Grammy for Best Rap Song: Will Common & John Legend repeat their Oscar ‘Glory’?

common john legend oscar glory grammy best rap song

Common and John Legend earned three Grammy nominations this year for their collaboration “Glory,” but they’ve already won an Oscar for the song, which they wrote for the Martin Luther King docudrama “Selma.” Does that make them the favorite to win Best Rap Song?

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The award for rap songwriting was created by the recording academy in 2003, when the award went to another Oscar-champ: “Lose Yourself” by Eminem. One other rap song won the Oscar, “It’s Hard Out Here for a Pimp” by Three-6 Mafia in 2005, but it wasn’t nominated at the Grammys.

But while “Glory” came out on top at the Oscars, it may have a tough time claiming the Grammy against this year’s most nominated artist with 11 bids, Kendrick Lamar, who also happens to be the defending champion. He won this award last year for “I” and contends again for “Alright,” and he has one more significant advantage: “Alright” is also nominated for Song of the Year.

Rap songs that earn nominated for Song of the Year usually win their genre songwriting category: Eminem’s aforementioned “Lose Yourself” (2003), Kanye West‘s “Jesus Walks” (2004) and West’s “All of the Lights” (2011). But there were two exceptions. In 2013, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis contended for Song of the Year for their pro-LGBT anthem “Same Love,” but they won Best Rap Song for “Thrift Shop” instead.

And in 2010, Eminem and Rihanna‘s “Love the Way You Lie” contended for Song of the Year, but it lost Best Rap Song to Jay-Z and Alicia Keys‘s “Empire State of Mind,” one of that year’s biggest hits. But “Empire” also had a Grammy nom for Record of the Year, so we knew it had strong academy support.

If there is an upset in this race, it could come from West, who has won Best Rap Song six times, more than any other artist. This year he’s nominated for “All Day,” which has a whopping 18 other writers credited to it, including Beatles legend Paul McCartney and Kendrick Lamar, so if the Grammys want to reward Lamar, they can still do so here while also spreading the wealth to West and McCartney, two of the most awarded stars in the history of the awards.

Drake is also hoping to surprise. His nomination for “Energy” is his sixth in this category, but he has yet to win.

Rounding out the race is its biggest hit, Fetty Wap‘s “Trap Queen,” which sold millions of copies and reached number-two on Billboard’s Hot 100 singles chart. This is the first nomination for the 24-year-old newcomer, but don’t count out this breakthrough hit.

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Common and John Legend photo credit: Jim Smeal/BEI/REX

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