(AllHipHop News) Rap mogul Jay-Z only ended his years-long boycott of the Grammy Awards back in 2004 to support his then-girlfriend Beyonce.
Jay shed some light on his absence from previous celebrations of music's big night as he was honored at Clive Davis' Pre-Grammy Gala in New York City on Saturday when he received the 2018 Salute to Industry Icons Award.
During his acceptance speech, which followed a medley of his hits performed by his "Empire State of Mind" collaborator Alicia Keys, the hip-hop pioneer explained he chose to snub his invite for the 1999 ceremony, where he won his first Grammy for Best Rap Album for Vol. 2... Hard Knock Life, because he didn't agree with the shortlist selected by Recording Academy voters.
"I had an album called Vol. II... And I was nominated for some awards," he recalled. "There was another guy. His name was DMX, and he had released two albums the same year, they did like 900,000 (sales)... and he wasn't nominated for any Grammys."
He continued to skip the annual prizegiving until Beyonce picked up six nominations for the 2004 ceremony following the release of her debut solo album, Dangerously in Love, with three of the nods recognizing the couple's hit tune, "Crazy in Love."
Referring to his now-wife, who was seated in the audience, as "a beautiful young lady, whom I love dearly," he shared, "My first time coming back, six years later, (was) for the Crazy in Love album with the beautiful Miss Beyonce."
However, Jay-Z also admitted he eventually reevaluated his stance on the awards show because he realized the nominations were all "super subjective," and he could use his position in the industry to encourage change from within.
"We can pretend that we don't care, but we really care - we care because we see the most incredible stand on those stages, and we aspire to be that," he said. "So I realized: I had to be there. That is the idea, for us to all get involved and to push this thing further.
"No matter what happens at the Grammys, it's going to be what it is: Bob Marley's gonna be Bob Marley whether he's nominated for a Grammy or not. Tupac is gonna be Tupac. Biggie is gonna be Biggie. That's true. But in this industry... the things that we hold and we love and we treasure, that we respect, we have to get involved."