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21 Savage

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21 Savage Expands Bank Account Campaign To Provide More Youth With Financial Education

The program, in partnership with non-profits Get Schooled and Juma, helps inner-city kids take "financial literacy to a new level"

GRAMMYs/Feb 28, 2019 - 06:38 am

On Aug. 26, 2017 Atlanta-based rapper 21 Savage's "Bank Account," the lead single from his debut LP Issa Album, reached No. 12 on Billboard's Hot 100. In March 2018 he payed the song's success forward, launching the Bank Account Campaign with non-profit organization Get Schooled. The program offers under-served youth critical financial literacy information.

Now, on Feb. 27, just two weeks after being released from ICE custody, the rapper is continuing his commitment to giving back, announcing an expanded Bank Account Campaign. Along with a new youth mentorship program lead by the rapper himself, the program has added a second non-profit partner, Juma, to offer job-skills training and more. 

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Monthly internet seminars and virtual badges bring mentorship online while 21 Savage is also keeping the focus on helping youth in his local Atlanta community. An opening ceremony in March will award $100—from $15,000 donated by 21 Savage—to 150 young people given special training and employment in Atlanta by Juma.

"Growing up, I knew almost nothing about bank accounts," said 21 Savage. "As I have gotten smarter about financial management, I realize how empowering it is to control your money rather than be controlled by it. I want to help kids with a background similar to mine to get smart about their money."

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21 Savage On 'Issa Album,' Jay-Z, & Business

Metro Boomin Performs at Future & Friends' One Big Party Tour in 2023
Metro Boomin performs during Future & Friends' One Big Party Tour in 2023

Photo: Prince Williams/Wireimage 

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Metro Boomin's Essential Songs: 10 Must-Know Tracks, From "Creepin" To "Like That"

The 2024 GRAMMY nominee for Producer Of The Year is one of hip-hop's most in-demand minds. Between his collab albums with Future and some highly debated beefs with rap's biggest stars, it's the perfect time to revisit the Metro-verse.

GRAMMYs/Jun 4, 2024 - 01:38 pm

Metro Boomin has spent more than a decade redefining rap music. The gloomy, 808-induced trap beats that flood radio airwaves and blare from nightclub speakers are a symbol of his influence. But now, the Atlanta-based superproducer is on one of his biggest musical runs to date.  

In April, Metro released the second of two joint albums with Future, hinted at a third release this year, sold out a concert at the Kundalini Grand Pyramids in Egypt, and clinched the No. 1 spot on Billboard’s Hot 100 with "Like That" featuring Kendrick Lamar. He also delivered a first-of-its-kind instrumental diss aimed at Drake called "BBL Drizzy," accusing the Toronto rapper of going under the knife.  

The diss was in response to Drake’s "Push Ups" and subsequent disses toward Kendrick Lamar. "Metro shut your hoe ass up and make some drums" he rapped. The verbal blow inspired Metro to release the hilarious instrumental, which he encouraged fans to rap on for a chance to win a free beat.  

Months before the feud, Metro celebrated two nominations for Best Rap Album and Producer of the Year, Non-Classical at the 66th GRAMMY Awards. While he didn’t take home a coveted golden gramophone, the momentum has elevated his career to new heights.  

Before the St. Louis-bred producer kicks off the We Trust You tour with Future on July 30, revisit 10 of Metro Boomin's biggest releases.  

"Karate Chop" (2013) 

A 19-year-old Metro crafted his first charting single right before making a life-changing move to Atlanta. With piercing synths and bubbly arpeggios, the song was the lead single for Future’s highly anticipated sophomore album, Honest. 

But Metro, a freshman at Morehouse College at the time, wasn’t sold on its success. "I never really like it," Metro told XXL. "Then every time people would come into the studio, he would always play the record and I was like, ‘Why are you so stuck on this s—? We have way harder records.’"  

But after cranking out a new mix on the original track, "Karate Chop" went on to become his first placement on a major label album. The remix with Lil Wayne further elevated the record and, by virtue, Metro’s profile as a musical craftsman.  

"Jumpman" (2015) 

 Metro mastered the late-summer anthem in 2015 with "Jumpman." The song was the most notable hit from Drake and Future’s collaborative mixtape, What a Time to Be Alive, and went on to shut down bustling nightclubs and obscure strip joints. And while the record didn’t perform as well as other songs on this list, it secured Future his first Top 20 hit.  

