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Minaj originally submitted the track — which debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in August — to the rap categories at the Grammys, but the decision was overturned by the Recording Academy’s rap committee, according to a source. That group determined that Minaj’s playful and pop-sounding song sampling Rick James’ 1981 classic “Super Freak” should compete for best pop solo performance instead of rap awards.
Minaj criticized the decision on social media Thursday in an Instagram video post and a series of tweets. “They stay moving the goalposts when it comes to me,” Minaj said on IG about the academy. “Why is the goalpost only ever moved when it’s Nicki?”
Minaj also said if “Super Freaky Girl” must compete in pop, so should Latto’s “Big Energy,” which is pop-leaning and samples Tom Tom Club’s 1981 song “Genius of Love,” famously sampled by Mariah Carey for the No. 1 hit “Fantasy.”
“I have no prob being moved out the RAP category as long as we r ALL being treated FAIRLY,” she tweeted. “If SFG (Super Freaky Girl) has 2B moved out RAP then so does Big Energy! ANY1 who says diff is simply a Nicki hater or a troll.”
Latto’s “Big Energy” spent two weeks at No. 1 on Billboard’s rap chart and peaked at No. 3 on the all-genre Hot 100 chart. At the Grammys, “Big Energy” will compete for rap Grammys, not pop.
A representative for the Recording Academy did not reply to an email seeking comment.
Nominees for the 2023 Grammys will be announced on Nov. 15, and the live telecast will air on Feb. 5, 2023, on CBS. Voting for the first round of nominees begins Thursday and ends on Oct. 23.
Minaj has released a number of pop and hip-hop hits throughout the years that feature her rapping or singing — sometimes both on the same track. Her debut solo single, 2010’s “Your Love,” was pop-adjacent with its sample of Annie Lennox’s 1995 cover version of “No More I Love You’s,” and Minaj has released other pop-heavy songs like “Super Bass” and “Starships,” which Hot 97 radio host Peter Rosenberg famously dubbed “not real hip-hop” and caused Minaj to pull out of the station’s annual Summer Jam concert.
But of Minaj’s 10 Grammy nominations, she’s only competed in pop once — for best pop duo/group performance with “Bang Bang” alongside Ariana Grande and Jessie J. The majority of her Grammy nominations have been in rap, including best rap album for Pink Friday and The Pinkprint, best rap song for “Anaconda” and best rap performance for “Moment 4 Life” and “Truffle Butter.”
“Super Freaky Girl” is in similar company to Lizzo’s “Truth Hurts”: The singer-rapper’s breakthrough track topped Billboard’s rap chart for 13 weeks and eventually led the all-genre Hot 100 chart for seven weeks, but it didn’t compete in the rap categories at the Grammys. Instead, it was nominated — and won — best pop solo performance at the 2020 show.
Other songs that feature rap elements that have competed for best pop solo performance include Doja Cat’s “Say So,” which includes her singing and rapping, and Post Malone’s “Better Now,” which meshes hip-hop, alternative and pop sounds.
Collaborative songs that topped Billboard’s rap chart but competed for best pop duo/group performance at the Grammys include Iggy Azalea and Charli XCX’s “Fancy,” Wiz Khalifa and Charlie Puth’s “See You Again” and Lil Nas X and Billy Ray Cyrus’ “Old Town Road,” which won the honor in 2020.
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis were originally kicked out of the rap Grammys when the duo had a breakthrough with the hits “Thrift Shop” and “Can’t Hold Us” at the 2014 show. But that decision was later overturned — and heavily criticized — when the group swept the rap Grammys, besting Kendrick Lamar and others — a decision even Macklemore denounced. As a result, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis didn’t submit their sophomore album for Grammy contention at the 2017 show.
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