in the position of maturity, Jay-Z asserts to his listeners that in the hip-hop game, responsibility is more important than luxury, fame and money. 4:44 is like the album equivalent of a master handing out instructions to his student. 4:44 is reinventing hip-hop while 24K Magic is just a party album with a retro feel.
Don’t get me wrong. Bruno Mars is talented, his songs off 24K Magic are great. But there are better records nominated this year that deserved to win more. The Grammy’s picked Bruno Mars’ music because it’s the safest choice in the bunch. The problem with the Grammy’s is that they always award the trophies to the wrong people. Even last year. Adele had to break her Grammy for Album of the Year and gave half of the piece to Beyoncé who deserve to win that Grammy for Lemonade.