Drake’s sophomore album, Take Care, is the front-runner to win the Grammy for Best Rap Album. Drake’s 2010 debut album, Thank Me Later, was nominated for the award, but lost to Eminem’sRecovery. Take Care also has a good chance at a nomination for Album of the Year.
2 Chainz’s debut album, Based On A T.R.U. Story, is also likely to be nominated for Best Rap Album. In addition, 2 Chainz has several strong candidates for Best Rap Performance: His own hit “No Lie” (featuring Drake) and two songs on which he is featured, Kanye West’s “Mercy” and Nicki Minaj’s “Beez In The Trap.”
Frank Ocean, who is expected to dominate the nominations in the “marquee categories” (Album, Record and Song of the Year and Best New Artist), may also pull in a nom for Best Rap Album for Odd Future’s The OF Tape Vol. 2. Ocean is a member of the hip-hop collective, which is led by rapper/producer Tyler, The Creator. Ocean could also be nominated for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration for Jay-Z/Kanye West’s “No Church In The Wild,” on which he was featured.
Nas and The Roots, who are past nominees for Best Rap Album, have a good chance of making it back to the finals with Life Is Good and undun, respectively. The Roots have been the house band on NBC’s Late Night With Jimmy Fallon since the show’s premiere in 2009.
Kanye West Presents GOOD Music Cruel Summer, a Various Artists compilation, also has a fairly good chance of being nominated. That’s the way the title is rendered on The Billboard 200. The Recording Academy’s Entry List shows the title as simply Cruel Summer. The album would probably have had a better chance of making the finals if the longer title had been used. Kanye West’s name has a lot of power. He has won Best Rap Album four times. That’s second only to Eminem, who has won the award five times.
The Jay-Z/West album Watch The Throne was a finalist for Best Rap Album last year. The biggest hit from the album, “Ni**as In Paris,” is likely to be nominated this year for Best Rap Performance and Best Rap Song.
The Grammy nominations will be announced on a live TV special on Dec. 5. The awards will be presented on Feb. 10.
Here are the five likely nominees (followed by some key alternates) in all of the categories in the rap field.
Best Rap Album
Drake, Take Care
Odd Future, The OF Tape Vol. 2
2 Chainz, Based On A T.R.U. Story
Nas, Life Is Good
The Roots, Undun
Lupe Fiasco, Food & Liquor II: The Great American Rap Album, Pt. 1
Various Artists, Kanye West Presents GOOD Music Cruel Summer
Common, The Dreamer, The Believer
B.o.B, Strange Clouds
Tyga, Careless World Rise Of The Last King
Young Jeezy, TM: 103 Hustlerz Ambition
Rick Ross, God Forgives, I Don’t
Best Rap Performance
Jay-Z/Kanye West, “Ni**as In Paris”
2 Chainz featuring Drake, “No Lie”
Kanye West featuring Big Sean, Pusha T & 2 Chainz, “Mercy”
Nicki Minaj featuring 2 Chainz, “Beez In The Trap”
Drake featuring Lil Wayne, “H.Y.F.R. (Hell Yeah F***ing Right)
Tyga, “Rack City”
Flo Rida, “Good Feeling”
Odd Future, “Oldie”
Kendrick Lamar featuring Dr. Dre, “The Recipe”
B.o.B featuring Lil Wayne, “Strange Clouds”
Rick Ross featuring Dr. Dre & Jay-Z, “3 Kings”
Wiz Khalifa, “Work Hard, Play Hard”
Best Rap/Sung Collaboration
Wale featuring Miguel, “Lotus Flower Bomb”
Snoop Dogg and Wiz Khalifa featuring Bruno Mars, “Young, Wild & Free”
Rihanna featuring Jay-Z, “Talk That Talk”
Alicia Keys featuring Nicki Minaj, “Girl On Fire”
Jay-Z/Kanye West featuring The-Dream & Frank Ocean, “No Church In The Wild”
Justin Bieber featuring Big Sean, “As Long As You Love Me”
B.o.B featuring Taylor Swift, “Both Of Us”
Flo Rida featuring Sia, “Wild Ones”
Pitbull featuring Chris Brown, “International Love”
T-Pain featuring Chris Brown, “Best Love Song”
Kelly Rowland featuring Lil Wayne, “Ice”
Best Rap Song
“Lotus Flower Bomb” (Wale featuring Miguel), O. Akintimehin, S. Joseph Dew, Jerrin Howard, Walker Johnson & M. Jontel Pimentel, songwriters
“Mercy” (Kanye West featuring Big Sean, Pusha T & 2 Chainz), Sean Anderson, Denzie Beagle, Tauheed Epps, Winston Riley, Stephan Taft, James Thomas, Terrence Thornton, Kanye West & Reggie Williams
“The Motto” (Drake & Lil Wayne), Dwayne Carter & Aubrey Graham
“Ni**as In Paris (Jay-Z & Kanye West), Shawn Carter, Mike Dean, W.A. Donaldson, Chauncey Hollis & Kanye West
“No Lie (2 Chainz featuring Drake), Tauheed Epps, Aubrey Drake Graham & Michael Williams
“Beez In The Trap” (Nicki Minaj featuring 2 Chainz), T. Epps, M. Jordan & O. Maraj
“Rack City” (Tyga), Dijon McFarlane & Michael Stevenson
“Young, Wild & Free” (Snoop Dogg and Wiz Khalifa featuring Bruno Mars), C. Broadus, C. Brown, P. Hernandez, P. Lawrence, A. Levine, & C. Thomaz, songwriters