The 53rd Grammy Awards are upon us, and they bring with them dozens of artists competing in 109 different categories. The performers on the show — which airs live on Sunday, February 13 — include Eminem, Cee Lo Green, Lady Gaga, Rihanna, Drake, Arcade Fire, Justin Bieber, Miranda Lambert, Katy Perry, Muse, B.o.B, Usher, Bruno Mars, Jaden Smith and Janelle Monae. It promises to be one of the biggest nights in the history of music, and MTV News will be bringing you wall-to-wall coverage of the big event.
But the awards are the big draw, and just as the MTV Newsroom Blog does with the MTV Video Music Awards, here are a series of guides to some of the biggest categories on the docket. This time around: Best Rap Album.
Though as not as high-profile as the prize for Album of the Year, the Best Rap Album category arguably has more heavy hitters than it’s broad-minded counterpart. Of the five albums nominated for the prize, four of them were true smashes — and also managed to have incredible legs (only the Roots’ How I Got Over wasn’t a commercial success, and arguably wasn’t even the best Roots album to come out last year if you consider their tag-team effort with John Legend on Wake Up!).
It isn’t just about sales either, as Eminem’s Recovery, Drake’s Thank Me Later, Jay-Z’s The Blueprint 3 and B.o.B’s The Adventures of Bobby Ray not only sold big numbers but also pushed hip-hop into exciting and fascinating new directions. Eminem raised the bar for lyricism, Drake introduced a new kind of energy, Jay explored darkness and B.o.B hopped genres like a Gummi Bear on a pogo stick.
But which one will walk away with the hardware? Eminem is the most-nominated artist at this year’s show, so it’s always a good bet to go with the guy who has the most. But the voters could be looking to reward Jay-Z for a stellar year and B.o.B for crossing so many lines and appealing to so many people. However, Eminem has won this particular prize four times before, so he’s almost a lock for a fifth.
Notable Winners: The Fugees, The Score (1997); Kanye West, The College Dropout (2005); Lil Wayne, Tha Carter III (2009)
Notable Robberies: Diddy’s No Way Out is actually pretty excellent, though it’s not better than the albums it topped in 1998 (including Missy Elliott’s Supa Dupa Fly, Wyclef Jean’s The Carnival and Notorious B.I.G.’s Life After Death). Also, even Eminem would admit that his own The Slim Shady LP probably should have lost the Best Rap Album prize to the Roots’ Things Fall Apart in 2000.
Who do you think will win the Grammy for Best Rap Album? Let us know in the comments!