Exploring The Rap Winners

A closer look at Jay-Z and Kanye West's Rap Field sweep at the 54th GRAMMYs
  • Photo: Johnny Nunez/WireImage.com
    Jay-Z and Kanye West
  • Photo: Kevin Mazur/WireImage.com
  • Photo: Dimitrios Kambouris/WireImage.com
    Kid Cudi
February 13, 2012 -- 2:51 pm PST

You've seen the list of winners, now take a closer look at the artists winning in the Rap Field categories for the 54th Annual GRAMMY Awards.

The Rap Field at the 54th Annual GRAMMY Awards belonged to Kanye West. The Chicago rapper/producer won in each of the four rap categories, a feat not accomplished since Eminem swept the Rap Field at the 43rd Annual GRAMMYs in 2000. West (who already had 14 GRAMMYs to his credit) became famous, at least in part, for complaining that he was shunned at awards shows, including the GRAMMYs. He can no longer make that argument — or at least he'd have a pretty tough case to make.

Best Rap Performance
Jay-Z & Kanye West, "Otis"

Culled from Jay-Z and West's blockbuster Watch The Throne album, "Otis" beat stiff competition in this high-powered category. The mesmerizing first single from the pairing of the two rap icons was a radio-, Internet- and club-favorite virtually as soon as it was released. Jay-and West created an event out of a song, a noteworthy feat that made Otis stand apart from its competitors.

Best Rap/Sung Collaboration
Kanye West, Rihanna, Kid Cudi & Fergie, "All Of The Lights"

The video for "All Of The Lights" allegedly had the potential to trigger seizures in people with photosensitive epilepsy. The song, which features an eclectic mix of artists spanning a variety of genres, had an equally arresting impact. West (now a three-time winner in this category) detailed the fallout of a failed relationship that resulted in incarceration, while Rihanna put the focus on her own sex appeal. The result was a sizzling song accented by Kid Cudi's defiant declarations toward the end of the horn, piano and string-accented collaboration. 

Best Rap Song
Jeff Bhasker, Stacy Ferguson, Malik Jones, Warren Trotter & Kanye West, "All Of The Lights"

The most musically layered and sonically adventurous of the nominees in this category, "All Of The Lights" was a deserved winner for an award that highlights songwriters. It's also West's fifth Best Rap Song award. Opening with a melancholy piano and string combination, the track soon erupts with a cascade of bombastic synths, Rihanna's sensual vocals, heavy percussion, and West's spirited raps. It's a dramatic opening to a cut that vacillates between West's anger, Rihanna's sexuality and Cudi's brashness. 

Best Rap Album
Kanye West, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy

West's My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy is his fourth album to win the GRAMMY for Best Rap Album. As one of the genre's most visionary, experimental artists, the Chicagoan was the only nominee in the category who performed and produced his album. That double duty makes his adventurous albums, and GRAMMY wins, that much more impressive.  

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