If the question is if the Grammys have come a long way in the last decade —since Jay-Z boycotted the show because he felt they didn’t respect hip-hop— their latest announcement would seem to indicate the answer is yes.
Slated to take place on February 12, the 54th annual awards will be hosted by LL Cool J, according to reports.
“I’m thrilled to be part of Music’s Biggest Night,” the veteran rapper said in a statement. “I will always have fond memories of my first Grammy Awards and to now be hosting the Grammy show, in the company of so many other incredible artists, is a dream come true.”
A two-time winner himself, LL has hosted the Grammy nominations show since 2008. He will be the official show’s first host in seven years.
Back in 2002, Hov spoke on his issues with music’s most revered award show. “I didn’t think they gave the rightful respect to hip-hop,” he told MTV News ten years ago, explaining a boycott that had been in place since 1999.
“It started that they didn’t nominate DMX that year,” he continued. “DMX had an incredible album. He didn’t get a nomination. I was like, ‘Nah, that’s crazy.’”
In the time since, however, it seems as if things have changed. Leading the nominations this year is Kanye West, who earned seven nods (many of them for his Watch The Throne work with Jiggaman); Lil Wayne and Nicki Minaj each snagged five noms, while 40% of the Best New Artist category is occupied by hip-hop, thanks to acknowledgements for Nicki and J. Cole.
The Grammys are set to air on Sunday, February 12 at 8 p.m. on CBS. —Adam Fleischer