Thursday, January 4, 2001
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Posted on: Thursday, January 4, 2001

Music's old guard gulps and embraces Eminem

Complete list of Grammy nominations

By Nekesa Mumbi Moody
Associated Press

NEW YORK — The record industry showed it can in fact stomach and even stand Eminem.

Eminem, whose songs bash homosexuals and depict murder and rape, has also taken a swipe at the academy.

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The rapper’s wickedly offensive but critically acclaimed "The Marshal Mathers LP" received four Grammy nominations yesterday, including album of the year. He and his mentor, Dr. Dre, who produced the album, received a combined nine Grammy nominations for that album and "Dr. Dre — 2001."

Eminem, whose songs bash homosexuals and depict the killing of his wife and the rape of his mother, had also taken a swipe at the academy, saying on the song "The Real Slim Shady": "You think I give a damn about a Grammy? / Half of you critics can’t even stomach, let alone stand me."

Michael Greene, president of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, acknowledged that the nominations would upset some people.

"We’re going to catch a lot of flak for this, there’s no question, but you’ve really got to view this in the context of art being a pretty extreme medium sometimes," he said.

Eminem was shut out of the prestigious record of the year and song of the year categories.

Also nominated for album of the year: perennial Grammy favorite Paul Simon, for "You’re the One"; Beck for "Midnite Vultures"; Radiohead for "Kid A"; and Steely Dan for "Two Against Nature." Simon has won album of the year three times before and already owns 16 Grammys.

Besides Dr. Dre, Beyonce Knowles of the group Destiny’s Child also had a leading five nominations, for songwriting and for her work with the group. Among the nominations for Destiny’s Child was record of the year for "Say My Name."

’N Sync, which had the year’s best-selling album, "No Strings Attached," garnered just two nominations; one was for record of the year, for "Bye Bye Bye." Other nominations in that category include Destiny’s Child’s "Say My Name"; "Beautiful Day" by U2; "I Try" by Macy Gray; and "Music" by Madonna.

Madonna, who has never won a Grammy in a major category, was also nominated for female pop vocal performance and pop vocal album, but was surprisingly shut out of the album-of-the-year category.

Country singer Faith Hill, whose "Breathe" was the top single of 2000, received four nominations. Vince Gill also had four, including best country album for "Let’s Make Sure We Kiss Goodbye."

Nominees for best new artist were country singers Shelby Lynne and Brad Paisley, rock-rap act Papa Roach, R&B chanteuse Jill Scott and Sisqo, who had one of the year’s biggest smashes with the raunchy "Thong Song."

"I’m chilling right now," Sisqo said. "I’m staying humble because I don’t have the awards yet. If I win, I’ll be happy, but if I lose I won’t be crushed."

Britney Spears, one of the year’s leading album sellers, was nominated for pop vocal album for "Oops! . . . I Did It Again" and female pop vocal performance for the song of the same name, but was snubbed in the major categories.

Eminem was nominated for rap album, rap solo performance and rap performance by a duo or group for his collaboration with Dr. Dre on "Forgot about Dre." But his song "The Real Slim Shady" was bypassed in the record and song of the year categories.

"I do think it’s a major snub," said Tom O’Neil, author of the book "The Grammys" and a historian of the awards. "Anytime an artist so dominates an industry like he has this year . . . we usually see them represented across the board."

Greene dismissed that notion, calling the album of the year "our most prestigious category."

Eminem, who declined comment, has already won two Grammys for his debut album, "The Slim Shady LP."

"The Marshal Mathers LP" drew widespread critical acclaim, as well as controversy, with its witty yet demented lyrics.

"He’s kind of a non-denominational abuser," Greene said. "He hates everybody. He hates himself, he uses the microphone as a therapist most of the time and doesn’t edit himself. "

As for Eminem’s lyrical swipe at the Grammys, Greene shrugged it off.

"It’s easy to criticize the organization, but we love the artist whether they love us or not. It ain’t a problem," he said.

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