With his absence from the entertainment spotlight starting to feel like an eternity, it comes as no surprise that fans have become increasingly curious about whether or not Kanye West will be at the 2018 Grammys on Sunday, Jan. 28. A notorious wild card in all aspects of his career — award shows in particular — it seems that everyone will literally have keep their fingers crossed in hopes that West will make an appearance on Grammy night.
A huge critic of the Grammy Awards in the past, West openly called the ceremony out for its lack of cultural relevance, while calling its awarding system "way off and completely out of touch" in series of February 2016 tweets. The 40-year-old rapper was noticeably absent from the ceremony the following year, despite being nominated for a total of eight awards during the 2017 ceremony. The move came months after a declaration made during a stop on his Saint Pablo Tour, in which he stated that he wouldn't attend unless his pal Frank Ocean received a nomination for his 2016 album, Blonde.
Speaking openly to the large crowd in Oakland, California in October 2016 about a reported incident surrounding Lady Gaga, West again went on the attack against the Grammys, claiming that the organization "secretly changed something about the nominations in order to nominate her — in order for her to perform in the show." Further backing the campaign for Ocean's nomination, West went on to explain:
"I'm saying this to y'all, because a lot of people, you know, they try to make a scene, like, 'I'm so self-centered.' But the album I listened to the most this year is Frank Ocean's album. And I will tell you this right now: If his album's not nominated in no categories, I'm not showing up to the Grammys."
Deciding to protest the Grammy institution altogether, Ocean refused to submit his work for consideration, while West still remained a no-show at the event.
It's unclear if West's move was actually show of solidarity with Ocean's decision to boycott, but his absence raised questions surrounding his whereabouts that evening. While West never again discussed the situation following the on-stage diatribe, his mother-in-law Kris Jenner gave clarity to his absence while co-hosting the red carpet for E! on Grammy night. According to People, Jenner revealed:
"The truth is he's got a big fashion show in New York because it's New York Fashion Week... And my entire family is back there... Some of the kids are on their way tomorrow."
For what it's worth, West received a total zero awards out of the possible eight categories where he was nominated last year. So, it's probably safe to say that the snub has left him further disgruntled with the award's governing Recording Academy. Presumably, this made his relationship with the awards ceremony that much worse.
Currently tied with on-and-off industry best friend JAY-Z in the race of top Grammy-winning rap artist of all time (each rapper holds steady at 21 trophies, which is subject to change due to JAY-Z's eight lingering nominations), West has remained one of the most prolific, fascinating and revolutionary artists of this generation. His commitment to speaking out for artists and communities whose voices may not be as easily heard, while not always popular, is truly admirable. And despite some of the controversial antics that come along with the full magnitude of West, his undeniable passion for what he believes is right can, honestly, be a bit inspirational at times.
While it's hopeful that West will be generous enough to grace fans with a polarizing speech, random outburst, or just simply his presence in a front-row seat at the Grammys, it certainly wouldn't come as a shock if he decided to ditch the ceremony in favor of spending more time with his family and new baby girl, Chicago West.