The out-of-step Grammys face the music

By Raymond Fiore
December 19, 2003 at 05:00 AM EST

These aren’t your grammy’s Grammy nominations. Gone from the top categories were perennial faves Santana, Springsteen, and Sting when contenders for the 46th Annual Grammy Awards were announced Dec. 4. In their place, hip-hoppers like OutKast, Jay-Z, and Missy Elliott, and pretty young things like Beyonce and Justin Timberlake, reflected a seismic shift from the crusty classic-rock order of Grammys past. An overview:

— Hip-hop got props (and a serious shot at its first Record of the Year win) with an unprecedented four of the five nominations in the category: Beyonce (featuring Jay-Z), Black Eyed Peas, OutKast, and Eminem.

— Eminem’s ”Lose Yourself” finally convinced Academy voters that rappers can write. It’s the first-ever rap song up for Song of the Year (a songwriter’s award).

— The flip side of the youthquake? A bunch of posthumous nods. Past winners George Harrison, Johnny Cash, and June Carter Cash all scored multiple mentions, led by the never-honored late great Warren Zevon’s five (including Song of the Year for ”Keep Me in Your Heart”).

— Lending industry cred to star maker American Idol, Grammy showed love to first-and second-season winners Kelly Clarkson (Best Female Pop Vocal) and Ruben Studdard (Best Male R&B Vocal), yet denied each a shot at Best New Artist.

— Bill and Hillary Clinton both got nods, his for Best Spoken Word Album for Children (Prokofiev: Peter and the Wolf…), hers for Best Spoken Word Album (Living History) — a category she conquered in ’97 (It Takes a Village).