The song — which features Metro’s signature bass and a screeching raven sound effect — also saw a streaming boost after an Apple Music commercial featuring Taylor Swift rapping to the song. According to Adweek, the campaign helped generate a 431 percent increase in global sales 

 What makes "Jumpman" even more special is that a collab between Future, Metro, and Drake may never happen again. Reportedly, the duo is at odds with Drake because the OVO artist decided to link with 21 Savage on Her Loss instead of doing a follow-up project with Future.  

"Father Stretch My Hands Pt. 1" (2016) 

"Father Stretch My Hands Pt. 1" is the song that set Kanye West’s album, Life of Pablo, ablaze. Opening with a clip of gospel musician and singer T.L. Barrett’s Father I Stretch My Hands,” Metro’s signature producer tag kicks the record into full gear. The pulsating synthesizers and bouncy percussion match West’s raunchy and sexually explicit lyrics.  

Metro’s production received significant praise, with several publications pointing to his contributions on end-of-year listings. And in the eight years since its release, "Father Stretch My Hands Pt. 1" has been certified six times platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America, making it one of Ye’s most-sold records of all time. 

"Congratulations" (2016) 

After the success of "White Iverson," a young Post Malone was on the hunt for the hottest producers in the rap game. He managed to land Metro, who worked with fellow producers Frank Dukes and the prolific Louis Bell on the triumphant trap record "Congratulations."  

On a 2022 episode of the podcast "Full Send," Metro revealed that the celebratory song was made after watching the world’s greatest athletes eclipse historic feats of their own. "I remember the Olympics was on TV, and just how the music was sounding, it sounded like some champion s—," he said.  

"Congratulations" marked Post Malone’s second Top 20 hit following his debut, "White Iverson." The song was certified diamond after totaling more than 11 million combined sales. Today, it remains one of Metro’s biggest achievements.

"Bad and Boujee" (2017) 

Fueled by virality and a shoutout from Donald Glover at the 2017 Golden Globes, the Migos and Lil Uzi Vert’s "Bad and Boujee" landed Metro Boomin his first No. 1 Billboard hit as a producer.  

The song has every element Metro fans have grown to love: moody keys, hard-hitting bass, and plenty of room for the artists’ adlibs to pierce through the track.  

Two months before its eventual ascension, the song had a steep hill to climb atop the Billboard charts. But Metro’s production and the chemistry between Quavo, Offset, and Uzi helped the record shoot up to its rightful place. It continues to garner praise In the years since its 2016 release, too. It was ranked No. 451 on Rolling Stone’s "500 Greatest Songs of All Time" list 

"Mask Off" (2017) 

When "Mask Off" dropped in 2017, it scorched the Billboard charts. Hip-hop was flirting with flutes (as heard on songs like Drake’s "Portland" and Kodak Black’s "Tunnel Vision" — another Metro-produced beat) — but "Mask Off" stands out as the biggest song of the short-lived era.  

Metro infused jazz-like undertones to perfectly meld the flute lick into the dark and mystic beat. The record led to the remix with Kendrick Lamar, with his verse breathing new life into the already-seismic hit. It’s now certified nine times platinum.  

Years after the song’s release, Future said "Mask Off" initially put radio programmers in disarray. In his East Atlanta rapper’s Apple Music documentary The WIZRD, he revealed that the song dropped before Carlton WIlliams’ "Prison Song" sample was officially cleared. "Out of all the songs, ‘Mask Off’ wasn’t even legit," he said. "The s— was on the radio, they’re thinking it’s not a sample, but it got so big they were like, ‘It’s a sample.’" 

"Heartless" (2019) 

The Weeknd's "Heartless" is a pop and electro-clash classic that fires on all cylinders. The visuals are atmospheric, the lyrics are ultra-stimulating, and the production — partly handled by Metro — makes for a lasting club banger.  

The leading single for The Weeknd’s fourth studio album, After Hours, topped the Billboard charts. It marked the Toronto-born crooner’s fourth No. 1 hit and unveiled the depths of Metro’s musical arsenal.  

Metro produced four tracks on After Hours: "Faith," "Escape from L.A.," "Until I Bleed Out" and "Heartless." On the latter and in his other collaborations with The Weeknd, James Blake, and Solange, Metro’s creative sorcery was tested. He proved, once again, that he could generate a hit outside the confines of trap music.  

