That's what Ken Ehrlich, the longtime producer of the show, says.
"The fact is that we continue to have a problem in the hip-hop world," Ehrlich told the newspaper. "If they do not take home the Grand Prix, the Academy's respect, and what the Grammys represent, it's still less meaningful to the hip-hop community, which is sad."
CNN has commented on the three rappers.
Lamar leads this year with eight nominations, followed by Drake, who has seven. Childish Gambino has five nominations.
The Recording Academy has sought to diversify its membership, complaining that the Grammys are not an equivalent playground for artists of minorities and women.
"As a musician, in my humble opinion, we do not hear music based on gender, race or ethnicity," said Portnow. "If you want to tune a piece of music – at least the way I say it – it's almost like putting on a blindfold and listening."
CNN has approached the Recording Academy for further comments.
The 61st Grammy Awards will be broadcast live at 20:00. ET Sunday on CBS.