Grammys 2015: Eminem, the rap category favorite who gets a free pass

Grammys 2015: Eminem, the rap category favorite who gets a free pass
Eminem is the most honored rap artist in the Grammy category's history. (Pierre Andrieu / AFP / Getty Images)

He won top honors over other, more relevant acts. He represents the tastes of older Recording Academy voters. His most innovative work is a decade-plus behind him.

As Beck was being shamed by Kanye West for winning album of the year on stage at the Grammy awards Sunday, another blond waif who rose out of the 1990s was walking away with other top honors unnoticed.

FULL COVERAGE:Grammy Awards 2015

Eminem won best rap album for the sixth time in his career, making him the most honored rap artist in the category’s history.

Since 1999 (three years after the category was created) he’s won the prize for all but one of his major-label album releases, beating out respected artists such as Missy Elliott, Nas, Jay Z, Dr. Dre, the Roots, Common, Mos Def and Q-Tip.

Still, of all the narratives coming out of the Grammys this year -- Kanye speaking out, Beyonce getting robbed, ELO appearing for no discernible reason -- the Eminem-gets-the-Grammy-no-matter-what storyline was curiously missing.

He won this time for “The Marshall Mathers LP 2,” an album now known for the self-conscious single “The Monster” with Rihanna. Whether it's the addition of her or Skylar Grey or Kendrick Lamar, bait is needed to lure listeners of 2014 to a sound that hasn't changed since PalmPilots equaled the future. 

As for Eminem's early career wins, a case could be made that he was unique and good enough to be worthy of the awards, even while beating out some of the biggest names in rap.


Now the unconditional Grammy love is just embarrassing.

Recording Academy voters are often accused of being too old, too white and too out of touch in their choices. That description is difficult to confirm or refute because the Academy doesn't make the demographics of its voters public.

GRAMMYS 2015: Quotes | Red Carpet | Backstage | Timeline

But as Eminem's perennial victories attest, there's one thing for sure – they're lazy.

Why bother listening to Schoolboy Q or that Khalifa guy when you have the dependable loose cannon from Detroit to lean on? Does Eminem still hate his mom? Check. His ex? Check. Society? Check. Good to go.

As long as nothing's changed, he'll apparently keep winning until Macklemore releases another album and Grammy votes are split.

There was another radio-friendly blond in the mix this year who threatened to dethrone Eminem, Iggy Azalea. But there was a problem, and it wasn't because she looked like Britney Spears channeling Nicki Minaj.

It's that she's a woman, meaning she belongs to a gender that's never won that category, so why start now? Eminem was the natural choice.

Which brings us back to Sunday evening at the Staples Center.

Kanye spoke out because he's frustrated with a Grammy voting body that too rarely honors rappers, R&B singers or artists of color in the top four categories, regardless of sales figures or cultural impact. This year was no exception.

But Eminem's continued dominance of the rap album honors also deserves scrutiny, even if the hip hop category isn't part of the televised awards show. (Hey, the genre that's come define entire generations has only been around since the '70s. Give it some time.)

Perhaps they'll get around to making it part of the telecast when Eminem is old enough to do a standards duet with whomever seems the best choice to reach The Young People (Blue Ivy?).

In the meantime, let's give Beck all the grief so Eminem can win in peace. Again.

Twitter: @LorraineAli.