"Creepin" (2022)

After a solid outing on his first album Not All Heroes Wear Capes, Metro returned with another series of hard-hitting records. His second solo venture, Heroes & Villains, featured John Legend, Don Tolliver, Travis Scott, and other premiere artists. But the biggest song to come out of the star-studded lineup was "Creepin’" featuring 21 Savage and The Weeknd 

The only single to Metro’s second solo album struck sonic gold. The Weeknd’s flowy vocals overlay the silky and harmonic record, which transitions to a more trap-induced beat once 21 Savage’s verse kicks in. The remake of Mario Winans’ "I Don’t Wanna Know" was a notable departure from Metro’s past singles, which heavily lean on his trap roots. But it still managed to connect with his audience – and even beyond it. "Creepin" peaked at No. 3 on Billboard, which was Metro’s highest-charting solo record up until that point.

Spider-Man: Across The Spider-Verse (2023) 

Following the success of "Creepin’" and his other smash singles, Metro extended his creative powers to the film world. He was given the green light to executive produce the soundtrack for Sony’s Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse. 

Metro Boomin told Indie Wire that he crafted songs from rough animations and selected scenes "just to get in the world and the story of Miles [Morales] and what he’s going through," He even exchanged phone calls and texts with the film’s composer Daniel Pemberton to ensure the soundtrack and score were on the same accord.  

From the classical serenade "Am I Dreaming" to the Latin swing of "Silk & Cologne" and the Timbaland-stomping "Nas Morales," the result was an equally transformative musical experience. Each record ranged in musicality and tone while beautifully complementing the vibrant animated superhero flick.

"Like That" (2024) 

"Like That" is easily one of the best beats in Metro’s catalog, and may end up being one of the most memorable. Samples from Rodney O & Joe Cooley’s "Everlasting Bass" and Eazy-E’s 1989 classic "Eazy-Duz-It" shaped the bouncy trap beat, sinister synths, and spine-chilling baseline. But Kendrick Lamar’s verse turned it into a heat-seeking missile.  

With the song’s thunderous bass and rapid hi-hats in the background, Kendrick dissed J. Cole and Drake for their recent claims of rap supremacy, particularly on 2023’s "First Person Shooter." The lyrical nuke sparked the Civil War-style rap feud, which led to a seven-song exchange between Kendrick and Drake.  

The initial musical blow made the genre stand still. It also led to the massive success of the record, which notched Future and Metro another No. 1 hit song. It also helped the pair’s album, We Don’t Trust You, claim the top spot on the Billboard 200 albums chart.  

Inside The Metro-Verse: How Metro Boomin Went From Behind-The-Scenes Mastermind To Rap's Most In-Demand Producer 

Drake in 2011, 2009, 2019, 2010 and 2011
Drake in 2011, 2009, 2019, 2010 and 2011

Photos: Kevin Mazur/Wire; Steve Granitz/WireImage; Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic; Larry Busacca/Getty Images For The Recording Academy

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A Timeline Of Drake's GRAMMY Moments, From His First Win To Performances & Beefs

Drake's relationship with the GRAMMYs has been all over the map. The five-time GRAMMY winner's comments about the Awards have sparked debate, as has his relationship to submitting his work for consideration.

GRAMMYs/Jan 16, 2024 - 03:02 pm

When Drake attended his first GRAMMY Awards in 2010, he was 23 and hadn’t yet released a debut album. By the time he received his nominations for the 2024 GRAMMYs — Best Rap Album, Best Rap Performance and Best Melodic Rap Performance for his collaborations with 21 Savage —  he was Spotify’s most-streamed artist of all time, and the holder of more Billboard chart records than we can possibly list in this intro. 

In between, his relationship with the Academy’s yearly showcase has been all over the map. He’s lost (mostly), won (five times), and performed alongside some of pop culture’s biggest names. But more to the point, starting in 2017 his public comments about — and during — the GRAMMYs have sparked debate. He’s gone back and forth about submitting his music for consideration, and even went as far as to demand that nominations be retracted (more on that later).

Drake is nominated for Best Rap Album among other awards at the 2024 GRAMMYs. Here is a year-by-year account of the relationship between one of music’s biggest stars and Music’s Biggest Night. 

