Out of all the different genres recognized by the GRAMMYs, the rap categories are usually the easiest for me to predict (due to voters’ tendency to stick with the familiar or most popular).
While Kanye West’s behavior at the past VMAs won’t help him in the “Big 4”, it shouldn’t affect him here as his hip-hop peers are probably a lot more forgiving than other voters. As it stands now, West is likely to receive double nominations in three rap categories: Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group (“Make Her Say” and “Amazing”), Best Rap/Sung Collaboration (“Knock You Down” and “Run This Town”) and Best Rap Song.
Someone else looking to make a dent in these very categories is newcomer Drake. Even without a major label backing or studio album release, the Canadian-born native destroyed the airwaves with “Best Ever I Had” and “Successful”.
As the newest category in the mix, Best Rap Song (in its seven years of existence) is looking to have its strongest batch of nominees yet with tracks from Kid Cudi (“Day N’ Nite”) and T.I. (“Dead and Gone”) in contention. With that being said, Best Rap Album will prove to be the weakest category in the field without the inclusion of 808s and Heartbreak and The Blueprint III (which will be eligible for next year’s ceremony). That leaves room for Eminem’s Relapse to become the frontrunner with its toughest competition coming from Fabolous (Loso’s Way) and Flo Rida (R.O.O.T.S.).
Personally, I’ll be ecstatic if M.I.A.’s remix of “Boyz” (with Jay-Z) can make it in Best Rap/Sung Collaboration but I’m not getting my hopes up.
Best Rap Solo Performance
Drake, “Best I Ever Had”
Flo Rida, “Right Round”
Jay-Z, “D.O.A. (Death of Auto-Tune)”
Kid Cudi, “Day ‘N’ Nite”
Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group
Beastie Boys & Nas, “Too Many Rappers”
Eminem, Dr. Dre & 50 Cent, “Crack a Bottle”
Fabolous & Jay-Z, “Money Goes, Honey Stays”
Kid Cudi, Kanye West & Common, “Make Her Say”
Kanye West & Young Jeezy, “Amazing”
Best Rap/Sung Collaboration
Drake & Trey Songz, “Successful”
Keri Hilson, Ne-Yo & Kanye West, “Knock You Down”
Jay-Z, Rihanna & Kanye West, “Run This Town”
Ne-Yo, Jamie Foxx & Fabolous, “She Got Her Own”
T.I. & Justin Timberlake, “Dead and Gone”
Best Rap Song
“Best I Ever Had,” Aubrey Drake Graham, D. Hamilton & M. Samuels (Drake)
“Day ‘N’ Nite,” S. Mescudi & O. Omishore (Kid Cudi)
“Dead and Gone,” Clifford Harris, Robin Tadross & Justin Timberlake (T.I. & Justin Timberlake)
“D.O.A. (Death of Auto-Tune),” Shawn Carter, Gary DeCarlo, Dale Frashuer, Paul Leka, Kanye West & Ernest Wilson (Jay-Z)
“Run This Town,” A. Alatas, Shawn Carter, Robyn Rihanna Fenty, Makeba Riddick, Kanye West & Ernest Wilson (Jay-Z, Rihanna & Kanye West)
Best Rap Album
Common, Universal Mind Control
Fabolous, Loso’s Way
Flo Rida, R.O.O.T.S.
Ludacris, Theater of the Mind