“It Should’ve Been Way Bigger:” Pop Smoke’s Label Boss Steven Victor Isn’t Satisfied with One Grammy Nomination


I was going to ask what you think it means for Brooklyn drill to make it to the Grammys, but it sounds like you think it’s not there in the way it should be.

Yeah, it should be there in its proper way, but they don’t want it to be, for whatever reason. But at the end of the day, it’s still positive. The producer of the record, Melo, he’s super talented. “Dior” was one of Pop’s favorite songs, even when he made it, he was super excited about it. We’re grateful for it, but I would’ve loved for him to have gotten those nominations and hopefully one of those awards. Especially for his mother. Because it’s an acknowledgment. It’s history, right? Regardless of what I want to say about the Grammys, calling them cap and all this other stuff, the fact remains that it’s historical. [Pop] wanted to win a Grammy, because he knew what it meant for his career and his legacy. It’s just disappointing that he didn’t get nominated.

And hip-hop has had an interesting relationship with the Grammys, because–

Hip hop has never had no relationship with the Grammys! That’s what I think. They just pick and choose and do what they want to do based on how they’re feeling at the moment, without any regard to what’s really going on in the culture.

There was an interview that 50 Cent gave where he said that he didn’t think the Grammys would nominate Pop at all.

Yeah, I believe it. I’m looking at things online. Nicki Minaj didn’t get nominated when she dropped Pinkprint and had all those crazy stats and impact. Like I said, they don’t have a relationship with hip-hop or the culture. It hasn’t been a tumultuous relationship—there is no relationship.

This year, for Rap Album of the Year, the Grammys had a bunch of underground artists, or artists who feel like underground artists: Royce, Jay Electronica, D Smoke, Freddie Gibbs and Alchemist, Nas. Some think they did a better job of at least trying to cater to the culture.

They’re trolling. You can’t be so extreme, know what I’m saying? That’s what trolls do, they do extreme things to get a rise out of people. How do you not [award] Nas, with all the great albums that he’s had? What?

I’m thinking that this is a huge moment for y’all. But you’re like, it should’ve been an even bigger moment.

It should’ve been way bigger. For the year and the impact that he had—and he’s not here, he’s not going to be able to do this again. It’d be one thing if this album came out and everybody loved it, and it didn’t have all of the accolades that it has. “Look, people really liked it, but this album sold more, this album had more singles, this album did this, this album did that.” But the album is the biggest album of the year when you look at how many records it sold within the timespan that it sold those records, and all of that charted on Billboard. What’s going on?

This is why I say the Grammys is cap, and don’t have a relationship with our culture. Look at the year Baby had, look at the year Weeknd had. The Weeknd gets no nominations? Baby doesn’t get Album of the Year or Rap Album of the Year? Weeknd doesn’t get nominated for Song of the Year, Record of the Year? The only thing these artists have in common is their skin color. These are the three biggest, most impactful albums of the year in terms of numbers.

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