2010 — 52nd GRAMMY Awards

Nominations: Best Rap Song ("Best I Ever Had"), Best Rap Solo Performance ("Best I Ever Had")

Performances: "Drop the World"/"Forever" with Eminem, Lil Wayne, and Travis Barker

This was Drizzy’s first GRAMMYs, and he was still green enough that he got "reassurance" from Eminem in advance of their performance. 

"He was like, 'Man, anytime you need to look over at me, don't get nervous. Just look over at me, man, and I'll give it back to you. Everything will be all right. Don't be nervous.' For him to say that to me — I feel like that was an important moment," Drake told MTV News at the time.

His first two nominations, both for "Best I Ever Had," came before he had even put out his debut album. And as you can see in an interview at the event, the awards circuit was new enough that his mother’s reaction to finding out that Drake was nominated was to text him a bunch of swear words. 

"I think she was excited," the rapper joked to a CNN reporter.

2011 — 53rd GRAMMY Awards

Drake performs with Rihanna

Nominations: Best New Artist, Best Rap Album (Thank Me Later), Best Rap Solo Performance ("Over"), Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group ("Fancy" with Swizz Beatz and T.I.)

Performances: "What’s My Name" (with Rihanna)

This is the year that seems to sting Drake the most. Best New Artist was a tough battle, with Drizzy, Justin Bieber, Mumford & Sons, and Florence + the Machine in the mix. All of them lost to Esperanza Spalding, in a major upset

Drake’s bitterness about the moment lingers to this day. On his most recent album For All the Dogs, he has a surprisingly angry lyric about it: "Four GRAMMYs to my name, a hundred nominations/ Esperanza Spalding was gettin' all the praises/ I'm tryna keep it humble, I'm tryna keep it gracious/ Who give a f— Michelle Obama put you on her playlist?/ Then we never hear from you again like you was taken."

2012 — 54th GRAMMY Awards

Nominations: Album Of The Year (Rihanna’s Loud, as featured artist), Best Rap Performance ("Moment 4 Life" with Nicki Minaj), Best Rap/Sung Collaboration ("I’m On One" with DJ Khaled, Rick Ross, and Lil Wayne; "What’s My Name" with Rihanna)

This was Drake’s first year as a presenter, so he appears to be moving up in the award show hierarchy. But that doesn’t help him with hardware — he still goes home empty-handed. 

This is also the time that he has multiple nominations in the same category (in this case, two in Best Rap/Sung Collaboration), which is also a trend that would repeat throughout the years. 

2013 — 55th GRAMMY Awards

Wins: Best Rap Album (Take Care)

Nominations: Best Rap Performance ("HYFR [Hell Ya F—king Right]" with Lil Wayne), Best Rap Song ("The Motto" with Lil Wayne)

He finally wins! Drake gets his first victory (for Best Rap Album). Also, he is the only Canadian to win that year (sorry, Loreena McKennitt!) However, the big moment wasn't telecast and Drizzy hadn’t yet arrived at the ceremony. In a charming interview from later in the night, Drake recalled jumping out of his car in the middle of traffic to celebrate. There’s also a video of him receiving his GRAMMY in the mail after the fact, which is notable for him immediately taking a celebratory drink from the trophy.

2014 — 56th GRAMMY Awards

Nominations: Album Of The Year (Kendrick Lamar’s good kid, m.A.A.d city, as featured artist), Best Rap Album (Nothing Was the Same), Best Rap Performance ("Started From the Bottom"), Best Rap Song ("Started From the Bottom"; "F—in’ Problems" with ASAP Rocky, 2 Chainz, and Kendrick Lamar)

Drake gets five nominations — and again two in one category — with no wins. It’s hard to pinpoint where the tide might have turned regarding the rapper’s feelings about the institution, but this ceremony may well have been it. 

2015 — 57th GRAMMY Awards

Nominations: Album Of The Year (Beyoncé's Beyoncé, as featured artist), Best Rap Performance ("0 to 100 / The Catch Up"), Best Rap Song ("0 to 100 / The Catch Up"), Best Rap/Sung Collaboration ("Tuesday" with ILoveMakonnen)

Once again Drake gets an Album Of The Year nomination…for someone else’s album. It’s now the third time this has happened, following Rihanna and Kendrick Lamar. Still, four nominations during a year with no new album is impressive, and shows just how much of a fixture The Boy has become in the pop firmament at this point. 

