7 Surprising 2016 Grammy Nominations: From Paul McCartney's Rap Nods to Amy Poehler & More

Paul McCartney
Yuliya Christensen/Redferns via Getty Images

Paul McCartney performs at Roskilde Festival  on July 4, 2015 in Roskilde, Denmark. 

From Mikhail Gorbachev to Orson Welles, there's a storied history of oddball Grammy winners.

And while the list of 2016 Grammy nominees constitutes a solid bunch, there were still a few unexpected nominations that caught us off guard. 

Here are seven that you probably didn't see coming.

Paul McCartney

Earlier this year, Paul McCartney scored his first Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs hit thanks to his work on Kanye West's "Only One." Now, as the year draws to a close, the Beatle has earned another unlikely honor: 2 nominations in Grammy rap categories. Macca is up for best rap performance and best rap song thanks to his work on Kanye's "All Day," a track based on a melody McCartney wrote in the '70s that also features Sir Paul's whistling.

2016 Grammy Nominations: See the Full List of Nominees

Joni Mitchell

Given that Joni Mitchell hasn't released new music since 2007, and most Joni Mitchell news in 2015 revolved around her hospitalization, it's surprising to see the folk legend receive a Grammy nom this year. That's because prior to her health scare, Mitchell wrote liner notes for her own career-spanning box set, Love Has Many Faces: A Quartet, A Ballet, Waiting To Be Danced, which earned her a nom in the best album notes category.

Highly Suspect

Although the Massachusetts hard rock trio has gotten positive notices over the course of their career, it was a surprise to see them up for 2 Grammys in rock categories -- best rock album for Mister Asylum and "Lydia" for best rock song. While "Lydia" worked its way up to No. 4 on the Mainstream Rock Songs chart, their debut album which dropped this summer, didn't place high on the Billboard 200, making their nomination for best rock album rather surprising.

Amy Poehler

UCB/SNL/Parks & Recreation alum Amy Poehler has a new feather to add her to multi-hyphenate cap: Grammy nominee. Poehler is up in the best spoken word category for the audiobook of her memoir-ish Yes Please, which received mixed reviews upon its release in 2014.

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Jimmy Carter

In the same category, Jimmy Carter scores another Grammy nomination for his audiobook A Full Life: Reflections at Ninety. The former U.S. president has previously been nominated in that category several times, and actually won it in 2007 for his book Our Endangered Values. So yes, surprising as the nomination seems, Carter is already a Grammy fave.

Nicki Minaj

Don't get us wrong -- "Truffle Butter" deserves to be up for best rap performance. We are, however, surprised the typically safe Grammys gave a nod to such a NSFW track -- the definition of truffle butter is some Marquis de Sade shit, and the verses from Minaj, Drake and Lil Wayne don't hold back either.

Hiatus Kaiyote

Musically ambitious Australian neo-soul outfit Hiatus Kaiyote had a good 2015, but it was hardly a breakthrough year -- they barely qualify as indie stars at this point. Despite their small profile (at least for now), the band scored a best R&B performance nom for the song "Breathing Underwater" from their second album Choose Your Weapon. An unexpected but worthy nod.

2016 Grammys