Daddy Yankee, J Balvin, and Other Top Stars Accuse the Latin Grammys of Snubbing Reggaeton

They dominate the charts, yet remain mysteriously absent in major Grammy categories

Three of the biggest names in the Latin music industry–Daddy Yankee, Maluma, and J Balvin–are joining the voices criticizing this year’s Latin Grammys. The nominations, released this week, are taking heat for largely ingoring urbano, reggaeton, and Latin trap.

The stars have taken to social media to call out the Recording Academy for the snub, accusing the Academy of excluding a significant part of Latin music culture. This comes just as those artists, along with other artists like Bad Bunny, Nicky Jam, and Ozuna, are among the most popular and commercially successful performers of the moment, selling out stadium tours, dominating streaming services, and topping both Latin and “mainstream” music charts.

Puerto Rican musician Daddy Yankee, who is nominated this year, but only in the “Best Urban Fusion” category, posted an image of a Grammy with a giant red X marked across the prize with the caption, “Esto es cultura, credibilidad, pertinencia y RESPETO.” (“This is about culture, credibility, relevance, and RESPECT.”)

Colombian reggaeton artist J Balvin also posted the same image, writing “Por la cultura y el movimiento.” He is nominated twice this year, with two tracks in the “Best Urban Song” category. One of those songs is a collaboration with singer Rosalía. Notably, as a solo artist, Rosalía, who is from Spain, was nominated five times, including for “Record of the Year” and “Best Pop Song.”

She shares the spotlight in the biggest categories with another Spaniard, singer and composer Alejandro Sanz, who picked up eight nominations, including entries in “Record of the Year,” “Song of the Year,” and “Album of the Year.”  The top nominations were rounded out primarily with legacy artists including Juanes, Ruben Blades and Juan Luis Guerra.

“We respect and admire all the genres that compose the world of Latin Music,” the Recording Academy wrote in a statement responding to the controversy. “The Latin Recording Academy has followed a strict voting process for the past 20 years. The members, through their votes, select what they believe merits a nomination.”

The exclusion of urbano at the Latin Grammys is being observed as a parallel of the long-simmering criticisms over how the English-language Grammys recognize achievement in hip-hop.  Historically, rap artists have rarely been nominees or winners for top awards. Even genre-specific awards have been widely seen as bungled, such as the infamous 2014 episode in which “Best Rap Album” was presented to Macklemore for The Heist over Kendrick Lamar’s landmark Good Kid, M.A.A.D. City.

The 20th Annual Latin Grammys will be broadcast live on Univision on November 14 at 8 p.m.


RELATED: This Is Why Grammy Nominations Always Seem So Weird

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