Rap Grammy nominations always an angry Twitter make. There is no shortage of characters throwing shade at the Academy for omitting this guy (or gal) or for sending a couple nods to an act who may not be deserving. This year’s lineup came with its tweeted criticism (see: here) but a closer look at the nominations shows there aren’t many moments of clarity other than the Grammys trying to make up for last year’s high-profile blunder, that time when Macklemore strolled away with four awards last January, specifically the best rap album trophy, beating out Kendrick Lamar’s pristine debut good kid, m.A.A.d city.
This year, it seems like a critic can’t step into a category without seeing K.Dot claim the gold that he rightfully deserves. His second major studio effort To Pimp A Butterfly (Aftermath/Interscope/Universal) earned rounds of applause for its excellence — and not just Black excellence, though that was the LP’s foundation. Its heart-clutching self-awareness (“The Blacker The Berry” and “Mortal Man”), transparent frustration with society’s ills (“King Kunta”) and vivid wordplay (“These Walls”) found a home with the masses, proving his bars matter. To disregard the opus would be a second strike for the Grammys, so Lamar’s 11 nominations this year are overdue.
Luckily, there was mad love to share as J. Cole’s heralded set 2014 Forest Hills Drive also made the best rap album nominations. Here, Nicki Minaj got a shout out for her emotionally baring LP The Pinkprint while Drake’s viral mixtape-slash-album If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late made the list. Dr. Dre’s West Coast ode Compton — his first official release in 16 years — also nabbed a nod.
Noticeably absent, though, is one of the genre’s 2015 MVPs, Future. While the Grammy board doesn’t hand out awards for launching a fan Hive, the Atlanta rapper banged on every eardrum with his previous release DS2 — his first No. 1 album on the Billboard 200 — and joint project with Drake called What a Time to Be Alive. Whether forwarding blessings from the trap or serving bass at nearly every music festival this year, it feels a little awk to disregard the one who made “Commas” an anthem for all salary levels.
There’s also this guy: Fetty Wap. You might have heard of him. The Paterson, New Jersey rep released the monster smash “Trap Queen” then proceeded to elbow drop the Billboard Hot 100 with four simultaneous top 10 singles, including the aforementioned “Trap Queen,” “Again,” “My Way” featuring Monty and “679” alongside Remy Boyz. Still, the history-making feat couldn’t land him a best new artist nod, a true WTF moment. As consolation, he was thrown into the best rap performance category for “Trap Queen,” which, at this point, is better than no nods.
This isn’t a “im upset” (post to be) rant. This is a- ok so that wasn’t good enough. I’ll be back. Have my Grammy’s ready.
— OMARION (@1Omarion) December 7, 2015
Look to R&B and it’s hard to follow the Academy’s train of thought. Omarion felt some ways about “Post To Be” — arguably a home run when it comes to this year’s hits — landing zero nominations while semi-known acts like Kehlani, Lianne La Havas and The Internet earned Best Urban Contemporary Album nominations. D’Angelo even earned himself a record of the year nod (!!!). It’s hard to hate on the Grammys when their priority isn’t the Internet’s happiness, but consider Twitter wasted energy to throw pitchforks over their seemingly “out-of-touch” nominations. When it comes to rap and R&B at the Grammys, it’s anyone’s game — at least, that’s what their 2016 picks make it out to be.