One of the more surprising things to come out of this year’s Emmy nominations, which were announced Thursday morning, July 13, is the surprising number of hip-hop artists who earned noms. Rap legends like Common, LL Cool J and Snoop Dogg picked up nominations alongside rising rap star Chance the Rapper. And that doesn’t even count “Atlanta,” which is about a music manager (Donald Glover, aka Grammy nominated hip-hop artist Childish Gambino) trying to launch his cousin’s rap career. That show earned six nominations including Best Comedy Series.
LL Cool J is nominated in the Best Structured Reality Program as a producer for the Spike TV hit “Lip Sync Battle,” for which he was also nominated for last year. LL received his first Emmy nomination back in 2012 in the Best Special Class Program category for hosting the 54th Annual Grammy Awards. That was exactly 20 years after he won his first Grammy for Best Rap Solo Performance for his iconic hit “Mama Said Knock You Out” in 1992. He won that category again in 1997 for “Hey Lover.”
Snoop Dogg has the unfortunate distinction of being the artist with the second most nominations at the Grammys without a win: 17, which ties him with Brian McKnight and puts them three behind classical sound engineer Morten Lindberg with 20 losses. Will Snoop Dogg have better luck at the Emmys? He earned a surprising nomination with co-host Martha Stewart in the Best Reality Host Category for their VH1 show “Martha and Snoop’s Potluck Dinner Party.”
Already an Oscar and Grammy Award winning performer, Common is looking to add an Emmy to his trophy case so he’ll be only a Tony award from joining the EGOT club. He has won three Grammys to date: Best R&B Song (“Love of My Life,” 2003), Best Rap Duo/Group Performance (“Southside,” 2008) and Best Visual Media Song (“Glory,” 2016). He also won his Oscar for “Glory”; it was featured in Ava DuVernay‘s 2014 film “Selma.” His Emmy nomination this year is also for a film by DuVernay: Common, along with Jazz artists Robert Glasper and Karriem Riggins, are nominated in the Best Music and Lyrics category for their song “Letter to the Free” from the Netflix documentary “13th.”
Facing off against Common in this category is Chance the Rapper. He won big at this year’s Grammy Awards, taking home Best Rap Album (“Coloring Book”) and Best Rap Performance (“No Problem” with Lil Wayne and 2 Chainz), and becoming a rare hip-hop artist to win Best New Artist. Then in June he won twice at the BET Awards: Best New Artist and Best Collaboration (“No Problem”). Now Chance is looking to continue his winning streak by taking home an Emmy on his first try. He is nominated with Kenan Thompson, Will Stephen and Eli Brueggemann for the song “Last Christmas” from “Saturday Night Live.”
And then of course there’s Glover, who as Childish Gambino earned two Grammy noms in 2015: Best Rap Album (“Because the Internet”) and Best Rap Performance (“3005”). He hasn’t won the recording industry’s top prize, but he could be the king of the Emmys with four nominations for “Atlanta”: Best Comedy, Best Comedy Actor, Best Comedy Writing and Best Comedy Directing.