The last two years have been a whirlwind for Canadian rapper Drake. In 2009, the one-time star of TV's "Degrassi" dropped the highly successful mixtape and EP "So Far Gone." While the hit single from that EP -- "Best I Ever Had" -- garnered him two 2009 Grammy nominations for Best Rap Solo Performance and Best Rap Song, Drake was not eligible for Best New Artist as he had yet to release an entire album.
His first full length album, "Thank Me Later," debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 in June and has gone on to sell nearly two million copies domestically. Under the old rules, artists like Drake who had contended for Grammys prior to the release of their debut disc were ineligible in the Best New Artist category. NARAS has eliminated that restriction and Drake is widely expected to reap a Best New Artist bid.
The album is a shoo-in to earn multiple Grammy nominations in the rap & R&B fields. Drake will likely see nominations for Best Rap Album, Best Male R&B Vocal Performance ("Find Your Love"), Best R&B Song ("Find Your Love"), Best Rap Solo Performance ("Over"), Best Rap Song ("Over") and Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group ("Fancy," featuring T.I. and Swizz Beatz).
In addition, Drake co-wrote "Un-Thinkable," the No. 1 R&B song of the year, with Alicia Keys and will likely receive an additional nod for Best R&B Song. That latter tune also has an outside shot at a Song of the Year nod.
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Image: "Thank Me Later" album cover (Universal Motown)