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Grammy voting in controversy as Nicki Minaj claims her hit was wrongly categorized

Nicki Minaj, performing onstage at the 2022 MTV VMAs at Prudential Center on Aug. 28, 2022 in Newark, N.J.
Theo Wargo
Getty Images for MTV/Paramount G
Nicki Minaj, performing onstage at the 2022 MTV VMAs at Prudential Center on Aug. 28, 2022 in Newark, N.J.

Voting for the Grammy Awards is just getting started, and the process is already generating some drama: Nicki Minaj, the Queens-raised rapper with over 20 Top-10 hits to her name, submitted her song "Super Freaky Girl" for competition in the ceremony's various rap categories. However, the Recording Academy, parent organization of the Grammys, decided to categorize the song as pop, putting it in the running within a genre that Minaj doesn't see herself or her song as belonging to.

Minaj "was angry when it came back in the pop categories," explains NPR Music's Stephen Thompson. And understandably so, Thompson explains – a similarly constructed song, "Big Energy" by the emerging rapper Latto, was accepted for consideration within the awards' rap categories.

As Minaj herself wondered, why is her song a pop song while Latto's is rap? And what about the wider relevance of the Grammys themselves? Let's take a closer look.

To hear the full conversation, use the audio player at the top of this page.

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Ayesha Rascoe is a White House correspondent for NPR. She is currently covering her third presidential administration. Rascoe's White House coverage has included a number of high profile foreign trips, including President Trump's 2019 summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Hanoi, Vietnam, and President Obama's final NATO summit in Warsaw, Poland in 2016. As a part of the White House team, she's also a regular on the NPR Politics Podcast.
Stephen Thompson is a writer, editor and reviewer for NPR Music, where he speaks into any microphone that will have him and appears as a frequent panelist on All Songs Considered. Since 2010, Thompson has been a fixture on the NPR roundtable podcast Pop Culture Happy Hour, which he created and developed with NPR correspondent Linda Holmes. In 2008, he and Bob Boilen created the NPR Music video series Tiny Desk Concerts, in which musicians perform at Boilen's desk. (To be more specific, Thompson had the idea, which took seconds, while Boilen created the series, which took years. Thompson will insist upon equal billing until the day he dies.)