Grammy Award for Best Rap Performance

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Grammy Award for Best Rap Performance
A gold gramophone trophy with a plaque set on a table
Gilded gramophone trophy presented to Grammy Award winners
Awarded for quality rap performances
Country United States
Presented by National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences
First awarded 1989
Last awarded 2014
Official website grammy.com

The Grammy Award for Best Rap Performance is an honor presented to recording artists for quality rap performances. It was first presented at the 31st Grammy Awards in 1989 and again at the 32nd Grammy Awards in 1990, after which point the award was split into two categories: Best Rap Solo Performance and Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group. These two categories were combined again in 2012, as a result of a restructure of Grammy categories and the reinstated Award for Best Rap Performance was presented at the 54th Grammy Awards in 2012.

The Grammy Awards, an annual ceremony established in 1958 and originally called the Gramophone Awards,[1] are presented by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences of the United States to "honor artistic achievement, technical proficiency and overall excellence in the recording industry, without regard to album sales or chart position".[2]

The first award for Best Rap Performance was first presented to DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince (the vocal duo consisting of DJ Jazzy Jeff and Will Smith) for "Parents Just Don't Understand".[3] The ceremony was not without controversy; nominees Jeff and Smith led a boycott in protest of the award presentation not being televised, and some members of the rap community felt that more qualified artists were overlooked.

The restructuring of the categories and combination of Best Rap Solo Performance and Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group back into Best Rap Performance was the consequence of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences's wish to decrease the list of categories and awards and to eliminate distinctions between solo and duo or group performances.[4]

Background[edit]

The Best Rap Performance category was first presented at the 31st Grammy Awards in 1989.[3] NARAS President Mike Green said in Billboard that the music genre has "matured into several kinds of music, with several kinds of artists doing it".[5] Diane Theriot, a representative of the awards department for the Academy, recalled being "inundated with eligible rap entries during the first few years of having the category".[6] In 1991, the category was split into the categories Best Rap Solo Performance and Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group. Recognizing that both categories were continuing to receive numerous entries, the Best Rap Album recognition was established for the 38th Grammy Awards in 1996—the inaugural award was presented to Naughty by Nature for Poverty's Paradise.[6] In 2003, the Best Rap Solo Performance category was divided into separate recognitions for Female and Male Rap Solo Performances. The categories remained separated by gender until 2005 when they were combined into the genderless category originally known as Best Rap Solo Performance. Additional rap categories include Best Rap/Sung Collaboration and Best Rap Song, established in 2002 and 2004, respectively.[7]

History[edit]

Profile of a man in a crowd of people wearing a blue-colored suit
1989 award winner and 1990 nominee Will Smith of the duo DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince at the Emmy Awards in 1993
A man wearing a tuxedo and eyeglasses; other people can be seen in the background, along with folding chairs.
Award winner Young MC at the 32nd Grammy Awards

For the 31st Grammy Awards (1989), Best Rap Performance nominees included DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince for "Parents Just Don't Understand", J. J. Fad for "Supersonic" (from the album of the same name), Kool Moe Dee for "Wild Wild West", LL Cool J for "Going Back to Cali", and Salt-n-Pepa (the duo consisting of Cheryl James and Sandra Denton) for "Push It".[8] The duo known as DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince consisted of DJ Jazzy Jeff (birth name Jeffrey Townes) and actor Will Smith, whose nickname also appeared in the American television sitcom The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, in which he starred.[9] "Parents Just Don't Understand" appeared on the duo's 1988 album He's the DJ, I'm the Rapper.[10] "Going Back to Cali" appeared on the soundtrack to the film Less Than Zero as well as LL Cool J's 1989 studio album Walking with a Panther.[11][12] Kool Moe Dee's "Wild Wild West" and Salt-n-Pepa's "Push It" appeared on the albums How Ya Like Me Now and Hot, Cool & Vicious, respectively.[13][14]

