Rap rascal Kanye West has clashed with many titans of the music biz, but now at the Grammys he confronts his own worst enemy: himself.
In two categories, he’s nominated twice, which leads us to wonder: will he cancel out his votes or, if he wins, complain about his lost nomination and interrupt himself at the podium?
Kanye has had a crazy history at music award shows – he’s infamous for throwing tantrums when he or his pals don’t win. In 2009, he crashedTaylor Swift’s acceptance speech at the MTV Video Music Awards, roaring, “Beyonce had one of the best videos of all time! OF ALL TIME!” When he lost the MTV European Music Award in 2006, he stormed the stage to ruin the joy of victors Justice and Simian.
When he lost Best New Artist at the American Music Awards in 2004 to Gretchen Wilson, he not only stomped out of the ceremony, but tried to convince reporters that there was a mass conspiracy against him.
Nobody believed Kanye back then, but this year he could build a convincing case that he was ripped off in the top Grammy race. He had two of the most critically acclaimed CDs of the eligibility period, but neither was nominated for best Album of the Year: “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy” nor his collaboration with #Jay-Z# “Watch the Throne.”
Kanye is way overdue to win the top Grammy trophy, having suffered three losing nominations: “Graduation” (2008) got skunked by Herbie Hancock‘s “River: The Joni Letters”; “Late Registration” (2006) got nuked by U2‘s How to Dismantle an Atom Bomb”; and “College Dropout” (2005) lost to Ray Charles‘ “Genius Loves Company.”
What gives? Voters certainly haven’t turned against Kanye. He leads with the most nominations of all artists this year (seven), two of them in the race for Best Rap Album, which he’s won three times in the past. Now his two CDs compete in that category against “Tha Carter IV” (Lil Wayne), “Lasers” (Lupe Fiasco) and “Pink Friday” (Nicki Minaj).
According to Gold Derby’s racetrack odds, which are based upon the predictions by top Grammy gurus, “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy” (5 to 6 odds) is out front to win, with “Watch the Throne” in second place (12 to 5).
But two Gold Derby editors disagree. Darrin Dortch believes “Watch the Throne” has the edge because it’s more current and has the added heft of Jay-Z’s input.
However, David Schnelwar insists, “They’re going to split the vote for the same reason that neither got nominated for Album of the Year. I think Nicki Minaj will squeak through. I’m not saying she’s deserving.”
But Dortch counters, “No female rapper has ever won Best Rap Album and few have been nominated. I think ‘Watch the Throne’ will easily win this because right now the album has a hit single in the top 5, they have this huge tour going on and Beyonce and Jay-Z have a baby.”
Kanye is also nominated twice for Best Rap Song where his “All of the Lights” and “Otis” compete against “I Need a Doctor,” “Look at Me Now” and “The Show Goes On.” Curiously, Schnelwar doesn’t believe the two competing Kanye tunes will split the vote in this category. He’s betting on “All of the Lights” to shine; so is Dortch. It also gets the best odds from Gold Derby’s experts (6/5).
Historically, there have been mixed results when artists had multiple nominations in one rap race. In 1997, when 2pac was nominated posthumously twice for Best Rap Performance for Duo or Group, he lost to Bone Thugs and Harmony (“Tha Crossroads”). However, one year earlier, when Puff Daddy had three competing bids in the same rap category, he won for “I’ll Be Missing You” (with Faith Evans and 112).