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XXXTentacion Was Reportedly Rejected From The Grammys’ ‘In Memoriam’ Tribute

‘Variety’ says the rapper’s unresolved domestic violence case played a role.

The Grammys' ‘In Memoriam’ segment draws controversy almost every year for the artists that aren’t included, and 2019 was no exception. Florida rapper XXXTentacion, who was murdered in June 2018, was notably absent from the tribute, and it seems that it wasn’t an accident.

According to a report from Variety, representatives for the rapper attempted to get X’s name included. Due to his high-profile domestic violence case, however, the Recording Academy opted not to feature him in the segment.

X, real name Jahseh Onfroy, reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart last year with his hit single, “SAD!,” and his album, ? (Question Mark), went Platinum. He was the most popular new artist on Genius in 2017 and the top indie artist by total consumption in 2018.

‎SAD! by XXXTENTACIONApple Music
‎Song · 2:46 min · 2018. Available with an Apple Music subscription. Try it free.

Last December, outgoing Recording Academy President Neil Portnow told Rolling Stone that the show was still debating whether to include X in the ‘In Memoriam’ tribute.

“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,“ he said. 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.”

At the time of his death, X was awaiting trial on multiple felony charges, including battery and aggravated assault of a pregnant victim, battery by strangulation, and false imprisonment. The case was dropped due to his murder, but subsequent recordings released by Pitchfork seemed to reveal X confessing to multiple violent crimes.

The rapper’s legacy has continued to inspire controversy months after his death. In late January, Lukas Graham removed its cover of “SAD!” from Spotify and apologized to fans after backlash due to X’s domestic violence case. Some of the rapper’s collaborators have also voiced concerns over the way his recorded vocals have been altered since his death.

X isn’t the only artist whose absence caused controversy. The daughter of Reggie Lucas—known for his work with Madonna and Miles Davis—also expressed frustration that her father wasn’t included:

As Pitchfork notes, artists like Buzzcocks’ Pete Shelley and Frightened Rabbit’s Scott Hutchison were also not included in the segment.

Read Variety’s full report here and catch up on all the lyrics to XXXTentacion’s “SAD!” on Genius now.

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