Rick Ross: 'The Rap Grammy Isn't in Touch'

Rick Ross
Ryan Muir

Rick Ross performs at The Fader Fort Presented by Converse, Saturday March 15th 2014

The Grammys might be out of touch with hip-hop, but is hip-hop even worried about it? Rapper Rick Ross, for one, said before the ceremony that the awards often fail to recognize the genre's top talents.

"The rap community doesn't feel like the rap Grammy is in touch. Not at all," he said of the award (which Eminem won this year). "This is music that powers from the streets up... If anything, in the rap categories, that's what should most definitely get recognized. Going to the root of it and not just certain artists, the Iggy Azaleas. I want to congratulate her on all her success, but that doesn't represent the community at large."

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Ross spoke to The Associated Press on Saturday before appearing at BMI's "How I Wrote That Song" panel at 1Oak nightclub, where he discussed songwriting with Mannie Fresh (who has written with Ross and Lil Wayne), Ester Dean (Katy Perry, Rihanna), David Hodges (Miranda Lambert, Kelly Clarkson) and Natalie Hemby (Lady Antebellum, Little Big Town). Ross said he most appreciates the Grammy Awards in the songwriting categories.

"I respect the Grammys, being a writer," he said. "But me being an artist representing hip hop? No."

Veteran hip-hop producer and performer Fresh says rappers have "this Grammy-curse thing and it's kind of unspoken."

"What it means is: If you get a Grammy, people kind of downplay you. Not (like you) really sold out, but it means your music is kind of watered down," he said. "And I've been nominated for Grammys. And believe me, if I would have won, I would have took it!"

At the same time, he said, winning a Grammy can make rappers suddenly seem too big for the neighborhood clubs they played before.

"If you get a Grammy, people kind of think you're out of reach, so it kind of hurts you in a way," Fresh said. "It's like, oh now he has a Grammy, he won't be coming back to this (small venue) again."