When the Juno nominations were announced on Tuesday, one of Canada’s most successful musicians was missing: Toronto’s very own Drake.
Released in June 2018, the double album dominated the Billboard Hot 100 music chart, with Drake smashing the record previously held by the Beatles. The Fab Four managed to get five simultaneous singles in the top 10 of the Hot 100 chart. Drizzy bested them with seven.
It’s unfortunate he chose not to submit, and hopefully, he will come back at some point.- Allan Reid, CEO of the Canadian Academy of Recording Arts
There’s a simple reason why Drake is missing from the Juno nominations: he never submitted his album for consideration. Again.
This is the second year in a row Drake passed on the Canadian music awards, Allan Reid, the president and CEO of the Canadian Academy of Recording Arts, which administers the Junos, confirmed to CBC News.
Last year, he chose not to submit his bestselling mixtape More Life.
“It’s unfortunate he chose not to submit, and hopefully, he will come back,” Reid said.
But Juno voters haven’t given Drake a lot of reasons to return.
You need to scroll down to 40th place on the list of top Juno winners to find Aubrey Graham, aka Drake, who has only seven wins and 33 nominations.
The actor turned rapper first popped onto Juno judges’ radar when he won new artist of the year in 2010. Since then, he’s gone on to win rap recording of the year four times.
But Juno’s more prestigious awards — artist, single and album of the year — have eluded him.
Then there was Drake’s notorious 2011 experience when he was nominated for six Junos while hosting the show in his hometown. The music academy put Drake in the spotlight, but when the show was over, he went home empty-handed while Shad’s album TSOL took home rap recording of the year.
Dalton Higgins, author of Far From Over: The Music and Life of Drake, remembers the night well.
He says it felt like a slap in the face to Drake and friends in the industry.
“It was also the first time in the 40 year history of the awards that a musician who agreed to host the show and had nominated music didn’t win at least one award,” he said in an email to CBC News.
A. Harmony, who covers hip hop for Exclaim magazine, says she isn’t surprised Drake has stopped submitting.
“It seems like a fruitless endeavour to submit your own album for an award that you know you’re probably not going to get again,” she said.
Hip hop doesn’t need the Junos
The last year Drake submitted an album to the Junos was for 2016’s Views. The record was packed with chart toppers such as One Dance and the meme-worthy Hotline Bling, but again, Drake went zero for five nominations.
The only prize he did receive was the international achievement award, created to celebrate global success, coincidentally re-established the year voters stiffed Drake again.
While Drake is ghosting Canada’s biggest music awards, hometown pride remains a big part of his brand. But A. Harmony doesn’t see a contradiction.
“I think it may be him redirecting his focus to the audience that actually cares about him. “
She says there’s a feeling in the hip hop community that Junos aren’t that relevant.
“It’s great to have that recognition, but it’s certainly not something that hip hop artists need in order to grow their platforms.”
WATCH | The video for In My Feelings, off Drake’s latest album, Scorpion:
Drake also snubbed Grammys in past
This isn’t the first time Drake’s had a beef with an awards show. In 2017, he decided not to submit More Life to the Grammys. Speaking with DJ Semtex in February, Drake talked about his frustration with being categorized as a rapper while he crooned on tracks like Hotline Bling and One Dance.
“I write pop songs for a reason,” he said. “I wanna be like Michael Jackson. I wanna be like artists that I looked up to — those are pop songs. But I never get any credit to that.”
Since that time, the Recording Academy, which gives out the Grammy Awards, has invited 900 new members in a drive to make the organization more inclusive.
While Drake hasn’t commented on recent changes to the Grammys, he did submit Scorpion for consideration. The album is up for seven awards, including best record, album and song of the year.
As for the Junos, Dalton Higgins says the organization is improving and actively reaching out to develop stronger ties with Canada’s hip hop community.
When it comes to Drake, Dalton Higgins isn’t optimistic. “I don’t see him ever returning. He got embarrassed