On June 3, Kanye West released “Champions,” a new track from his forthcoming album “Cruel Winter.” The song is a group effort that teams West with Travis, Quavo, Big Sean, Yo Gotti, Gucci, 2 Chainz and Desiigner. Does it sound like a Grammy winner? Listen to it below, then make sure to join the fierce debate with music insiders in our notorious forums.
Despite West’s controversial public image, including frequent gaffes on social media and occasionally interrupting awards winners’ acceptance speeches, he’s one of the most successful artists in Grammy history, with a total of 21 wins to date. That ties him with fellow rapper Jay-Z as the 10th most awarded artist in Grammy history, and they’re tied as the most awarded rap artist.
West’s haul includes an impressive four wins for Best Rap Album: “The College Dropout” (2004), “Late Registration” (2005), “Graduation” (2007) and “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy” (2011). However, he’s always been relegated to genre categories, winning 20 times for rap and once for R&B songwriting (“You Don’t Know My Name” with Alicia Keys in 2004).
The recording academy is notoriously stingy when it comes to rewarding hip-hop artists in the general field. Indeed, West has lost all three of his Album of the Year bids (“College Dropout,” “Late Registration” and “Graduation”), all three for Song of the Year (“Jesus Walks” in 2004, “American Boy” in 2008 and “All of the Lights” in 2011) and his one nomination for Record of the Year (for “Gold Digger” in 2005).
West even lost Best New Artist in 2004. That award went to Maroon 5, which was unusual in that Maroon 5 had no other general-field nominations and West was up for both Album and Song. So is “Champions” aptly titled? Will it finally bring him success in the general field as Record or Song of the Year? Listen to it below.