Over the last seven years, Drake has been nominated five times for the Polaris Music Prize. On none of those occasions has the hip-hop superstar shown up at the award gala, let alone performed at the event. This year Polaris voters beat Drake to the snub.
Drake’s Grammy-nominated album Scorpion, which smashed international streaming records, was not among the 40 albums on the 2019 Polaris long list announced Thursday in Winnipeg. And despite his previous nominations, Drake has never actually captured the annual $50,000 prize for the Canadian album of the year. With the long-list omission this year, his winless streak continues.
While Scorpion is the list’s most glaring denial, it is just one of many notable exclusions. Albums from Metric, Arkells, Hawksley Workman, Steven Page, Broken Social Scene, Juno-snagging pop upstart Bülow and Grammy winner Alessia Cara failed to make the cut.
Among the high-profile artists who did make the long list are pop stars Shawn Mendes (for his self-titled third album) and Carly Rae Jepsen (for Dedicated).
The absence of the chart-topping Scorpion is perhaps a signal that Drake fatigue is setting in with Polaris voters. In his place, hip-hop is deeply represented on the nominations list by a collection of vibrant but relatively unknown acts, among them Quebec’s Loud, Hamilton, Ont.'s Lee Reed, Toronto’s Clairmont The Second, Nigerian-Canadian singer-rapper TOBi, Haisla Nation duo Snotty Nose Rez Kids, Vancouver’s Kimmortal and Toronto’s Sydanie.
Drake’s Scorpion received zero nominations for this year’s Juno Awards, but only because he decided not to submit his album for consideration. Such was not the case with the missing Polaris nod. Scorpion was one of 233 albums considered by a 199-member jury composed of music journalists, broadcasters and bloggers from across the country.
The voters have consistently favoured experimental acts over traditional singer-songwriters; this year is no different. Missing among the wordsmiths were Donovan Woods, Justin Rutledge, Daniel Romano and country music’s Colter Wall.
The long list will be pared down to a short list of 10 albums, to be announced on July 16. The 2019 Polaris Prize winner will be revealed at a Toronto gala on Sept 16.
The 2019 Polaris Music Prize Long List:
- Tim Baker - Forever Overhead
- Tanika Charles - The Gumption
- Clairmont The Second - Do You Drive?
- Charlotte Cornfield - The Shape of Your Name
- Marie Davidson - Working Class Woman
- Dilly Dally - Heaven
- The Dirty Nil - Master Volume
- Dizzy - Baby Teeth
- Elisapie - The Ballad of the Runaway Girl
- FET.NAT - Le Mal
- Dominique Fils-Aimé - Stay Tuned!
- Fucked Up - Dose Your Dreams
- Yves Jarvis - The Same But By Different Means
- Carly Rae Jepsen - Dedicated
- Kaia Kater - Grenades
- Kimmortal - X Marks the Swirl
- La Force - La Force
- LAL - Dark Beings
- Laurence-Anne - Première apparition
- Salomé Leclerc - Les choses extérieures
- Lee Harvey Osmond - Mohawk
- Jean Leloup - L'étrange pays
- Shay Lia - Dangerous
- Les Louanges - La nuit est une panthère
- Loud - Tout ça pour ça
- Shawn Mendes - Shawn Mendes
- Haviah Mighty - 13th Floor
- Operators - Radiant Dawn
- Orville Peck - Pony
- Sandro Perri - In Another Life
- PUP - Morbid Stuff
- Lee Reed - The Steal City EP
- Jessie Reyez - Being Human In Public
- Shad - A Short Story About a War
- Snotty Nose Rez Kids - Trapline
- Alexandra Stréliski - Inscape
- sydanie - 999
- TOBi - STILL
- Voivod - The Wake
- Wintersleep - In The Land Of
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