One of the most notable stats about the Grammys is just how many iconic rappers haven’t won any. From Nas to Tupac to DMX, the list is pretty mind-boggling. Gucci Mane and Meek Mill were also surprisingly absent from the Grammy discussion before yesterday when they were finally nominated for Grammy Awards. They join a slew of notable first-time nominees like Young Thug (kind of), DaBaby and YBN Cordae. Here’s a brief overview of all the notable first-timers in hip-hop:
The juxtaposition of “Dreams & Nightmares” has seemingly defined Meek Mill’s catalog. His work is chock full of reflections on how resilience through his hardships made the way for the triumphs of his present day. He has a chance to achieve another compelling chapter in that narrative this February when his cathartic Championships album, which reflected on his unjust prison plight, has a chance to win Best Rap Album.
Lil Nas X
Month’s later, Lil Nas X’s “Old Town Road” is still causing controversy. There were many onlookers surprised that his EP got an Album Of The Year nomination. Others pondered if the controversial, historically successful smash would be nominated for Best Country Song. That didn’t happen, but perhaps his six nominations will placate him.
Many people believe that the Grammys legitimize artists, but their lack of appreciation for canonical artists actually delegitimizes them. Gucci Mane has had an immense influence on popular rap and a slew of hits through the years, but is only just now getting his first nomination for his appearance on Lizzo’s “Exactly How I Feel.” Maybe this is a feel-good moment after overcoming hardship like Meek and others in this piece, but it just has to be said: do better, Grammy committee.
Yes, technically Offset has had two nominations for his work with Migos. But “Clout’s” nomination for Best Rap Performance marks his first nomination as a solo act. A win for “Clout” would not only be a notch under Offset’s belt, but it would be awesome to see Cardi B take home some gold in an “off-year,” musically. It’ll be hard for anyone to attempt to shame a woman artist for getting pregnant and raising their baby if they’re still winning awards.
DaBaby’s having a rookie run for the record books. The Charlotte rhymer was snubbed for a Best New Artist nomination, his two nominations (Best Rap Song and Best Rap Performance) for “Suge” may be able to help to make up for the arguable oversight.
Last year, Young Thug received a Grammy as part of a veritable ensemble on “This Is America.” But his Best Rap/Sung Performance nomination for “The London” with J. Cole and Travis Scott is his first nomination as a solo act. It’s been a breakout year for Thugger, a cult favorite who has had trouble selling like his peers before his So Much Fun album. A win for “The London” would further exemplify Thug’s firm ascension into mainstream stardom.
It looks like The Lost Boy is making his way to the Grammys. His well-regarded debut album was nominated for Best Rap Album and “Bad Idea” with Chance The Rapper received a nomination for Best Rap Song. A win for either would be a great look for the young artist, who has a bright future ahead of him.
Uproxx’s Aaron Williams called Roddy Ricch’s impending stardom last year. His take has been further validated with Rich’s three Grammy nominations. His appearance on Nipsey Hussle’s “Racks In The Middle” received a nod for Best Rap Performance and Best Rap Song. And his heartfelt bars on Mustard’s “Ballin” won the two a nomination for Best Rap/Sung Performance.
Lil Baby & Gunna
Lil Baby and Gunna’s “Drip Too Hard” may seem like forever ago in today’s fast-moving music scene, but the song met the Grammy eligibility requirement by just a couple weeks. The quintessential modern trap record got the two Atlanta artists a much-deserved Grammy nomination for Best Rap/Sung Performance.
Bas, Earthgang & Young Nudy
It’s only right that Dreamville’s Revenge Of The Dreamers 3 album garnered some Grammy buzz. “Down Bad” was nominated for Best Rap Performance. And while J. Cole is solidified with or without Grammy consideration, the famous “Grammy bump” would do wonders for Bas, Young Nudy, and Earthgang.
Some artists covered here are Warner Music artists. Uproxx is an independent subsidiary of Warner Music Group.