Stop The Presses!

The Rap Field

Stop The Presses!

Eminem is expected to dominate the rap field at this year's Grammy Awards, winning in four of the five rap categories. He will almost certainly take Best Rap Album for the fifth time. That's more than any other artist in the history of the category. (Kanye West is second, with three wins.)

While Eminem leads the pack, the races in the rap field are highly competitive. Four of the nominees for Best Rap Album entered The Billboard 200 at #1. Likewise, four of the contenders for Best Rap Song topped the Hot 100.

Three of this year's Record of the Year finalists, "Love The Way You Lie" by Eminem featuring Rihanna, "Empire State Of Mind" by Jay-Z and Alicia Keys and "Nothin' On You" by B.o.B featuring Bruno Mars, will also compete against each other for Best Rap Song and Best Rap/Sung Collaboration.

Assuming Eminem makes a clean sweep of the rap awards, "Empire State Of Mind" could wind up winning nothing. Last year, "Run This Town," the first single from Jay-Z's The Blueprint 3, won two Grammys (Best Rap Song and Best Rap/Sung Collaboration). It was a big hit, but not nearly as big as "Empire State Of Mind." It also isn't nearly as much of a classic. Timing, as they say, is everything.

Eminem and B.o.B featuring Bruno Mars are both set to perform on the Grammy telecast.

Let's take a closer look at the nominations in the rap field.


Best Rap Album

The nominees: B.o.B's The Adventures Of Bobby Ray, Drake's Thank Me Later, Eminem's Recovery, Jay-Z's The Blueprint 3, the Roots' How I Got Over

The likely winner: Recovery. This will be Eminem's fifth win in this category, which is more than any other artist. Of this year's other nominees, Jay-Z won in this category for 1998.


Best Rap Song

The nominees: the Jay-Z/Alicia Keys hit "Empire State Of Mind" (Jay-Z, Alicia Keys, Angela Hunte, Jane't "Jnay" Swell-Ulepic and Alexander Shuckburgh), the Eminem featuring Rihanna hit "Love The Way You Lie" (Eminem, Alexander Grant, Skylar Grey), the Eminem hit "Not Afraid" (Eminem, M. Burnett, J. Evans, L. Resto, M. Samuels), the B.o.B featuring Bruno Mars hit "Nothin' On You" (B.o.B., Bruno Mars, Philip Lawrence, Ari Levine), the Jay-Z featuring Swizz Beatz hit "On To The Next One (Jay-Z, J. Chaton, K. Dean)

The likely winner: "Love The Way You Lie." It will be close between this and "Empire State Of Mind." Eminem and Jay-Z are both past winners in this category. Jay-Z won last year for co-writing "Run This Town." Eminem won for co-writing the 2003 champ, "Lose Yourself."

Two factors weigh in Eminem's favor: "Love The Way You Lie" was also nominated for Best Short Form Music Video. And when artists are on a roll, as Eminem is this year (or, say, Jay-Z's wife, Beyonce, was last year), they are usually unstoppable.


Best Rap Solo Performance

The nominees: Drake's "Over," Eminem's "Not Afraid," Ludacris' "How Low," T.I.'s "I'm Back," Kanye West's "Power."

The likely winner: "Not Afraid." This will be Eminem's fourth win in this category, which is more than any other artist. He previously won for 1999's "My Name Is," 2000's "The Real Slim Shady" and 2003's "Lose Yourself." Of this year's other nominees, Kanye West won here for 2005's "Gold Digger" and 2007's "Stronger." T.I. won for 2006's "What You Know."


Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group

The nominees: "Shutterbug" (Big Boi, Bosko, Cutty & Mouche), "Fancy" (Drake, T.I. & Swizz Beatz), "On To The Next One" (Jay-Z and Swizz Beatz), "My Chick Bad" (Ludacris and Nicki Minaj), "Lose My Mind" (Young Jeezy and Plies)

The likely winner: "My Chick Bad." This is just a hunch, but Nicki Minaj is on fire. A win would have repercussions: Barring a rule change, it would knock Minaj out of contention for Best New Artist at next year's Grammys. (As things stand now, artists can't compete for Best New Artist if they have won a Grammy.) The second most likely outcome, which would have no such unfortunate repercussions, would be a win for "On To The Next One," which is a finalist for Best Rap Song.

Grammy trivia: Jay-Z and T.I. were working together two years ago when they won in this category for "Swagga Like Us," which also featured Kanye West and Lil Wayne. This time, they're competitors. Big Boi is a two-time winner in this category for his work with OutKast.


Best Rap/Sung Collaboration

The nominees: "Nothin' On You" (B.o.B featuring Bruno Mars), "Deuces" (Chris Brown featuring Tyga and Kevin McCall), "Love The Way You Lie" (Eminem featuring Rihanna), "Empire State Of Mind" (Jay-Z + Alicia Keys), "Wake Up! Everybody" (John Legend, The Roots, Melanie Fiona, Common)

The likely winner: "Love The Way You Lie." Again, it will be close with "Empire State Of Mind," but this seems to be Eminem's year.

Grammy trivia: Jay-Z and Rihanna were working together when they won in this category for "Umbrella" and "Run This Town" (which also featured Kanye West). This time, they're competitors. Jay-Z also won this award for 2005's "Numb/Encore," a collabo with Linkin Park.


To My Readers: If you missed my preview of the "Big Grammy Categories," here's a link. And here are links to my pop and rock and R&B previews. Next up: the country field.

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