The 56th Annual Grammy Awards

Grammy Predictions: The Rap Category

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When this year's Grammy nominations are announced on Friday, three past winners for Best Rap Album are likely to again be in the running for that award. Drake, who won last year for Take Care, is likely to return to the finals with Nothing Was The Same. Jay Z, who had the 1998 winner with Vol. 2…Hard Knock Life, is in the mix with Magna Carta…Holy Grail. And Kanye West, a four-time winner in the category, is a contender with Yeezus.

Another past winner, Lil Wayne, has an outside chance of a nomination for I Am Not A Human Being II. Lil Wayne had the 2008 winner, Tha Carter III.

If Drake wins, he'll become the third artist to win back-to-back awards in this category. Eminem won for 1999 and 2000 and again for 2009 and 2010. West won for 2004 and 2005.

[Related: Grammy Predictions: The R&B Categories]

Here are the likely nominees and runners-up for Best Rap Album and in the two performance categories in the rap field.

The eligibility year closed on Sept. 30. The awards will be presented on Jan. 26 at Staples Center.

Best Rap Album

Likely nominees:

Drake's Nothing Was The Same

Kendrick Lamar's good kid, m.A.A.d. city

Macklemore & Ryan Lewis' The Heist

Jay Z's Magna Carta…Holy Grail

Kanye West's Yeezus

Also possible: J. Cole's Born Sinner, A.$.A.P. Rocky's Love.Live.A$AP, Lil Wayne's I Am Not A Human Being II, 2 Chainz' B.O.A.T.S. II #METIME, Tyga's Hotel California, Tyler, The Creator's Wolf, Wale's The Gifted, Wiz Khalifa's O.N.I.F.C., Juicy J's Stay Trippy, Big Sean's Hall Of Fame, Tech N9ne's Something Else, Chief Keef's Finally Rich, French Montana's Excuse My French.

Note: Eminem's The Marshall Mathers LP 2 was released after the close of this year's eligibility period.

[Related: Grammy Preview: 12 Grammy Facts You Won’t Believe Are True]

Best Rap Performance

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At the VMAs, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis took Best Hip-Hop Video for "Can't Hold Us" (featuring Ray Dalton). That smash was entered in the Grammy process in the category of Best Pop Duo/Group Performance. But Macklemore & Ryan Lewis will be represented in this category with an even stronger hit, their breakthrough smash "Thrift Shop" (featuring Wanz).

Jay Z and Kanye West won in this category the last two years, with a pair of songs from their Watch The Throne collabo: "Otis" and "Ni**as In Paris." Both artists have songs in contention this year ("Tom Ford" and "New Slaves," respectively), though nominations may prove elusive.

Likely nominees:

Macklemore & Ryan Lewis featuring Wanz's "Thrift Shop"

Eminem's "Berzerk"

Kendrick Lamar's "Swimming Pools (Drank)"

Drake's "Started From The Bottom"

A$AP Rocky featuring Drake, 2 Chainz & Kendrick Lamar's "Fu**in' Problems"

Also possible: Ace Hood featuring Rick Ross & Future's "Bugatti," Jay Z's "Tom Ford," Kanye West's "New Slaves," B.o.B featuring 2 Chainz's "Headband," Chief Keef's "Love Sosa," Trinidad James' "All Gold Everything," Major Lazer featuring Bruno Mars, Tyga & Mystic's "Bubble Butt," Tyga featuring Rick Ross' "Dope," Young Jeezy featuring 2 Chainz's "R.I.P."

[Related: Last-Minute Grammy Dramas]

Best Rap/Sung Collaboration

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"Holy Grail" by Jay Z featuring Justin Timberlake, the biggest hit from Jay Z's latest album, is the front-runner in this category. Both artists have won before in this category. Jay Z has won here a record six times. Timberlake won once, for his 2006 hit "My Love" (featuring T.I.).

Likely nominees:

Jay Z featuring Justin Timberlake's "Holy Grail"

J. Cole featuring Miguel's "Power Trip"

Wale featuring Rihanna's "Bad"

Big Sean featuring Lil Wayne & Jhene Aiko's "Beware"

Lil Wayne featuring Detail's "No Worries"

Also possible: Jay Z featuring Beyonce's "Part II (On The Run)," Kendrick Lamar featuring Mary J. Blige's "Now Or Never," Tyler, The Creator featuring Frank Ocean's "Slater."

Who and what do you think will be nominated? Weigh in below.

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