Rap and heavy metal categories were introduced the same year (along with Best Bluegrass Album),[15] but according to show's producers time constraints prevented both categories from being televised.[16] Nominee Kool Moe Dee performed during the ceremony, but the rap award was presented during the "usually fast-paced pre-televised ceremony".[17] DJ Jazzy Jeff and Will Smith led a boycott of the ceremony and were joined by fellow nominees LL Cool J and Salt-n-Pepa. Salt-n-Pepa issued the following statement: "If they don't want us, we don't want them".[16] Adding to the controversy surrounding the category, some members of the rap community believed artists such as Big Daddy Kane, KRS-One, and N.W.A (whose debut album Straight Outta Compton "launched gangsta rap") were overlooked.[3] Awards were presented to Jeff and Smith at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles.[18] While Smith was absent from the ceremony, Jeff was present to accept his award.[19] In 2004, Serena Kappes of People magazine ranked Smith's ceremony boycott number eight on their list of "Top 10 Grammy Moments".[19] Jeff and Smith were also recognized by the American Music Awards in 1989 with awards for Favorite Rap Artists and Favorite Rap Album, and "Parent's Just Don't Understand" also earned the duo the first MTV Video Music Award for Best Rap Video.[20] Smith later earned Best Rap Solo Performance awards in 1998 for "Men in Black" and 1999 for "Gettin' Jiggy wit It", and was nominated again in 2000 for "Wild Wild West".[21]

Nominees for the 32nd Grammy Awards included De La Soul for "Me Myself and I", DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince for "I Think I Can Beat Mike Tyson", Public Enemy for "Fight the Power", Tone Lōc for "Funky Cold Medina", and Young MC for "Bust a Move".[22] "Me Myself and I" appears on De La Soul's studio album 3 Feet High and Rising and in 2008 was ranked number 46 on VH1's list of the "100 Greatest Hip Hop Songs Ever!!!"[23][24] "I Think I Can Beat Mike Tyson", written by the duo along with Pete Harris, appears on DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince's third album And in This Corner....[25] "Fight the Power" appeared on the 1988 soundtrack for the film Do the Right Thing and later on Public Enemy's third studio album Fear of a Black Planet (1990).[26][27] The song ranked number one on VH1's aforementioned list, number 40 on "AFI's 100 Years...100 Songs" list,[28] and number 322 on Rolling Stone's 2004 list of "The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time".[29] "Funky Cold Medina", written by Young MC, Michael L. Ross and Matt Dike, first appeared on Tone Lōc's debut album Lōc-ed After Dark.[30] "Bust a Move" appeared on Young MC's debut album Stone Cold Rhymin'.[31] Allmusic editor Stephen Thomas Erlewine described the song as "unabashed catchy" due to its "skittish, rhythmic guitar riff, looped beats", backing vocals, and "funny" rhymes.[32] The award was presented to Young MC.[6] In 2010, Joshua Ostroff of Spinner included Young MC's win on his list of "The Grammy Awards' Biggest Mistakes", asserting that "Bust a Move" was merely a "fun little hip-pop song" while "Fight the Power" was a "revelatory single that still stands tall as one of music's greatest (and funkiest) political statements and perhaps hip-hop's finest moment".[33]

Recipients[edit]

Year[I] Performing artists Nationality Work Nominees Ref.
1989 DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince  United States "Parents Just Don't Understand" [8]
1990 Young MC  United Kingdom "Bust a Move" [22]
2012 Jay-Z and Kanye West  United States "Otis" [34]
2013 Jay-Z and Kanye West  United States "Niggas in Paris" [35]
2014 Macklemore and Ryan Lewis featuring Wanz  United States "Thrift Shop" [36]
2015 TBA TBA TBA [37]

^[I] Each year is linked to the article about the Grammy Awards held that year.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

