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Are Grammy voters in tune with today's music?

Chance the Rapper accepts the Best Rap Album award for
Chance the Rapper accepts the Best Rap Album award for "Coloring Book" at the Grammy Awards. He also was named Best New Artist.
Kevin Winter/Getty Images for NARAS

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You’ve probably already heard some of the chatter about Sunday night’s Grammy Awards.

Chance the Rapper won best new artist, David Bowie’s “Blackstar” album won 5 posthumous Grammys; and Adele beat out Beyonce in the top categories.

But Adele’s wins once again raised questions about the relevance of the music industry’s yearly awards: Are voters of the Recording Academy in tune with today’s music? Did the traditionally conservative voters show signs that they’ve been influenced by the outspoken nature of recent awards ceremonies?

To help us sift through last night's ceremony, we called on music journalist Amanda Petrusich, who writes for The New Yorker. 

Interview Highlights:

On Chance The Rapper's landmark win:

Chance is the first truly independent artist to be nominated for a Grammy, in part because there was a rule change that allowed for streaming-only albums to be considered for contention. He's an artist who I think has made some really tough and brave choices in his career to really eschew the major label system and to really do things the way he wanted to ... So his win for Best New Artist really felt like a harbinger for things to come.

On potential racial bias in Adele's win over Beyonce:

I think when you look to some of the other categories — particularly with Chance The Rapper winning Best New Artist over Maren Morris, who's a country singer and would have been a sort of shoe-in were the Grammys to be revealing a very specific racial bias — it starts to feel a little wobbly. Although, I think if you were to talk to any music critic, they would immediately and authoritatively tell you that Beyoncé arguably did make the more interesting and perhaps better record. It was certainly the more ambitious record. 

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