2016 — 58th GRAMMY Awards

Nominations: Best Rap Album (If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late), Best Rap/Sung Collaboration ("Only" with Nicki Minaj, Lil Wayne, and Chris Brown), Best Rap Performance ("Back to Back"; "Truffle Butter" with Nicki Minaj and Lil Wayne), Best Rap Song ("Energy")

From four nominations in 2015 to five this year, tying his personal best from 2014. They are all for rap-related awards, perhaps because Drake didn’t release a "proper" album that might have ended up in one of the big categories — If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late had a convoluted rollout. 

2017 — 59th GRAMMY Awards

Wins: Best Rap/Sung Performance ("Hotline Bling"), Best Rap Song ("Hotline Bling")

Nominations: Album Of The Year (Views), Best Rap Album (Views), Record Of The Year ("Work" with Rihanna), Best Pop Duo/Group Performance ("Work" with Rihanna), Best R&B Song ("Come and See Me" with PartyNextDoor), Best Rap Performance ("Pop Style" with The Throne)

The results of this year marked the beginning of Drake’s public issues with the GRAMMYs. Drake didn't attend the ceremony and, in an interview just after the ceremony, he pushed back against his own victory, upset that "Hotline Bling," a song with no rapping, won two rap awards.

"Last night at that awards show, I’m a Black artist," he said. "I’m apparently a rapper, even though ‘Hotline Bling’ is not a rap song. The only category that they can manage to fit me in is in a rap category, maybe because I’ve rapped in the past or because I’m Black." 

He was also upset that his hit "One Dance" wasn’t nominated in any general categories. 

"There’s pop obligations that [the Recording Academy] have," he said. "And I fluked out and got one of the biggest songs of the year, that is a pop song, and I’m proud of that. I love the rap world and I love the rap community, but I write pop songs for a reason. I want to be like Michael Jackson.

"I won two awards last night, but I don’t even want them for some reason," he continued. "It just feels weird. It feels like you’re purposely trying to alienate me or pacify me by handing me something, putting me in that [rap] category because it’s the only place you can figure out where to put me." 

Perhaps because of these issues — it was never confirmed — he never submitted his 2018 project More Life for GRAMMY consideration. Regardless, he ended up with no nominations the following year.

2019 — 61st GRAMMY Awards

Wins: Best Rap Song ("God’s Plan")

Nominations: Album Of The Year (Scorpion), Best Rap Performance ("Nice for What"; "Sicko Mode" with Travis Scott, Swae Lee, and Big Hawk), Best Rap Song ("Sicko Mode" with Travis Scott, Swae Lee, and Big Hawk), Record Of The Year ("God’s Plan"), Song Of The Year ("God’s Plan")

This was a year that heightened the Drake/Recording Academy tension even further. First, he turned down a chance to perform during the ceremony. And then, during his acceptance speech for Best Rap Song, Drizzy let awards shows have it. 

"We play in an opinion-based sport, not a factual-based sport," he began. "Look, the point is, you already won if you have people singing your songs word for word, if you’re a hero in your hometown. You’re already winning, you don’t need this right here."

The broadcast went to commercial while he was still talking, something that fans thought was an intentional slight. The Academy said otherwise.

"During Drake’s speech there was a natural pause during his speech and at that moment the producers did assume that he was done and then cut to commercial," the Academy said in an official statement. "However the producers did speak with Drake following his speech and did offer him to come back on stage to finish whatever his thoughts were, but Drake said he was happy with what he said and didn’t have anything to add to it."

2020 — 62nd GRAMMY Awards

Nominations: Best R&B Song ("No Guidance" with Chris Brown), Best Rap Song ("Gold Roses" with Rick Ross)

Drake didn’t publicly react to his two losses this year, but he did speak out on a friend’s behalf. The superstar was upset that The Weeknd didn’t receive any nominations, and said so in an Instagram story. He went far enough as to say that awards shows like the GRAMMYs "may no longer matter" to up-and-coming artists.

"I think we should stop allowing ourselves to be shocked every year by the disconnect between impactful music and these awards and just accept that what once was the highest form of recognition may no longer matter to the artists that exist now and the ones that come after," Drake wrote. "It’s like a relative you keep expecting to fix up but they just can’t change their ways.

"The other day I said @theweeknd was a lock for either album or song of the year along with countless other reasonable assumptions and it just never goes that way," he continued. "This is a great time for somebody to start something new that we can build up over time and pass on to the generations to come."

