Grammys rap predictions, part 2: What does the future hold for Future?

The Grammy rap field this year has some formidable nominees. Hits by Kendrick Lamar, Latto, Jack Harlow, Future, and DJ Khaled are all gunning for wins, making this one of the most competitive song lineups the field has had in the past few years. Let’s consider who’s ahead to win in two rap categories. And take a look at my analysis of the other two races here.

Best Melodic Rap Performance

Most people are expecting a full Kendrick Lamar sweep in the rap field, which is very possible. However, “Die Hard” might be the weakest of his nominations, especially since the song wasn’t a big single. Granted, Lamar has won here before with an album track (“These Walls”), but the hype for “Mr. Morale and the Big Steppers” doesn’t feel as big as it was for “To Pimp a Butterfly.” This is where Future, Drake and Tems’s “Wait for U” comes in, as one of the most acclaimed tracks of the year and an obvious commercial smash. The song is beloved by hip-hop fans due to its mixture of R&B and rap, and would be a good way to reward three artists who have dominated this year. It’s also arguably the biggest hit here, at least on urban radio.

That said, Jack Harlow overperformed in the rap field, so it’s not impossible that his “First Class” wins here, especially if voters want to award him somewhere after three years of nominations. Latto’s “Big Energy (Live)” also stands a chance; it was a big hit, and she’s the only woman nominated here. However, the hype for the song may have faded already, and the rap voters do tend to prefer more hip-hop tracks over the pop crossovers (see Kanye West‘s “Hurricane” beating Lil Nas X‘s “Industry Baby” and Doja Cat‘s “Need to Know” in this category last year).

Will win: Future feat. Drake and Tems, “Wait For U”
Likeliest upset: Kendrick Lamar feat. Blxst and Amanda Reifer, “Die Hard”
Dark horse: Jack Harlow, “First Class”

Best Rap Song

This will definitely be between “Wait For U,” Lamar’s “The Heart Part 5,” and DJ Khaled and company’s “God Did.” It’s probably simplest to go with Lamar, as he is a Grammy darling. However, Jay-Z did beat him here last year with “Jail,” which begs the question of whether “God Did,” also aided by Jay, could do the same, especially after getting a surprise Song of the Year nomination.

Or maybe the two more serious-leaning rap songs will split some votes and open the door for “Wait For U” to scoop up a Grammy here. Future is double-nominated both here and in Melodic Rap Performance, so clearly voters are really into his work this year. Ultimately, you’ll want to go for whoever you think is winning Best Rap Performance, unless you think there’s a path for Future and take a chance on him.

Will win: Kendrick Lamar, “The Heart Part 5”
Likeliest upset: DJ Khaled feat. Rick Ross, Lil Wayne, John Legend, Jay-Z and Fridayy, “God Did”
Dark horse: Future feat. Drake and Tems, “Wait For U”

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