The 55th Annual GRAMMY Awards introduced the world to a new roster of GRAMMY winners in spectacular fashion. Once again, the Rap Field demonstrated its spontaneity, versatility and longevity with winners who represent decades of cultivating the genre.
I was pleasantly surprised to see Drake take home the GRAMMY for Best Rap Album for Take Care, and Jay-Z and Kanye West nearly sweeping the field, winning in the Best Performance and Best Song categories for "N****s In Paris" and Best Rap/Sung Collaboration for "No Church In The Wild" featuring Frank Ocean and The-Dream.
The competition in the Best Rap Album was fierce. Lupe Fiasco and Nas both delivered gritty, hard-hitting albums that arguably rank among their best creative work. The Roots' Undun was a strong addition to their already stellar catalog, while Rick Ross' God Forgives, I Don't was also a strong contender. Among these hip-hop gladiators, Drake emerged victorious as his Take Care album embraces mainstream popularity with introspective transparency.
"N****s In Paris" is an infectious, club-friendly piece of ear candy featuring two of the hottest rappers in the game. It's the classic formula for a hit rap song. Another strong contender was Nas' "Daughters."
"No Church In The Wild" was definitely one of the more prominent offerings in the Best Rap/Sung Collaboration category. This single has been featured in numerous commercials, movie trailers and in venues worldwide. The steady beat, Jay-Z's flow, West's boastfulness, and Ocean's honesty made this song the pulse of rap in 2012.
Similar to Jimmy Jam's unapologetic failure to censor the "N-word" when he announced the nominees during the GRAMMY Pre-Telecast Ceremony, rap in its purest form is still raw. This year's nominees and winners represent rap's past and present, while giving a glimpse of its exciting future.