By now the majority of us can agree the Grammy Awards validity isn’t worth its weight in mustard packets — especially when it comes to their representation of the rap Hip-Hop category. I can remember Mystikal’s hit-less Tarantula getting a nominee in the midst of Eminem automatically getting a win whenever the Awards coincided with an album released.
But with the unveiling of the nominees for 2009’s Best Rap Album, it seems like either the committee experienced some sort of Hip-Hop head revelation or Public Enemy actually bum rushed the show, seeing that the albums chosen were amongst the brightest in terms of visibility while simultaneously serving as some of the best as well. Hit the break for a more thorough analysis of our culture’s nominees and see how good their chances are of actually earning a golden gramophone.
Current Grammys: 7 (Most Notably: Best Rap Album for Vol. 2… Hard Knock Life in 1999)
Album Nominated: American Gangster
Singles: “Blue Magic,” “Roc Boys (And The Winner Is),” “I Know”
Cig Rating: N/A [November 5th, 2007]
Likelihood Of Winning: As arguably the best album amongst the nominees, the euphoria that carried American Gangster and the Ridley Scott film of the same name into critical acclaim, is merely an afterthought. Respect in these type of awards only gets you so far. In this case, a nomination.
Artist: Lil’ Wayne
Current Grammys: 0
Album Nominated: Tha Carter III
Singles: “Lollipop,” “A Milli,” “Got Money,” “Mrs. Officer”
Cig Rating: 3.5 Cigs [June 10th, 2008]
Likelihood Of Winning: In what has transpired to truly become a break out year for Lil’ Wayne as solo artist (1st number single in the form of “Lollipop,” one million records sold in week, total sales nearing three million,) a big night at the Grammys seems like it’s in the stars for Weezy despite obviously having the inferior album when sized up against the rest of his peers. His only obstacle: T.I. For justice has a funny way of being served in these situations (see Ludacris in 2006.)
Artist: Lupe Fiasco
Current Grammys: 1 (Best Urban/Alternative Performance for “Daydreamin” w/ Jill Scott)
Album Nominated: Lupe Fiasco’s The Cool
Singles: “Superstar,” “Dumb It Down,” “Paris, Tokyo,” “Hip-Hop Saved My Life”
Cig Rating: N/A [December 21st, 2008] (Would have received 4 Cigs)
Likelihood Of Winning: Dark, chilling, and heavy on calories from food for thought, Lupe Fiasco’s The Cool is a music lover’s dream for it was daring yet still maintained confinement in the laws of a accessible song structure (“Hello, Goodbye” not withstanding). Unfortunately its 2007 release date will be the downfall of Lupe’s Grammy hopes seeing that it will be all but oblivious in the eyes of the public (and most likely a review committee).
Current Grammys: 0
Singles: “Be A Nigger Too” (12″ only), “Hero,” “Make The World Go Round”
Cig Rating: 4 Cigs [July 18th, 2008]
Likelihood Of Winning: Not a chance. While it’s hard to believe Nasir Jones has never earned a Grammy (“If I Ruled The World” anyone!!??!,) there’s nothing about the man’s ninth album that screams “award winner.” At least not on the commercial side. And if the reasoning behind the album’s nameless nature isn’t enough to scare the committee away, then surely the unabashed content of venom like “America” and “Sly Fox” will. The real prize will be to actually get him to perform, however.
Current Grammys: 2 (Most Notably: Best Rap Solo Performance for “What You Know” from the album King)
Album Nominated: Paper Trail
Singles: “No Matter What,” “Whatever You Like,” “Swing Your Rag,” “What Up, What’s Haapnin,” “Swagga Like Us,” “Live Your Life”
Cig Rating: 4 Cigs [September 30th, 2008]
Likelihood Of Winning: With the mountain of adversity Clifford Harris faced over the past year and a half, he channeled all the negativity and harnessed it into his notepad to create his most introspective and balanced album of his career. Everybody likes a success story and considering that Tip is already popular as the prom king, look for him to take the crown as well for this unimportant, yet secretly coveted award.
For the rest of the 2009 Grammy Award Nominees, visit the official Grammy website.