The most critically-acclaimed records and best charting artists of the year are within this field so it’s more competitive than ever. Both breakthrough acts an returnees are up for the race. Also the fact that the GRAMMY Nominations Concert includes a larger line-up of hip-hop acts could be use as a forecast that rappers might lead the nominations this year.
Best Rap Performance: The first certain lock here is this year’s best-selling single (“Thrift Shop”) by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis/Wanz. Another outstanding collaboration that cannot possibly be snubbed is A$ap Rocky/2 Chainz/Drake/Kendrick Lamar (“F**kin’ Problems”). The latter two could score a double nomination here. Drake is up with (“Started from the Bottom”) and Kendrick Lamar (“Swimming Pools (Drank)”) or they could also get nominated together for (“Poetic Justice”). Other contenders in order of likelihood are: Eminem (“Berzerk”); Kanye West (“New Slaves”); Jay-Z (“Tom Ford”); T.I./Lil Wayne (“Ball”); The Game/2Chainz/Rick Ross (“Ali Bomaye”)
Best Rap/Sung Collaboration: Since the hottest “rap/sung collaborations” were crossover hits submitted the Pop Duo/Group category, competition will not be as fierce as I thought it could be leaving now a major winning chance to Jay-Z/Justin Timberlake (“Holy Grail”). Another sure berth here is Brad Paisley/LL Cool J (“Live for You”) because we know NARAS love LL Cool J very much. The other locks are J. Cole/Miguel (“Power Trip”); Wale/Rihanna (“Bad”) and Kendrick Lamar/Mary J. Blige (“Now or Never”).
Best Rap Song: For this particular category I’ll be considering songwriters over the songs themselves. Off course newbies Macklemore & Ryan Lewis (“Thrift Shop”) and Kendrick Lamar (“Swimming Pools (Drank)”)/(“Poetic Justic”) are locks. Other former winners/nominees with new songs this year are Kanye West/Malik Jones/Mike Dean (“New Slaves”); Shawn Carter (“Holy Grail”)/(“Oceans”)/(“Tom Ford”); Marshall Matters (“Berzerk”)/(“Survival”).
Best Rap Album: This category is packed than ever, as aforementioned, with the most critically-acclaimed albums of the year. We could have for another year more than five nods. Locks are Kendrick Lamar (Good Kid, M.A.A.D. City); Drake (Nothing Was the Same) and Kanye West (Yeezus). The other strong candidates are Macklemore & Ryan Lewis (The Heist); J. Cole (Born Sinner) and Jay-Z (Magna Carta Holy Grail). Darkhorses include A$ap Rocky (Long. Live. ASAP); Wale (The Gifted); The Game (Jesus Piece); T.I. (Trouble Man) and Lil Wayne (I Am Not A Human Being II); Wiz Khalifa (O.N.I.F.C.)