He went on to list artists he believed should be been nominated: Lil Baby, Pop Smoke, Party Next Door, Popcaan, and "too many missing names to even name." 

2021 — 63rd GRAMMY Awards

Nominations: Best Rap Song ("Laugh Now Cry Later" with Lil Durk), Best Melodic Rap Performance ("Laugh Now Cry Later" with Lil Durk), Best Music Video ("Life Is Good" with Future)

Drake again misses out on everything he’s nominated for, which might have something to do with what happened the following year.

2022 — 64th GRAMMY Awards  

Nominations: Best Rap Album (Certified Lover Boy), Best Rap Performance ("Way 2 Sexy" with Future and Young Thug) - Both withdrawn

Things came to a boiling point in 2022. Drake was nominated for two awards, but his management asked the Academy to remove the nominations, which they did. 

2023 — 65th GRAMMY Awards

Wins: Best Melodic Rap Performance ("Wait For U" with Future and Tems)

Nominations: Album Of The Year (Beyoncé’s Renaissance, as songwriter), Best Rap Song ("Wait For U" with Future and Tems, "Churchill Downs" with Jack Harlow)

Drake didn’t submit any material for GRAMMY consideration this time around, but it didn’t stop him from receiving four nominations, and winning once. 

There was one other unexpected Drake-related Grammy moment this year as well. Several days before the ceremony, he made a speech at the Black Music Collective’s Recording Academy Honors event praising one of the evening’s honorees, Lil Wayne. Even when paying tribute to his mentor, Drake seemed to be referencing his ongoing issues with the Academy. His knowing winks to the camera whenever he said the phrase “Black Music Collective” appeared to be a nod to his ongoing complaints that contemporary Black artists were being ignored by the Grammys.  

2024 — 66th GRAMMY Awards

Nominations: Best Rap Album (Her Loss with 21 Savage), Best Rap Song ("Rich Flex" with 21 Savage"), Best Rap Performance ("Rich Flex" with 21 Savage), Best Melodic Rap Performance ("Spin Bout U" with 21 Savage)

In a sign that a change might be underway in the often-stormy relationship between Drake and the GRAMMYs, the rapper actually submitted material for nomination for the 2024 GRAMMYs. His collaboration with 21 Savage, Her Loss, was put up for Album of the Year (which it didn’t get a nom for) and Best Rap Album (which it did). The songs "Rich Flex" and "Spin Bout U" were also offered up in multiple categories, and each ended up with nominations. 

A Timeline Of Beyoncé's GRAMMY Moments, From Her First Win With Destiny's Child to Making History With 'Renaissance'

2024 GRAMMYs: Best Rap Song Nominees hero

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Here Are The Nominees For Best Rap Song At The 2024 GRAMMYs

Get a deeper look into the five tracks from Doja Cat, Nicki Minaj and Ice Spice, Lil Uzi Vert, Drake and 21 Savage, and Killer Mike, André 3000, Future and Eryn Allen Kane that earned the Best Rap Song nod at the 2024 GRAMMYs.

GRAMMYs/Nov 11, 2023 - 02:44 pm

Rap music has changed a lot since the Best Rap Song category was introduced at the 2004 GRAMMYs. Most of the first year's nominees, even if they're still making music, now spend the majority of their time on things like making hit TV shows or running iconic fashion brands.

But the category, then and now, has its finger on the pulse; it gives us a cross-section of what makes hip-hop so important to so many people. The Best Rap Song nominees for the 2024 GRAMMYs are no different. The Category includes a pop princess taking a big left turn; two New Yorkers paying tribute to the greatest of all dolls; a Philly rapper taking us to the club; a duo who can't stop flexing on us; and a Dungeon Family reunion that spans generations. 

Below, take a deep dive into the five tracks up for Best Rap Song at the 2024 GRAMMYs.

Attention" — Doja Cat

Rogét Chahayed, Amala Zandile Dlamini & Ari Starace, songwriters (Doja Cat)

"Attention" marked a new era for Doja Cat — one where she moved away from the pop sounds that made her famous, and into something harder and more aggressive.

In the weeks leading up to the track's release, Doja called her earlier rapping attempts "mid and corny" and referred to the music that broke her into the big time as "mediocre pop." So it only made sense that her big statement single would be exactly that — a statement. 

