Rap vs The Grammys

Best Rap Album Grammy


Ben Bliss ‘23, Editor in Chief

Year after year, the Recording Academy finds itself with significant backlash from fans and artists over their coveted Grammy nominations. This year, both Drake and The Weeknd have withheld all submissions of their work from 2022 — a move in response to the increasing number of deserving artists who are “snubbed” in favor of more mainstream, poppy ones.

In no awards category is this movement more apparent than in rap. In 2014, Macklemore infamously dedicated an apology to Kendrick Lamar for winning “Best Rap Album” over Kendrick’s good kid m.A.A.d. city. Although 10-year-old me would have been ecstatic to learn that the “Thrift Shop” album took home first place, I now recognize that crowning the more radio-friendly project was a robbery of Kendrick’s masterful penmanship.

2023’s nominations reveal the same story. Thankfully, the rap album that undoubtedly should, and probably will, win is listed: Kendrick’s Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers. Sincerely a revolutionary album for hip-hop in terms of subject matter, introspectivity, and creativity, this would be a difficult project to snub, even for the Grammys. Except for Pusha T’s It’s Almost Dry, which features immaculate production quality, the other nominations are, frankly, embarrassing. 

Personally, I believe that Jack Harlow’s nomination for Come Home The Kids Miss You is the sole embodiment of why Grammy viewership is down 75% since 2012. DJ Khaled’s force-fed GOD DID and Future’s uninspired I NEVER LIKED YOU also fail to offer the Grammys any redeeming credit. Harlow’s project lacks any degree of ambition or unique talent whatsoever. He rode the TikTok and radio fame of “First Class” to conceal the incredibly average nature of his most recent work; Harlow has left virtually no impact on the rap community besides demonstrating how to create one of the most forgettable albums of all time.

Three records far more deserving of the Best Rap Album Grammy — though I could list twenty, seriously — are JID’s The Forever Story, Denzel Curry’s Melt My Eyez See Your Future, and Saba’s Few Good Things. JID’s third solo album especially impressed me. With dozens of his patented flow switches, JID engraves his name alongside the likes of Young Thug, Migos, and Andre 3k, iconic Atlanta spitters who have pioneered hip-hop’s sound. His technical skill is unmatched by any rapper of this decade. 

Denzel was also more than deserving of a nomination, if not for his album then at least for “Walkin,” possibly the most perfect all-around rap single of 2022. His unbroken delivery, bar after bar, allows him to float over harmonious backing vocals. Speaking of floating, if you want to ascend in what could be the most calming minute of your life, stream Saba’s “an Interlude Called ‘Circus.’” As a whole, Saba’s record contains no shortage of cohesivity, smooth vibes, and replayable tracks.

If you are moved to watch attentively, critique, or laugh at The Grammys, tune in to CBS at 7:00 PM on February 5th.