Drake made a surprise appearance at the 61st annual Grammy Awards, where he emerged from a backstage hideout to accept his award for Best Rap Song. But the 32-year-old rapper’s speech was even more of a surprise.
After winning the Grammy for Best Rap Song for his pop-rap hit “God’s Plan,” the artist, whose real name is Aubrey Drake Graham, threw subtle shade at the annual awards show and at the Recording Academy’s questionable track record with the hip-hop genre and artists of color, according to Page Six.
In his speech, Drake compared music to basketball, describing the recording industry as an “opinion-based sport, not a factual-based sport,” and he went on to tell his peers that they are already winners if people are singing their songs and buying tickets to their shows.
“This is a business where sometimes it is up to a bunch of people that might not understand what a mixed-race kid from Canada has to say,” the Canadian rapper said as he held his Grammy.
“Look, if there’s people who have regular jobs who are coming out in the rain, in the snow, spending money to buy tickets to your shows, you don’t need this right here. You already won.”
Amid his criticism of the prestigious music award, Drake’s speech was then cut off as the live broadcast cut to commercial, causing some viewers to wonder if it was a technical glitch or if Drake was intentionally silenced by the show’s producers.
In a statement to Variety, Sunshine Sachs public relations consultant Michael Samonte revealed that Grammy Awards producers did not intentionally cut off Drake but were instead under the impression that he had finished his speech because he paused before continuing with his remarks. Producers reportedly later spoke with Drake and offered to let him come back on stage to finish his thoughts, but the rapper declined, saying he had nothing more to add.
Last week, longtime Grammy producer Ken Ehrlich told the New York Times last week that Drake, Kendrick Lamar, and Childish Gambino had all been invited to perform at the 61st Grammy Awards but had declined to perform during the widely-watched event.
This is not Drake’s first Grammy Awards win. E! News notes that Drake was a 42-time nominee and three-time winner ahead of Sunday’s Grammys ceremony. But Drake has been a frequent no-show at the annual music event. Drake’s last appearance at the Grammy Awards was in 2013 when his album Take Care won Best Rap Album.
You can see Drake’s Grammy Awards speech below.