The beat by Rogét Chahayed and Y2K has a drum loop that wouldn't sound out of place on Ultimate Breaks and Beats, and Doja lets the world see her inner hip-hop fan with some serious rapping — no mid or corny verses here. This is the Doja who can quote underground faves like Homeboy Sandman and Little Brother at the drop of a hat

"Attention" finds Doja addressing her often-contentious relationship with fans and social media, as well as the controversies she went through leading up to the song's release. But the whole thing is playful and ambiguous. Does she want the world's attention, now that she has it? What is she willing to do to keep it? In this song — and even more so in its video — Doja plays with these questions like a truly great superstar.  

"Barbie World" [From Barbie The Album] — Nicki Minaj & Ice Spice Featuring Aqua

Isis Naija Gaston, Ephrem Louis Lopez Jr. & Onika Maraj, songwriters (Nicki Minaj & Ice Spice Featuring Aqua)

Aqua's "Barbie Girl" was too sexy for Mattel when it was released in 1997 — the company sued the band, claiming that people would associate lyrics like "Kiss me here, touch me there" with their wholesome children's toy. So it's both ironic and, given the post-irony tone of the movie itself, somehow fitting that "Barbie Girl" is sampled in a major song from the new Barbie movie.

And who better to bring Barbie to life in rap form than the head of the Barbz? Soundtrack producer Mark Ronson said that there was no way to have a Barbie soundtrack without Nicki Minaj, and he was absolutely right. Nicki, with her career-long association with Mattel's most famous toy, was the perfect choice. Joining her on the track is the hottest rapper of the moment, Ice Spice. Ice's go-to producer RiotUSA did the music for the song, which accounts for both its aggressive drums and its sample drill-style use of the once-verboten Aqua hit. 

Nicki and Ice have great chemistry in the song. Nicki doesn't treat the song like a movie soundtrack throwaway — her rhyming is clear, sharp, layered, and funny. And she gets extra points for referring to a bob-style wig as her "Bob Dylan."

"Just Wanna Rock" — Lil Uzi Vert

Mohamad Camara, Javier Mercado & Symere Woods, songwriters

Lil Uzi Vert took "Just Wanna Rock" from TikTok all the way to the GRAMMYs.

The track began as a snippet on the social media app, where it went viral, garnering hundreds of millions of views; even celebrities like Kevin Hart got into the act. When the actual song came out, at just about two minutes long, it wasn't much longer than a TikTok video. But it didn't need to be — the full track kept all the joy and danceability of the memeable excerpt.

"Just Wanna Rock" features Uzi acting as an MC, but not in a traditional going-for-the-cleverest-rhyme way. Instead, his voice is used more for its rhythmic qualities, darting in and out of the four-on-the-floor pounding of the kick drum with short, punchy phrases. "I just wanna rock, body-ody-ya" may not look like much on the page, but it's placed perfectly, and it's the kernel that blossoms into the rest of Uzi's performance.

He takes the rhythm of that initial phrase and plays with it throughout in increasingly intricate ways, while never losing sight of the source material. The song is heavily influenced by the Jersey club sound that has been all over hip-hop this year. As the most popular rap/Jersey club crossover of 2023, it makes perfect sense that "Just Wanna Rock" is in the running for Best Rap Song — even if it is unfinished.

"Rich Flex" — Drake & 21 Savage

Shéyaa Bin Abraham-Joseph, Charles Bernstein, Isaac "Zac" De Boni, Brytavious Chambers, Aldrin Davis, Aubrey Graham, J. Gwin, Clifford Harris, Gladys Hayes, Anderson Hernandez, Michael "Finatik" Mule, Megan Pete, B.D. Session Jr & Anthony White, songwriters

Simon and Garfunkel. Sam and Dave. Hall and Oates. To that list of great duos, it might be time to add Drake and 21 Savage. Seven years after their first collaboration, Toronto and Atlanta's finest finally got together for a full-length project in 2023, and Her Loss standout (and opener) "Rich Flex" is now up for an award on Music's Biggest Night.

"Rich Flex," like much latter-day Drake, has multiple beats. But in this case, that adds to the song's playful mood. Drizzy and 21 sound like they're actually having fun — Drake even playfully lapses into a sing-songy, nursery rhyme-esque melody on occasion. Savage, for his part, seems to be having a blast interpolating Megan Thee Stallion's "Savage" — a move which earned the Houston rapper a writing credit on the track. 

