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'People' Magazine Music Critic Discusses the Grammys

Aired January 3, 2001 - 4:51 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

JOIE CHEN, CNN ANCHOR: Insights now on the music industry's big awards, we turn to "People" magazine's Peter Castro. He joins us now from New York.

Peter, how important are the Grammys in the recording industry? I mean, is it like, you know, getting an Academy Award, where it can really boost a movie back up at the box office?

PETER CASTRO, "PEOPLE": Absolutely. Winning a Grammy is phenomenal, but even getting nominated is a big deal. But winning is really -- is really a key thing. I mean, it made Bonnie Raitt a household name after living in virtual obscurity for most of her career. She had a huge year. Lauryn Hill became a superstar. But Carlos Santana perhaps is the best example.

Here's a guy who's selling -- averaging 200,000 units a week before he won the Grammy, and after he won, it went up to 580,000. So financially, it's a huge boost.

CHEN: Yes. I have to admit I didn't go out and buy my copy of Santana's album until after the awards. So I'll fall in with that.

Now, what's happening here with the awards and the names? We're seeing old names and new names show up in the same lists. Paul Simon and Eminem in the same category?

CASTRO: This would never have happened 10 years ago, and I think it's the Grammys' way of saying, you know, we want to be current, we want to make up past transgressions. I mean, who could ever forget the Milli Vanilli fiasco, or no offense, but Bobby McFerrin winning record of the year for "Don't Worry, Be Happy."

These were -- these were awards that raised a lot of eyebrows, and I think it's the Grammys' way of saying, you know, let's be diverse, let's embrace people. And I think frankly Eminem should be nominated.

He actually might win, which is what's so incredible about this thing. I mean, I think it would be so great for -- for Eminem to win, only because it would really shake things up and it would put a stamp on this awards show that it really hasn't had up until now.

CHEN: Rappers generally getting a little respect now from the Grammys? CASTRO: Well, you -- you cannot avoid hip-hop. It would be a huge mistake. It's one of the, you know, leading genres in all of American culture. And it's -- a lot of it is really, really good. And I think this Eminem album -- I mean, a lot of people think this guy's the devil, but he came -- he came out with a really good album. And he's a good lyricist. And there are problems that people think, you know, that are inherent in his music with profanity, violence, et cetera. But you cannot deny that he's a good hip-hop artist.

CHEN: Did you see any surprises in the names named today?

CASTRO: I was surprised by the fact that D'Angelo wasn't nominated actually. This is a guy who had a record on most of the critics' top 10 lists. I was also surprised again by Eminem being on there. I mean, you know, this is again an act that attracted a lot of hostility from a lot of people, and I, you know, kudos to the Grammy people for -- for overlooking that and giving him his -- his box.

CHEN: Well, I guess I better go listen to D'Angelo, find out what's current this time around.

Peter Castro from "People" magazine, thanks for being with us.

CASTRO: Thank you.

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