Ye (Kanye West) Returns to the Grammy Forefront With Five Nominations

Next year, the 64th annual Grammy Awards will be a battle royale between some of the biggest names in the music industry. Though singer Jon Baptise reigns supreme with a staggering 11 nominations, it’s the rap field that may serve as the most contentious clash, with a number of A-listers nominated. On Tuesday afternoon (Nov. 23), Kanye West, Drake, J. Cole, and more dominated the rap categories, with West walking away with five nominations, most for his latest album DONDA. 

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West, now known as Ye, currently has 22 Grammy wins and will have an opportunity to finally clinch that elusive album of the year win he’s been longing for throughout his career. The storylines are abundant for West; not only does DONDA receive an album of the year look over Drake’s Certified Lover Boy, but he will go against long-time rival Taylor Swift in the same category. West will have an equally tricky path in the best rap album category, as he’ll go against some of the genre’s brightest stars:  J. Cole, Tyler, The Creator, Drake, and last year’s winner, Nas.

Cole was also a big winner today by earning four Grammy nominations. Though the star rapper has previously expressed his disdain for the Grammys, he will have a chance to hoist another gold trophy after a dazzling performance from his sixth studio album, The Off-Season. In 2020, Cole scored his first Grammy victory, when 21 Savage’s “a lot” won best rap song, serving as a feature. Now, Cole has a chance to return the favor to Savage, who (along with Morray) appeared on the Dreamville star’s single “my. life,” which received two nominations this year, for best rap song and best rap song performance. 

After slamming the Grammys in 2020 for failing to acknowledge Igor as more than a rap album, next January, Tyler, The Creator, will have the opportunity to flex his lyrical muscles if he can secure a victory for his newest album, Call Me By Your Name. The project was a complete 180 from 2019’s Igor, as Tyler returned to his rap roots and served up an ambitious 16-track LP that also served as an homage to DJ Drama’s revered Gangsta Grillz mixtape series, with Drama himself serving as host on the set. 

Rising hop-hop stars Baby Keem and Saweetie, also made splashy moves today, both earning multiple nods. Keem garnered three total nominations this year, including best new artist. The cousin of Kendrick Lamar — as well as his co-star on “Family Ties,” which received nominations for best rap song and best rap performance — Keem will hope to have a seat at the winner’s table alongside his relative, who already has 13 wins under his belt. Saweetie, a breakout star with multiple Hot 100 hits to her credit this year, will go against Keem for best new artist and best rap song, the latter for her Doja Cat-assisted single “Best Friend.”

As for major snubs, look no further than Drake and Megan Thee Stallion. Despite notching the year’s best number for first-week units moved — as well as a record-breaking nine songs in the top ten on the Billboard Hot 100 — in its debut week, Certified Lover Boy failed to get any recognition for album of the year. (The album that held the honor for 2021’s biggest week prior to CLB, Ye’s Donda, was recognized in the AOTY category.) And though Megan netted three awards last year, including best new artist, her debut album Good News didn’t receive any nominations today. Still, Megan’s 2021 single “Thot S–t” found recognition in best rap performance. 

Be on the lookout for the 64th annual Grammy Awards, which will take place in Los Angeles on Jan. 31.