Rap Music Grammy Nominees
The Grammy Nominations were recently announced and listeners had mixed opinions about the rap nominations. The Recording Academy has been criticized throughout the past few years due to allegations of rigging and racism, and this year’s nominations were not immune to those criticisms. However, before yelling about your favorite song or artist getting snubbed, remember that the eligibility period was only for projects released from Friday, Oct. 1, 2021 until Friday, Sept. 30, 2022. That window leaves albums such as Drake and 21 Savage’s Her Loss, Metro Boomin’s Heroes and Villains, and Lil Uzi Vert’s viral single “Just Wanna Rock” out of the picture.
In the rap category, Kendrick Lamar, who is no stranger to the rap scene, leads the pack with eight nominations. His critically-acclaimed album, Mr. Morale and the Big Steppers, was the most streamed rap album on Spotify this year, and it was nominated for Album of the Year and Best Rap Album. The album reflects on Kendrick’s own life and his experiences with childhood, love, and fame.
“Kendrick is definitely going to win Best Rap Album.”
Ian Scherr (‘24) added, “Kendrick is definitely going to win Best Rap Album.” “The Heart Part 5,” a single which was released just prior to the album, was nominated for Record of the Year, Song of the Year, Best Rap Song, Best Rap Performance, and Best Music Video. Lastly, his song “Die Hard” was nominated for Best Melodic Rap Performance. Most music critics and fans think these nominations were well-deserved. In fact, one Edgemont student commented that “Kendrick Lamar is so far above the rest.”
Aside from Lamar, some of the nominations in the rap category are questionable. God Did, by DJ Khaled, and Come Home the Kids Miss You, by Jack Harlow, two albums which were not widely loved by the public or critics, were nominated for Best Rap Album. When Edgemont students heard that these albums were nominated, they had a few things to say about it. Regarding DJ Khaled’s album, one student recalled, “Oh that was so bad.” Another said, “It’s a sin that it was nominated.” One more student kept it simple and deemed God Did “goofy.” A few students also collectively thought that Jack Harlow’s album was cringy and boring. Another student criticized Harlow for the decision to sample Fergie, even though it led to his hit single “First Class,” which was nominated for Best Melodic Rap Performance. Although Harlow’s album has a couple catchy songs, a number of students think it lacks the quality to merit a nomination.
The other two albums nominated for Best Rap Album are It’s Almost Dry, by Pusha T, and I Never Liked You, by Future. These two nominations are much more understandable. Pusha T’s album is old school and lyrical, and it has features from established rappers including Jay-Z and Kanye West. One student said that he thought Pusha T’s song “Neck & Wrist,” featuring Jay-Z and Pharell Williams, should have been nominated for Best Rap Song. Meanwhile, Future received a couple nominations for his song “Wait For U,” including Best Rap Song and Best Melodic Rap Performance. Edgemont student Noah Seifer (‘24) said “‘Wait For U’ was my most played song this year on Spotify, so I definitely agree with the nomination.”
Another head-scratching nomination is Gunna Future and Young Thug’s song, “pushin P,” put up for Best Rap Song. Although it’s catchy, it lacks any clear meaning and just left listeners guessing as to what Gunna meant by “pushin P.” One student joked that “pushin P ain’t pushin P” and went on to say that he disagreed with its nomination. Nonetheless, “pushin P” was all over TikTok for a few weeks and accumulated a lot of streams.
One interesting takeaway from the nominations is Drake’s massive influence. Even though he did not submit his solo work for consideration, his name is still on the nominations list from his features on Jack Harlow’s and Future’s albums. He is featured on Future’s “Wait For U” and Harlow’s “Churchill Downs,” which are both nominated for Best Rap Song. If he had submitted his album Honestly, Nevermind, then he would likely have earned a third nomination.
“Aren’t they just popularity contests?”
When asked about the nominations, Simon Ascher (‘24) remarked “Aren’t they just popularity contests?” He makes a good point because every song nominated in the rap category was performed by a mainstream artist and was very popular. The rap nominations suggest that the Recording Academy considers popularity first when nominating songs and artists. However, popularity and quality do not always go hand in hand. If the Grammys considered popularity less, they could give valuable attention to smaller artists and recognize great music that went under the radar.