Looks like hip-hop is going to have a big night on January 26 at the 2014 Grammy Awards. Perennial favorite Jay Z racked up the most nominations with nine; Macklemore & Ryan Lewis and Kendrick Lamar are tied for seven awards; Drake earned himself five.
For the most part, the Grammy committee got the hip-hop noms right this year; the Best Rap Album category is pretty solid, the Best Rap Performance and Best Rap Song categories are hard to argue, but what the hell is going on in that Best Rap/Sung Collaboration category?
Since 2002, the Grammys have recognized the marriage between hip-hop, R&B and sometimes pop with a category that awards the best collaboration between a rapper and a singer. Eve and Gwen Stefani won the first award with "Let Me Blow Your Mind," and since then, Nelly and Kelly Rowland ("Dilemma"), Usher, Lil Jon and Ludacris ("Yeah!") and Estelle and Kanye West ("American Boy") have all shared the honor.
For the 2014 awards, J. Cole and Miguel are nominated for "Power Trip," Wiz Khalifa and the Weeknd are recognized for "Remember You" and Kendrick Lamar and Mary J. Blige are in contention with "Now or Never." Jay Z, who has won the award six times in his career is nominated twice; once for "Holy Grail" with Justin Timberlake and again for his "Part II (On the Run)" record with his wife Beyoncé.
That last one is a head-scratcher. "Part II" is a fine song, but it's no "Crazy in Love," and in a year where there were plenty of Rap & B gems, it seems like the committee just chose the category nominees based off name recognition alone. Kendrick Lamar and Mary's "Now or Never" is also an unlikely choice seeing as how the song appeared as a bonus offering from the deluxe edition of his good kid, m.A.A.d city LP and was never released as a single.
Wale has surely mastered the rap and R&B collaborative balance; this year, he struck platinum with his tragic, top 40 single "Bad" with Tiara Thomas and made plenty of waves with the song's Rihanna remix. If not Wale, then maybe Kanye West for his Charlie Wilson-assisted single "Bound 2."
Instead of Jay Z, J. Cole could've justifiably gotten a pair of nominations — the second for his uplifting "Crooked Smile" with TLC, which cracked Billboard's top 40 and earned him a gold plaque.
Lil Wayne, Future and Drake's "Love Me" would've been an unlikely choice, but even though all three artists are rappers, Weezy is the only one rapping on the hook as Drake and Future sing his chorus. It sold more than a million copies, garnered 93 million views on YouTube and became a top 10 Billboard hit.
Oh well, maybe next year.