Drake, as in a lot of his recent work, seems consumed with the costs of fame: haters everywhere you look, hangers-on who make your house feel like a hotel; women who won't leave you alone; unwanted attention from law enforcement. But he almost never sounds this engaged, even joyful, when addressing these topics. Maybe what he needed all along was a duet partner. 

"Scientists & Engineers" — Killer Mike Featuring André 3000, Future And Eryn Allen Kane

Paul Beauregard, Andre Benjamin, James Blake, Tim Moore, Michael Render & Dion Wilson, songwriters

It was Andre 3000's first appearance on a song in two years that got all the attention at first. But there's a lot more to "Scientists & Engineers" than the fact that the reclusive half of OutKast shows up.

For one thing, it's what he shows up with. Andre's verse is smart, well-observed, poetic, and somehow manages to change focus completely in the middle and yet still hold together as an artistic statement.

But he's far from the only talent on the song. The track is a veritable all-star fest — not for nothing did Killer Mike call it a "hip-hop fantasy." On the music side, there are contributions from legendary producers No ID and Three 6 Mafia's DJ Paul, hip-hop's favorite singer/songwriter James Blake, and TWhy. Singer Eryn Allen Kane adds her gorgeous vocals. And Future, who lest we forget, began his career as a "second generation" member of the Dungeon Family collective that included OutKast and Mike, adds his patented boastful vulnerability.

Then there's Mike himself. He needed to bring a stellar performance in order not to be buried by all his very special guests, and he more than pulls it off. "I am Thelonius Monk in a donk," he rhymes, and the combination of the innovative jazz legend and the classic car with big rims perfectly describes not only him, but the entire mood he sets with this song.

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Kendrick Lamar GRAMMY Rewind Hero
Kendrick Lamar

Photo: Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic

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GRAMMY Rewind: Kendrick Lamar Honors Hip-Hop's Greats While Accepting Best Rap Album GRAMMY For 'To Pimp a Butterfly' In 2016

Upon winning the GRAMMY for Best Rap Album for 'To Pimp a Butterfly,' Kendrick Lamar thanked those that helped him get to the stage, and the artists that blazed the trail for him.

GRAMMYs/Oct 13, 2023 - 06:01 pm

Updated Friday Oct. 13, 2023 to include info about Kendrick Lamar's most recent GRAMMY wins, as of the 2023 GRAMMYs.

A GRAMMY veteran these days, Kendrick Lamar has won 17 GRAMMYs and has received 47 GRAMMY nominations overall. A sizable chunk of his trophies came from the 58th annual GRAMMY Awards in 2016, when he walked away with five — including his first-ever win in the Best Rap Album category.

This installment of GRAMMY Rewind turns back the clock to 2016, revisiting Lamar's acceptance speech upon winning Best Rap Album for To Pimp A Butterfly. Though Lamar was alone on stage, he made it clear that he wouldn't be at the top of his game without the help of a broad support system. 

"First off, all glory to God, that's for sure," he said, kicking off a speech that went on to thank his parents, who he described as his "those who gave me the responsibility of knowing, of accepting the good with the bad."

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He also extended his love and gratitude to his fiancée, Whitney Alford, and shouted out his Top Dawg Entertainment labelmates. Lamar specifically praised Top Dawg's CEO, Anthony Tiffith, for finding and developing raw talent that might not otherwise get the chance to pursue their musical dreams.

"We'd never forget that: Taking these kids out of the projects, out of Compton, and putting them right here on this stage, to be the best that they can be," Lamar — a Compton native himself — continued, leading into an impassioned conclusion spotlighting some of the cornerstone rap albums that came before To Pimp a Butterfly.

"Hip-hop. Ice Cube. This is for hip-hop," he said. "This is for Snoop Dogg, Doggystyle. This is for Illmatic, this is for Nas. We will live forever. Believe that."

To Pimp a Butterfly singles "Alright" and "These Walls" earned Lamar three more GRAMMYs that night, the former winning Best Rap Performance and Best Rap Song and the latter taking Best Rap/Sung Collaboration (the song features Bilal, Anna Wise and Thundercat). He also won Best Music Video for the remix of Taylor Swift's "Bad Blood." 

Lamar has since won Best Rap Album two more times, taking home the golden gramophone in 2018 for his blockbuster LP DAMN., and in 2023 for his bold fifth album, Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers.

Watch Lamar's full acceptance speech above, and check back at GRAMMY.com every Friday for more GRAMMY Rewind episodes. 

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