Rapper XXXTentacion, who was murdered last June during an attempted robbery, was not included in the Grammys’ In Memoriam segment on Sunday night, a decision that was “daunting,” according to the Recording Academy president.
Although the rapper’s reps reportedly requested that the Academy include the rapper in its tribute, in part due to the success of his song “Sad!” in 2018, his domestic violence history may have figured in to the Academy’s decision not to include him, according to Variety.
After the nominations were announced in December, Rolling Stone asked Neil Portnow, Academy president whether the In Memoriam segment could include XXX, 20, of Florida. “I will tell you it’s a daunting challenge,” Portnow said in the article. “We track those that we lose in our industry in any given year and then we have a process by which we go through it. Our on-air in memoriam — we’re lucky if we wind up [featuring] 10 to 15 percent of those we lose. Because it’s always hard choices. All of that is to say, I don’t have any answers for you now, but obviously artists who were prominent and well-known by the public are people who are recognized and we’ll just wind up having to see how it plays out.”
XXXTentacion first came out in 2017 after he appeared on the cover of XXL Magazine’s influential “Freshman” issue alongside Kamaiyah, A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie, PnB Rock, MadeinTYO, Playboi Carti, Aminé, Kap G, KYLE and Ugly God, according to Variety. XXX won the fan vote to make the cover.
The rapper was embroiled in legal problems after he allegedly beat a girlfriend while she was pregnant. The controversy suggested the music industry not “co-sign,” or endorse his music.
Although XXX received a “hateful conduct” ban on Spotify following the domestic violence allegations, after he died, XXXTentacion received the top two spots on the Rap Caviar playlist, which included a tag at the top that read, “Rest In Peace, XXXTENTACION.”