It has recently been announced that Run-D.M.C. will be awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award at this year’s 58th annual Grammy Awards. Originally hailing from Queens, the trio is comprised of Joseph “Run” Simmons, Darryl “D.M.C.” McDaniels and the late Jason “Jam Master Jay” Mizell, who passed away October 30, 2002. Rev. Run, or DJ Run, was prominently featured during his 2005 stint with MTV, as shown in his popular reality show, Run’s House. Upon hearing the news, he took to Twitter immediately, and Tweeted: “I just got a call from the Grammys!! They shocked me!! We’re the first rappers to get this award!! Shocked! Grateful!. God is good!!! I’m so honored to be a #GRAMMYs Lifetime Achievement Award recipient this year. Thank you to the Recording Academy!”
Back when the rap category was non-existent at the Grammy’s, Run-D.M.C.’s 1986 album, Raising Hell, garnered a nomination for Best R&B Vocal Performance. Despite the snub, Run-D.M.C. still found commercial success by way of hit singles like “My Adidas”, “It’s Tricky” and rock-infused “Walk This Way”. Over 25 years later without any wins, the group will be recognized for their contributions via the Lifetime Achievement Award. Other Lifetime Achievement Award recipients for this year include Earth, Wind & Fire, Celia Cruz and Herbie Hancock.
This surprising news is definitely noteworthy, given that many influential hip hop artists in the past have been continually ignored completely. Let’s look towards Ice Cube, whose solo work or with N.W.A. was skipped over entirely. However, the Grammy’s are certainly no measurement of success by any means. Cube boasts five number one slots on the Top Hip Hop/R&B Albums Charts, while his recent biopic Straight Outta Compton raked in over 161 million in domestic gross totals. His thoughts on the Grammy snubs? “I ain’t got one, and I still feel good about myself,” he told Billboard magazine last year. Cube isn’t alone, Ice-T has also amassed commercial success and made the segway into film and TV, while iconic rapper LL Cool J is returning for the 5th year as host for the Grammy’s.
Hip hop fans have been rightfully dubious of the recurring trends from each year’s Grammy results. Take a look back at the 2014 Grammy Award results, and it’s clear that controversy still reigns supreme. Macklemore and Ryan Lewis swept multiple categories, including Best Rap Album, Best Rap Song, Best Rap Performance and Best New Artist, while Kendrick Lamar left empty handed. The list is practically endless, with artists like 2Pac, Biggie, Nas, KRS-1, Talib Kweli, generating zero wins. Big ups to Run-D.M.C. for the award, yet fans can only hope that this marks a step in the right direction towards ending the marginalization of hip hop artists at the Grammy’s.