Biggest Hip-Hop Matchups At 2013 Grammys: Nas, Drake, Kanye West, Jay-Z

(Big Sean wants that Grammy for G.O.O.D. Music)

By Sowmya Krishnamurthy

This is potentially shaping up to be a big year for hip-hop and R&B at Sunday’s Grammy Awards. Frank Ocean is a frontrunner in several categories, racking up an impressive 6 nods, while Miguel has 5 of his own. Kanye West and Jay-Z both have 6 nominations each and the Best Rap Album category is poised to be a close race with Nas, Drake and Rick Ross among the contenders.

Frank Ocean is the only trace of hip-hop/R&B in Album of the Year for Channel Orange, as well as in Record of the Year for  “Thinkin Bout You.” Not to mention, a nod for Best New Artist. Many speculate that he's a shoo-in for Best New Artist, given his critically acclaimed music and very public personal life, but the Recording Academy is known to pull some major upsets.

Miguel is the only R&B singer in the Song of the Year category for his sultry “Adorn” but he faces stiff competition from the likes of Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe” and Fun’s “We Are Young.”


The big face-offs will be in the dedicated rap categories. Best Rap Performance pits Drake and Wayne’s “HYFR” against The Throne’s “Paris” and G.O.O.D. Music’s “Mercy.” All catchy songs that were hits in their own right. Best Rap Song is also a tight category with Wale’s “Lotus Flower Bomb” going head-to-head with Drake’s “The Motto.” Will America’s love for the term YOLO help Drizzy snag his first Grammy ever? The Grammy voters may go a completely different route and opt for a more positive song, giving the award to Nas for his “Daughters.”

Every rap fan will have an eye on Best Rap Album. This is the category to watch with nominees: Drake (Take Care) Lupe Fiasco (Food & Liquor II: The Great American Rap Album, Pt. 1), The Roots (Undun?), Nas (Life Is Good), Rick Ross (God Forgives, I Don't?) and 2 Chainz (Based on a T.R.U. Story). Veteran Nas is the frontrunner to take the award with his milestone album but don’t discount The Roots, who have enjoyed mainstream and hip-hop success for years or Drake, whose star was bigger than ever in 2012.

If you ask Lupe Fiasco, he thinks that Nas will be the winner. In a recent interview, Lu took himself out of the running, saying, "Every album since Food & Liquor, my first official release, has been nominated for Best Rap Album at the Grammys. No. Clearly I won't...I think they'll give it to Nas," he continued. "I think they'll give it to Nas, to be honest."

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