As an artist who just won his fourth Grammy last night and has taken home nearly 200 awards throughout his prolific rap career, Drake offered an unexpectedly different view on the significance of such awards during his acceptance speech.
When “God’s Plan” is announced as the winner for Best Rap Song, Drake is the only artist that makes his entrance from backstage, as if he fully expected to win. Yet, he initiates his speech as most champions do, by humbly declaring that he didn’t believe he would. And while he looks at the golden trophy with admiration and appreciation, Drake proceeds to make it clear that being the recipient of such prestigious awards does not define the artist.
In a powerful message to the underdogs in music and aspiring artists, he points out how the Grammys and other award shows are based on popular opinion and operate as a business, which often snubs the artists who are perhaps the most authentic.
“I wanna take this opportunity while I’m up here to just talk to all the kids that are watching this that are aspiring to do music, all my peers that make music from their heart, that do things pure and tell the truth. I wanna let you know we’re playing an opinion-based sport, not a factual-based sport. So it’s not the NBA where at the end of the year you’re holding a trophy because you made the right decisions or won the games.”
He continued, “Look, the point is, you’ve already won. If you have people who are singing your songs word for word, if you’re a hero in your hometown — look, look — if there’s people who have regular jobs, who are coming out in the rain, in the snow, spending their hard-earned money to buy tickets to come to your shows? You don’t need this right here. I promise you. You already won.”
And yes, Drake’s incredibly honest speech was cut short, which has led to conspiracies that the Grammy producers were purposely attempting to conceal the truth. While it’s clear that the Recording Academy wouldn’t be particularly satisfied with an influential artist deeming their sparkling, golden gramophone as insignificant, multiple other artists of the night, including Dua Lipa and H.E.R., had their acceptance speeches limited as well due to the program’s time restraints. Regardless, the bulk of Drake’s potent message was allowed to be heard, and it was certainly well-received.
Drake doesn’t encourage aspiring musicians to strive to have countless awards attached to their name, but urges them to continue producing music that speaks their own truth, whatever that may be. Because ultimately, true fans applaud artists for their music rather than status. And conversely, true artists understand that such awards will never define or influence the music that they create.