General
Specific
  1. ^ "Grammy Awards at a Glance". Los Angeles Times (Tribune Company). Retrieved January 12, 2011. 
  2. ^ "Overview". National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. Retrieved January 12, 2011. 
  3. ^ a b c "Hip-hop's history at the Grammys". Deseret News (Salt Lake City, Utah: Deseret News Publishing Company). February 9, 2004. Retrieved March 2, 2011. 
  4. ^ "Explanation For Category Restructuring". GRAMMY.org. Retrieved January 27, 2014. 
  5. ^ Considine, J.D. (July 1, 1988). "Rap becoming 'the sound of young America'". The Register-Guard (Eugene, Oregon: Guard Publishing). p. 3D. Retrieved March 3, 2011. 
  6. ^ a b c Kenon, Marci (February 5, 2000). "Rap's Swelling Influence May Add Grammy Categories, NARAS Says". Billboard (Nielsen Business Media, Inc.) 112 (6): 46. Retrieved March 2, 2011. 
  7. ^ Olsen, Eric (February 6, 2004). "Hip hip hopit, you don't stop". msnbc.com. Retrieved March 2, 2011. 
  8. ^ a b Anderson, Kyle (February 1, 2011). "Great Grammy Moments: DJ Jazzy Jeff And The Fresh Prince Break Ground In 1989". MTV. Retrieved March 2, 2011. 
  9. ^ Keegan, Rebecca Winters (November 29, 2007). "The Legend of Will Smith". Time (Time Inc.): 1–2. Retrieved March 3, 2011. 
  10. ^ "He's the DJ, I'm the Rapper". Allmusic. Retrieved March 3, 2011. 
  11. ^ "Less Than Zero". Allmusic. Retrieved March 3, 2011. 
  12. ^ "Walking with a Panther". Allmusic. Retrieved March 3, 2011. 
  13. ^ "How Ya Like Me Now". Allmusic. Retrieved March 3, 2011. 
  14. ^ "Hot, Cool & Vicious". Allmusic. Retrieved March 3, 2011. 
  15. ^ "Crammy categories hit 76". Deseret News (Salt Lake City, Utah: Deseret News Publishing Company). June 10, 1988. Retrieved March 3, 2011. 
  16. ^ a b Cantor, Paul (February 14, 2011). "Did Jay-Z Boycott The Grammys Again?". MTV. Retrieved March 2, 2011. 
  17. ^ "Grammys too cool for rap music?". The Prescott Courier (Yavapai County, Arizona: Prescott Newspapers, Inc.). February 22, 1989. p. 7A. Retrieved March 3, 2011. 
  18. ^ "VMIX: The Grammy Are Always a Trip". Vibe (Vibe Media Group) 15 (2): 68. February 2007. Retrieved March 3, 2011. 
  19. ^ a b Kappes, Serena (April 7, 2004). "Top 10 Grammy Moments: There's No Will". People (Time Inc.). Retrieved March 2, 2011. 
  20. ^ Doeden, Matt (2009). Will Smith: Box Office Superstar. Twenty-First Century Books. pp. 23–24. Retrieved March 3, 2011.  Note: Page 24 contains a copy of James T. Jones IV's USA Today article from October 16, 1989 titled "Rap duo delivers with punch".
  21. ^ "Grammy Awards: Best Solo Rap Performance". Rock on the Net. Retrieved March 4, 2011. 
  22. ^ a b DeKnock, Jan (February 16, 1990). "Who'll Win The Grammys?". Chicago Tribune (Tribune Company). p. 3. Retrieved March 4, 2011. 
  23. ^ "3 Feet High and Rising". Allmusic. Retrieved March 4, 2011. 
  24. ^ "100 Greatest Hip Hop Songs Ever!!!". VH1. Retrieved March 4, 2011. 
  25. ^ "And in This Corner...". Allmusic. Retrieved March 4, 2011. 
  26. ^ "Do the Right Thing (Soundtrack)". Allmusic. Retrieved March 4, 2011. 
  27. ^ "Fear of a Black Planet". Allmusic. Retrieved March 4, 2011. 
  28. ^ "America's Greatest Music in the Movies" (PDF). American Film Institute. 2005. p. 2. Retrieved March 4, 2011. 
  29. ^ "The RS 500 Greatest Songs of All Time". Rolling Stone (Jann Wenner): 4. December 9, 2004. Archived from the original on June 21, 2008. Retrieved March 4, 2011. 
  30. ^ "Loc-ed After Dark". Allmusic. Retrieved March 4, 2011. 
  31. ^ "Stone Cold Rhymin'". Allmusic. Retrieved March 4, 2011. 
  32. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Bust a Move". Allmusic. Retrieved March 4, 2011. 
  33. ^ Ostroff, Joshua (January 27, 2010). "The Grammy Awards' Biggest Mistakes". Spinner. Retrieved March 4, 2011. 
  34. ^ "Final Nominations List – 54th Grammy Awards". National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. 2011. p. 12. Archived from the original on December 1, 2011. 
  35. ^ "Jay-Z and Kanye Win Another "Paris" GRAMMY - Best Rap Song". xxlmag.com. February 10, 2013. Retrieved January 27, 2014. 
  36. ^ "Macklemore & Ryan Lewis Win 2014 Grammy Awards for Best Rap Album & More". theboombox.com. Retrieved January 27, 2014. 
  37. ^ "57th Grammy Nominees". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved December 5, 2014. 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]