New Rap Grammy Category Greeted With A Shrug

Despite addition of new award, many say the academy doesn't select the best in hip-hop.

When it comes to awards shows, the Grammys have never been tops on rappers' to-do lists. Many feel the awards program doesn't show true love to hip-hoppers.

Big Pun poked fun at what he felt to be an award injustice on last year's "It's So Hard" ("Almost went home with the Grammy/ Next year bringing on three for the family"). Others have been more blatant by snubbing Grammy night, as Eminem did when he won in 2000 for Best Rap Solo Performance and Best Rap Album

Apparently the Recording Academy's latest peace offering is still not enough. Despite the academy's recent announcement that it has added a fourth rap Grammy category — Best Rap/Sung Collaboration — some MCs are not impressed.

"I don't know," said Fabolous, whose collaborations with singers Lil' Mo, 112, Jimmy Cozier, Mariah Carey and Nate Dogg would qualify for the new category. "I think they should get a new board to handle the hip-hop. They should get some hip-hop people to handle the hip-hop board. They probably have the same people that handle pop and country pick the rap category. And all they gonna do is look at the Billboard [charts] and see who's at the top. 'OK, Will Smith, Eminem.'"

In the new category, songs that feature rappers guest-starring on singers' songs and vice versa can be nominated, whereas before such songs had been relegated to the category of Best Performance by a Rap Duo or Group. Method Man and Mary J. Blige were nominated and won in 1996 for a remix of the former's "All I Need," despite having no official ties as a duo.

There are a couple of catches with the new category, however — the track nominated must be a true collaborative effort, and the guest star must be credited in the song's billing. For instance, Nate Dogg would miss out with a song like "Oh No," by Mos Def and Pharoahe Monch and featuring Nate singing just the hook. On the other hand, Nate would be eligible with Dr. Dre and Kurupt for "Xxplosive." There, Nate sings the chorus and a verse.

Lil' Mo's "Superwoman" (featuring Fabolous), Ray J's "Wait a Minute" (featuring Lil' Kim) and R. Kelly's remix of "Fiesta" (featuring Jay-Z and Boo and Gotti) are strong possibilities because of their popularity.

Recording Academy President Michael Greene could not be reached for comment.

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