Hip-hop has always been a roller coaster at the Grammys. The older, whiter voting block has always struggled to pick who many believe should be the right choice or at least avoid the wrong nominee to win. This year the choices are pretty mainstream, but wholly dominated by Kendrick Lamar, who accomplished the rare feat of being loved by critics and fans like. The 2016 nominees for Best Rap Song sees Kendrick Lamar nominated as a writer for Kanye West's "All Day" and again on his own single "Alright." He is joined by Drake with "Energy," Fetty Wap's hit single "Trap Queen" and "Glory" by John Legend and Common," which was written for Selma.
Who Should Win: Kendrick Lamar - Alright
Fetty Wap had a better shot at winning Best new Artist if he had been nominated, but he doesn't stand a chance her unless to voter's teenage kids are the one in charge. "Glory" feels relevant a whole award cycle ago and "Energy" is a good song, but it is hard to pick out one single track from Drake's prolific 2015 that could win this year.
Kanye West's "All Day" should have the best shot at competing with Kendrick, but the TDE man should take this home. "Alright" was released at the right time in the right environment, masterfully grasping the issue of police brutality and the struggle of poor inner city communities and spotlighting them through his own struggle growing up in Compton. His lyrics were leagues ahead of his compatriots and the track even got on radio, despite not being very commercially viable.
Who Will Win: Kendrick Lamar - Alright
While it is very difficult to predict the Grammys and their choices for rap given past voting records, the fact they gave K.Dot 11 nominations suggests that they acknowledge the feat of To Pimp A Butterfly. To shut it out of awards would cause an uproar we have not seen in music for some time.
"All Day" is the best competition to stand up to the weight of "Alright." It has a strong instrumental, witty lyrics and the name recognition, especially with Sir Paul to grab the attention of the voters, but this should Kendrick's to lose. The voters should recognize the significance that "Alright" had on hip-hop this year as the biggest track from Lamar's album. It became soundtrack for the protests across the country and even a part of Grammy promo.
They can't get this wrong... can they?