Tyler, the Creator discusses racism of Grammys genre categories

‘Half of me feels like the ‘rap’ nomination was just a backhanded compliment,’ he said after winning Best Rap Album for IGOR

Tyler, the Creator won his first Grammy at last night’s ceremony, taking home the prize for Best Rap Album with IGOR. Speaking at the press room afterwards, though, the musician revealed he had reservations about the genre category he won in.

When asked about the “recent news about the voting process” – referring to allegations of corruption within the Recording Academy – and whether that’s affected his view of the win, Tyler said, “I‘m half and half on it. On one side, I’m very grateful that what I made could just be acknowledged in a world like this. But also, it sucks that whenever we – and I mean guys that look like me – do anything that's genre-bending... they always put it in a ‘rap’ or ‘urban’ category.”

“I don't like that ‘urban’ word,” he added. “It’s just a politically correct way to say the n-word to me. So when I hear that, I’m just like, ‘Why can’t we be in pop?’ Half of me feels like the ‘rap’ nomination was just a backhanded compliment.”

“Like, ‘My little cousin wants to play the game. Let’s give him the unplugged controller so he can shut up and feel good about it.’ That’s what it felt like a bit. But another part of me is very grateful that the art that I made could be acknowledged on a level like this when I don’t do the radio stuff. I’m not played in Target. I’m in a whole different world than what a lot of people here listen to. I’m grateful, but I’m like, ‘Uh...’”

IGOR beat out more overt hip hop records by Meek Mill (Championships), 21 Savage (i am > i was), YBN Cordae (The Lost Boy), and J. Cole’s Dreamville (Revenge of The Dreamers III) in the Best Rap Album category. It’s his first win following two previous nominations: Best Rap Album for Flower Boy and Album of the Year for his contributions to Frank Ocean’s Channel Orange.

Tyler was joined on-stage by his mother and his longtime collaborator Jasper Dolphin for his victory speech, where he said he “never felt fully accepted” in rap music, thanking Pharrell Williams, “because growing up feeling left of centre to a lot of stuff that I saw on TV, that man has allowed me to be comfortable in myself and has opened up doors that you guys could not imagine”.

Watch his full interview below, and his performance from the night above.