Last year at this time, the Grammy nominations were mired in controversy when the Weeknd, who’d released one of the most critically and commercially successful albums and singles of the year with “After Hours” and “Blinding Lights,” shockingly received zero nominations. It was the biggest snub in Grammy history, and the Weeknd pledged that he would “no longer allow my label to submit my music to the Grammys,” even after the Recording Academy, which oversees the Grammys, revised its practices and did away with the “secret” nomination-review committees that for decades had curated most of the final lists, and which some alleged had become corrupted by insider dealings.
A year later, many were confused to see that the Weeknd has three nominations for 2022 Grammys, two for collaborations with Kanye West and one for Doja Cat. What happened? It’s pretty simple.
The key lies in his statement from last year: He will “no longer allow my label to submit my music to the Grammys.” Grammy Awards don’t just happen: They must be submitted, usually by the artist’s record label. Since those are songs and albums by other artists, signed to other labels, that feature the Weeknd, they would be submitted by those artists’ labels. (Kanye West’s parent label is Def Jam Records and Doja Cat’s is RCA, while the Weeknd’s is Republic.)
Additionally, the Weeknd and multiple other artists and musicians received nominations that they previously would not have, because the Grammy rulebook was updated this year to eliminate a previous rule that songwriters must have contributed to 33% of a Best Album nominee in order to receive recognition. That new rule garnered the Weeknd nods for his contributions to two Best Album nominees, Doja Cat’s “Planet Her” deluxe edition and West’s “Donda.” He also received a Best Melodic Rap Performance nomination for a song from the latter album, “Hurricane,” which also features Lil Baby.
Reps for the Weeknd did not immediately respond to Variety’s request for comment.