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Why you won't see Drake, The Weeknd, or Silk Sonic win Grammys for their albums this year

Drake, The Weeknd, and Silk Sonic had some of the biggest releases of the year, but don't expect to see them winning any major Grammy hardware come February

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Drake, The Weeknd, and Silk Sonic
Drake, The Weeknd, and Silk Sonic
Image: The A.V. Club, Photo: John Phillips/Theo Wargo/Rich Fury/Getty Images

If The Weeknd’s “Gasoline” was the synth anthem that kept you warm all winter, or Drake’s “Sticky” was stuck in your head all summer, don’t expect to see your personal favorites affirmed at the 2023 Grammys. Despite being behind some of the most notable releases of this eligibility period, neither Drake, The Weeknd, nor fellow favorites Silk Sonic will see their projects compete.

This isn’t due to a lack of recognition (although Drake’s Honestly, Nevermind did debut to middling reviews). Long story short: it’s because of the artists themselves. Both Drake and The Weeknd declined to submit their respective eligible albums—Honestly, Nevermind and Dawn FM—for consideration, continuing a pattern established in 2021, per Pitchfork.

Drake has long criticized the Grammys for, among other things, mislabeling his work. He skipped the 2017 show in protest of the Academy’s decision to nominate “Hotline Bling” in rap categories, despite Drake’s assertion it was a pop song. Drake also withdrew nominations for Certified Lover Boy and the single “Way 2 Sexy” in 2022; he had been nominated for Best Rap Album and Best Rap Performance, respectively.

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The Weeknd began his official Academy boycott the year before, in 2021, citing his massively successful After Hours album and its singles not receiving any nominations. “Because of the secret committees, I will no longer allow my label to submit my music to the Grammys,” he told The New York Times in a statement at the time. Before sharing an official statement, he has expressed his discontent with the shutout on Twitter, writing: “The Grammys remain corrupt. You owe me, my fans and the industry transparency...”

Just because the artists have taken a strong stance against submitting to The Academy in recent years doesn’t mean their names won’t still appear on the nominations list. Per Pitchfork, both artists appear across the nominations list numerous times for their collaborative or production work. The Weeknd even won a Grammy last year—the same year as his boycott—for his work on Kanye West’s “Hurricane.”

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As far as beef with the Grammys goes, Silk Sonic, the retro pop-soul duo comprised of Anderson .Paak and Bruno Mars, have the smallest bone to pick. The artists also declined to submit their album for consideration this year, after taking home both Song and Record of the Year in 2023 for “Leave The Door Open.” But per Bruno Mars, the choice to step away from the competition has more to do with leaving things on a high note.

“We truly put our all on this record, but Silk Sonic would like to gracefully, humbly and most importantly, sexually, bow out of submitting our album this year,” Mars told Rolling Stone in October, when Grammy voting began. “We hope we can celebrate with everyone on a great year of music and partake in the party. Thank you for letting Silk Sonic thrive.”

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Grammy Nominations will be announced on Tuesday, November 15. Read The A.V. Club’s list of nominees we’d like to see get their flowers here.