Kendrick Lamar proves winning isn’t everything


If last Sunday’s Grammy Awards proved anything, it’s that life isn’t always fair – but the perceived inequities made the post-Grammy world go round just as much, if not more than the actual winners.

No matter how one feels about the Grammy Awards, it is the award show for the music industry. The exposure alone gives many of the nominated and winning artists a temporary spike in sales. With artists getting triple digit increases in album sales – especially in the era of the download – the Grammy Awards carry just as much (if not more) financial prestige as it does artistic.

The hot topic after the show was Macklemore’s Grammy sweep over fellow newcomer Kendrick Lamar. The perceived Grammy snub of Lamar – who had arguably the most talked about major label debut of a hip hop artist since Nas’ ’93 classic, Illmatic – lit up social media and the Internet with fans taking sides and columnists opining on Macklemore’s privilege when it comes to the mainstream.

As I explained in several impromptu debates, Lamar did everything right. Follow me for a moment…

As many of us will learn the hard way, the world of work isn’t always fair. You’ll be overlooked for promotions and the all the accolades you want may not come when you want them. Though the frustration is warranted, Lamar did three things of note:

He didn’t complain
Until today, there was radio silence from Lamar (more on that shortly). There’s nothing like a passionate person, but being (vocally) upset about things you can’t change does little to win people over to your side.

When setbacks are suffered at the office, vent in private if you must. But focusing too much on the past prevents you from maximizing the future. Which leads me to…

He performed
Lamar’s performance with Imagine Dragons at the Grammy Awards seemed to be universally lauded as the night’s best performance. It’s worth a watch. If Lamar was disappointed about losing in every category he was nominated in, it didn’t show.

Lamar performed when the spotlight was on. That exposure to new fans justified the praise given by old ones. Never miss an opportunity to expand your brand.

The trophy isn’t everything
Sometimes, it’s better to lose and have everyone think you were robbed than win and have a vocal majority believe it was undeserved. When asked about the snub, Lamar did the classy thing, congratulating Macklemore, and noted that his time was yet to come.

“It’s well deserved; he did what he did, man,” Kendrick said. “He went out there and hustled and grinded. Everything happens for a reason; the universe comes back around, that’s how it go.”

According to Hip Hop DX, Lamar saw a 99 percent increase in traffic on music streaming service Spotify – more than any other hip hop artist. Macklemore and Ryan Lewis saw a 65 percent increase.

Always perform to the best of your abilities in victory or defeat. The universe has a way of rewarding the talented – even if your name isn’t called on awards night.


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