Why I’m predicting Kanye West to win Grammy for Best Rap Album

When the Grammys introduced the Best Rap Album category in 1995, it started off on the wrong foot by awarding Naughty By Nature‘s “Poverty’s Paradise” instead of Tupac Shakur‘s “Me Against The World” and I am pretty sure Sean “Puffy” Combs would agree with me that his friend The Notorious B.I.G.‘s “Life After Death” should have won instead of his debut album “No Way Out” in 1997.  Otherwise the winners have not been that debatable.

Eleven times in this category’s 18-year history an Album of the Year nominee has won Best Rap Album. Unlike other genre album categories, an Album of the Year nominee has yet to lose in the Best Rap Album category.

This is the third time there have been two rap works nominated for Album of the Year and Best Rap Album in the same year: Kendrick Lamar‘s “good kid, m.A.A.d city” and Macklemore & Ryan Lewis The Heist.” The other times were Eminem‘s “The Eminem Show” and Nelly‘s “Nellyville” in 2002 and Outkast‘s “Speakerboxxx/The Love Below” and Missy Elliott’s “Under Construction” in 2003.

This year, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis and Lamar have seven nominations each and go head-to-head in five of those races. Macklemore & Ryan Lewis have the advantage over Lamar by having a more commercially successful year. Their songs “Thrift Shop” and “Can’t Hold Us” ranked number one on Billboard’s Hot 100. “Thrift Shop” was also named Billboard’s top song of 2013. The duo has also achieved awards success by claiming three MTV Video Music Awards and two American Music Awards this year.

Lamar is hip-hop’s Next Big Thing. He was named MTV’s “Hottest MC in the Game” by MTV’s Hip Hop Brain Trust. His disadvantage is that his debut album was released in October of 2012 and his songs were not as commercially successful as those of Macklemore & Ryan Lewis.  Win or lose we will be discussing Lamar in the Grammy rap field for years to come.

There is a third serious contender this year: Kanye West‘s album “Yeezus.”  Kanye is the biggest winner of this category with four and he ranks as the rapper with the most total Grammys: 21. All of his wins were in the rap field except one — co-writing Alicia Keys‘ “You Don’t Know My Name,” which won Best R&B Song.

You cannot find a music critics’ Best of 2013 list without “Yeezus” ranked on it. “Yeezus” was named number-one album of the year by Time Magazine and number two by Rolling Stone. Kanye’s “Yeezus” even received praise from non-hip-hop artists, including the late Lou Reed, Trent Reznor, Noel Gallagher and Keith Urban

Drake returns to this category after winning in 2012 for “Take Care.” If he prevails, it would be the fourth time an artist won back-to-back awards in this category. Eminem did this twice by winning Best Rap Album “The Slim Shady LP”  in 1999 & “The Marshall Mathers LP” in 2000 and in “Relapse” in 2009 &  “Recovery” in 2010. West did it with “The College Dropout” in 2004 & “Late Registration” in 2005.

Jay-Z leads all artists with nine nominations. He has a total of 17 Grammy wins. This is Jay Z’s tenth time nominated for Best Rap Album, but he only won once (“Vol. 2…Hard Knock Life”).

Macklemore & Ryan Lewis are a safe bet, but I am going on a limb and predicting West’s “Yeezus” to win.

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3 thoughts on “Why I’m predicting Kanye West to win Grammy for Best Rap Album

  1. Well in 2012, you couldn’t find a music critics’ Best of 2012 list without “Good Kid M.A.A.D City” ranked on it. “Good Kid M.A.A.D City” was named number two album of the year by Time Magazine, number six by Rolling Stone, and number one by Pitchfork and a 91 on Metacritic (2nd highest score of the year). Kendrick’s album has also received attention from non hip-hop artists such as this year’s Best New Artist nominee James Blake. “good kid, m.A.A.d city” was just as critically aclaimed as “Yeezus” if not even more. Though it came out in late 2012, people still talk about Kendrick’s album today and many claim it’s one of the greatest hip hop albums of all time. The fact that it came out so early for this year’s eligibility period and still got nominated for Album of the Year shows the huge support that there is for the album. Therefore, as much as I loved Kanye’s album (in fact its my favorite of this year along with Vampire Weekend’s album), I really can’t see “Yeezus” beating “good kid, m.A.A.d city” for Best Rap Album.

  2. If Eminem won back-to-back Rap Album Grammys twice, then he shares the record for biggest winner in the category with West. Or were you referring only to current nominees? This could be a case of votes getting split between M&RL and Lamar, opening the way for west. But these are the Grammys, in the end, even Drake can pull a win in such a competitive year.

  3. El Grupachon –

    Eminem is a five time winner in the Best Rap Album category. Kanye West has four wins in this category.

    If “Yeezus” wins this year…Kanye and Eminem will tie with 5 wins apiece for Best Rap Album.

    Eminem will likely return and compete next year for “The Marshall Mathers LP 2.”

    Kanye has the most Grammys overall by a Rap artist with. 21 Grammys. Jay Z has 17 and Eminem has 13.

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