The Grammys are pretty polarizing in hip-hop. On one hand, rappers discredit them for being either wildly inaccurate or for not giving rap music its just-due. On the other hand, rappers lowkey want to win as many as humanly possible – seeing as “on paper” it is the highest form of recognition a musician can get.
This year, however, there isn’t much uproar. The four rap categories have a fairly precise representation of the critically acclaimed content in 2015. But just in case you still don’t know who will win or what means what, let us break it down.
The Best Rap Performance is essentially the best rap vocals of the year. It doesn’t factor the production, structure or instrumentation. It is literally just the year’s best display of bars. This time around the nominees include “Apparently” by J Cole, “Back To Back” by Drake, “Trap Queen” by Fetty Wap, “Alright” by Kendrick Lamar, “Truffle Butter” by Nicki Minaj and “All Day” by Kanye West. The obvious answer would be “Alright” but I have a sneaky feeling “Back To Back” might actually take it. The sheer impact of that song on the course of rap in 2015 was head-turning. Not only did it crucify Meek Mill but it reminded us that the 6 God can do way more than just meme-able dances. A lot of people would vouch for Fetty Wap, and rightfully so. He had a banner year with “Trap Queen” spear heading his success. Regardless, Drake or Kendrick will take this.
Best Rap/Sung Collaboration is pretty self-explanatory. It is awarded to the best collaboration that involves rapping and singing. This year’s nominees are “One Man Can Change The World” by Big Sean, Kanye West and John Legend, “Glory” by Common and John Legend, “Classic Man” by Jidenna and Roman GianArthur, “These Walls” by Kendrick Lamar, Bilal and Thundercat and finally “Only” by Nicki Minaj, Drake, Lil Wayne and Chris Brown. This one is a little trickier. “Glory” would be the obvious choice because of its cultural significance but then again “One Man Can Change The World” is pretty powerful. My money would go on “Glory” but that’s just me. Sonically, “These Walls” might be the best but the fact that it isn’t centred around human rights hurts its chances. If you’re thinking maybe “Only” and “Classic Man”, think again. Neither of them even have a fighting chance to win.
Best Rap Song basically takes everything into consideration; rhymes, beat, timing, tempo and everything in between. Nominees are Kanye West’s “All Day”, “Alright” by Kendrick Lamar, “Energy” by Drake, “Glory” by Common and “Trap Queen” by Fetty Wap. This one isn’t really much of a contest because, you guessed it, Kendrick will be taking this one. “Alright” proved to be 2015’s anthem by the people for the people – therefore a shoe-in for Best Rap Song of the year.
To be honest, the same goes for Best Rap Album of the year. If you haven’t already caught on to the obvious theme here, Kendrick will be cleaning up. Of course we’ve seen him shafted before but this time around, if there is one award he will win, it’s Best Album. To Pimp A Butterfly was “on paper” the best album of the year, that’s for sure. Did it make you turn up? Probably not. Did it give you a ton of replay value? No. Did it provide the perfect soundtrack to the socio-economic landscape of the western world? Yes. Other nominees including If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late, The Pinkprint, Compton and 2014 Forest Hills Drive are all super dope albums but unfortunately the monster that is TPAB will scoop up this award with ease.