Jay-Z Explains Why He Ended His Six-Year Grammys Boycott

It has a little something to do with his wife.

Jay-Z boycotted the Grammy Awards between 1998 and 2004, and if you didn’t know why, he’s letting you know now.

During Clive Davis’ Pre-Grammy Gala at the Sheraton Time Square on Saturday, Hov explained what drove him away from the annual music awards event. Interestingly, it had little to do with himself.

“I’m gonna say a lot of things tonight, but it’s all coming from a place of honesty,” he said while accepting the 2018 Salute to Industry Icons Award. “My introduction to the Grammys were, aside from seeing them on TV and seeing Quincy Jones and Michael Jackson and Stevie Wonder and all those guys inspiring [me] to do what they did, was 1998.

“I had an album called Vol. II. You like that album? And I was nominated for some awards,” he continued. “There was another guy. His name was DMX, and he had released two albums the same year, they did like 900,000…The same year, he had released two albums, and he wasn’t nominated for any Grammys.

“I actually boycotted the Grammys that year,” Jay said, while reminding everyone that he didn’t attend the awards again until 2004, “when a beautiful young lady, whom I love dearly, had a solo album, and it was the breakout — she was nominated. My first time coming back, six years later, [was] for the Crazy in Love album with the beautiful Miss Beyoncé.”

He says the awards were just hardware and recognition from a group of people who voted. It didn’t seem to matter much to Hov.

“I realized, man, all this is super subjective, and everyone’s doing their best, and the Academy—they’re human, like we are, and they’re voting on things that they like; it’s subjective. And we believe in it because we do.

“We can pretend that we don’t care, but we really care—we care because we see the most incredible stand on those stage, and we aspire to be that,” he continued. “So I realized: I had to be there. That is the idea, for us to all get involved and to push this thing further.

“No matter what happens at the Grammys, it’s going to be what it is: Bob Marley‘s gonna be Bob Marley whether he’s nominated for a Grammy or not. Tupac is gonna be Tupac. Biggie is gonna be Biggie,” he added. “That’s true. But in this industry, we have to… the things that we hold and we love and we treasure, that we respect, we have to get involved. I stand here on the shoulders of all the beautiful people.”

Jay-Z is nominated for eight Grammys, including nods for “Album Of The Year,” “Song Of The Year,” and “Record Of The Year,” among others.

Oh yeah, and something else dope happened at the Pre-Grammy Gala.

Perhaps fittingly, Beyonce was named by Clive Davis as the “First Lady of Music.” Quite an honor from such a legend.

See how that transpired below.

Latest News

Subscribe for BET Updates

Provide your email address to receive our newsletter.

By clicking Subscribe, you confirm that you have read and agree to our Terms of Use and acknowledge our Privacy Policy. You also agree to receive marketing communications, updates, special offers (including partner offers) and other information from BET and the Paramount family of companies. You understand that you can unsubscribe at any time.