We in the Hip-Hop community have such a tenuous, conditional relationship with the Grammy Awards and the voters that select the nominations don’t we? Each year like clockwork, the nominations come out and we are alternately mad or overjoyed at perceived slights or meaningful nods. On the one hand we point to those slights as evidence that the voters don’t know shit about Rap music and shouldn’t even bother, and on the other we rejoice on those rare occaisons that they actually get shit right.
This year is no different. Kendrick Lamar leads all nominees with 11 nominations in categories such as Album of The Year, Song of The Year, Best Rap Song and Best Rap Performance. How he managed to sway the Academy with such an unapologetically dense, revolutionary and all-around Black album as To Pimp A Butterfly is beyond me, but damn if he doesn’t deserve it.
You can view the full list of noms in all catregories here, but I’ve collected a few notable takeaways below.
- In addition to his nods in the two major categores mentioned above, K.Dot is also sharing a couple of noms with Taylor Swfit of all people for their collaboration on “Bad Blood.” He also grabbed one in the Dance Recording category for his work on “Never Catch Me” from Flying Lotus.
- Drake’s Meek Mill diss “Back To Back,” was nominated for Best Rap Performance. This was hardly the best Drake song released this year and it’s probably only being nominated because it charted so quickly upon its release. We now live in an era when social media mentions and streams are taken into account by Billboard so I think it’s safe to say a diss track released via Soundcloud would never have been acknowledged in previous years. Maybe Meek’s take will get nominated next year.
- Because of the collaborative nature of Kanye West’s creative process, a bunch of people are now Grammy nominated songwriters due to the extensive credit list on “All Day.” Vic Mensa, Kendrick Lamar and Mike Dean are among the contributors who stumbled into noms because of Ye’s insistence on giving credit where its due.
- Common got a couple of nods for “Glory,” which is almost certainly due to its connection to the film Selma, but which is pretty cool regardless.
- A$AP Rocky got a nod in the music video category for “L$D,” which was a great video, but that award should go to Kendrick Lamar, Colin Tilley and the Little Homies for the “Alright” video, which was also nominated in the same category. The work K.Dot and his crew have done on all of the TPAB visuals released this year has been absolutely outstanding.
- Future, who dropped a couple of game changing mixtapes and an album this year, received exactly 0 nominations.