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When Diddy talks you listen. Well at least that’s the thought.

Hopefully, the Grammy Awards heard everything he had to say Saturday night at Clive Davis’ white-hot pre-Grammys gala. The music icon was being honored, but used his speech to demand change for the Grammy had would be glad to spearhead the charge.

“So I say this with love to the Grammys because you really need to know this, every year y’all be killing us man. Man, I’m talking about the pain. I’m speaking for all these artists here, the producers, the executives,” he said. “The amount of time it takes to make these records, to pour your heart into it, and you just want an even playing field.”

Several stars in attendance including Jay-Z and Beyonce replied with a standing ovation.

Over the years, the awards show has been criticized when top performing acts like Beyoncé, Kanye West, Eminem, Mariah Carey and others lose in major categories, including album of the year and best new artist. The rap and R&B stars often fall short of their pop, rock and country counterparts.

“In the great words of Erykah Badu, ‘We are artists and we are sensitive about our (expletive).’ We are passionate. For most of us, this is all we got. This is our only hope,” Combs continued. “Truth be told, hip-hop has never been respected by the Grammys. Black music has never been respected by the Grammys to the point that it should be.”

Rap, particularly, has had a longstanding losing streak at the Grammys, which celebrates its 62nd show Sunday. Only two rap-based albums — Lauryn Hill’s “The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill” and Outkast’s “Speakerboxxx/The Love Below” — have won album of the year. Last year’s Grammys marked the first time a hip-hop song was awarded song and record of the year when Childish Gambino’s “This Is America” achieved the feat. And only four rap acts have been named best new artist, including Hill, Arrested Development, Chance the Rapper and Macklemore & Ryan Lewis.

Questions loomed heavily over the Grammys’ voting process this week after the academy’s just-ousted CEO, Deborah Dugan, claimed that the awards are rigged and filled with conflicts of interest.

“So right now with this current situation, it’s not a revelation. This thing been going on, and it’s not just going on in music, it’s going on in film, it’s going on in sports, it’s going around the word,” Combs said. “And for years we’ve allowed institutions that have never had our best interest at heart to judge us. And that stops right now.”

The 50-year-old ended with a stern message: “I’m officially starting the clock — y’all got 365 days to get this (expletive) together.”

Combs, a three-time Grammy winner, earned the 2020 Grammy Salute to Industry Icons Award on Saturday night. He dedicated the prize to classic albums that didn’t win the top Grammy Award: Michael Jackson’s “Off the Wall,” Prince’s “1999,” Beyoncé’s “Lemonade,” Missy Elliott’s “Da Real World,” Snoop Dogg’s “Doggystyle,” Kanye West’s “Graduation” and Nas’ “Illmatic.”

Combs, the founder of Bad Boy Records, received an all-star tribute from artists he’s worked with, including Lil Kim, Mase, Faith Evans and Carl Thomas. The performance transformed the Beverly Hilton Hotel into a hip-hop jam session, with some people even dancing on top of chairs, including Usher, Wiz Khalifa and Combs himself.

Source: Associated Press