Jay-Z Explains 1999 Grammys Boycott

Jay-Z has opened up about why he made the decision to boycott the Grammy Awards early in his career, and what influenced his return to music’s most prestigious red carpet.

While attending Clive Davis’ annual pre-Grammy gala on Saturday night, Jay-Z was honoured with the Grammy Salute to Industry Icons Award. During his speech, Jay explained his decision to boycott in the past was due to fellow rapper DMX being snubbed by the awards in 1999.

Despite not attending that year, Jay went on to win Best Rap Album for his Vol. 2… Hard Knock Life.

Speaking of his return to the ceremony in 2004, the 4:44 rapper admitted it came down to supporting his future wife Beyoncé’s first solo project.

“I didn’t come back until 2004 when a beautiful, young lady whom I love dearly had a solo album,” he told the crowd. “And I realized, ‘Man, art is super subjective and everyone is doing their best, and the Academy, they’re human like we are and they’re voting on things they like and it’s subjective.

“If we believe in it — ’cause we do, we can pretend that we don’t care but we really care — we care ’cause we’ve seen the most incredible artists stand on that stage and we’re inspired to be that, so I was like, ‘I have to be here.’”

Jay added that everyone should support one another “no matter what happens at the Grammys.”

“Bob Marley is going to be Bob Marley, whether he’s nominated for a Grammy or not, Tupac is going to be Tupac, Biggie is going to be Biggie.”

With 21 Grammy awards won so far, Jay-Z is nominated in eight categories at Sunday night's ceremony, including Best Album, Best Song and Record Of The Year.