Rap's Powerful 2010
(For a complete list of 53rd GRAMMY Awards nominees, click here.)
Did hip-hop just become fun again?
That's what I asked myself several times throughout 2010. Rap music — one of the more versatile genres — underwent a constant infusion of high energy all yearlong. From January to December, my speakers vibrated with a sense of collaborative success from every corner of the game.
The nominees in the Rap Field for the 53rd Annual GRAMMY Awards, from Eminem and Jay-Z to the Roots and Drake, continued to innovate their sound while blurring the definition of hip-hop beyond recognition. The societal challenges that filled 2010 were constantly neutralized by the boom-bap, lyrical flows and soul-stirring hooks from our favorite artists.
This was a year that saw a "Powerful" explosion as Kanye West found a glimpse of redemption after a difficult 2009. His Best Rap Solo Performance nomination is a positive sign of his resilience and talent.
Hip-hop has always fostered collaborations and the blend of soul singers Melanie Fiona and John Legend with rapper Common and the Roots' artistry on "Wake Up Everybody" is filled to the brim with excellence, as well as a GRAMMY nomination for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration.
The smooth combination of rapping and singing once again proved to win the hearts of females all over the world with Bruno Mars and B.o.B blazing the airwaves with "Nothin' On You." And I cannot forget how 2010 marked the evolution of Cee Lo Green — from Goodie Mob's frontman in the '90s to a 21st century eclectic soul champion worthy of his Song Of The Year nomination for "F*** You."
Songstresses Alicia Keys and Rihanna contributed their fiery vocals to tracks for veterans Jay-Z ("Empire State Of Mind") and Eminem ("Love The Way You Lie"), resulting in multiple GRAMMY nods, including Best Rap/Sung Collaboration and Best Rap Song. Dancing sensation Chris Brown lent his skills to "Deuces" featuring Tyga and Kevin McCall, which received a nod in the Best Rap/Sung Collaboration category.
This year's rap songs seemed poised to make you feel good about yourself, where you are and those you love (or stopped loving). Moreover, the collective was reminiscent of the days when rap was truly fun and celebrated life in a way that was energetic, expressive and diverse. As we prepare to honor those who made 2010 such a great year for hip-hop, I am thrilled to know the memories of 2010 will last a lifetime.
Tune in to the 53rd Annual GRAMMY Awards live from Staples Center in Los Angeles on Sunday, Feb. 13 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on CBS. For updates and breaking news, please visit The Recording Academy's social networks on Twitter and Facebook.