We are a little bit more than a month away from the 2016 Grammy Awards, the Super Bowl equivalent in the music world/the show that everyone says that they won’t watch the year before, but they do anyway (I’m looking at all of you). In the weeks leading up to the event, we are going to be breaking down some of the categories and anticipating who the winner is going to be. This week we are going to dive into the Best Rap Song category.
Kanye West feat. Theophilus London, Allan Kingdom & Paul McCartney – “All Day”: While we wait for Swish to eventually make its rounds to our headphones, Kanye West dropped a couple of songs in 2015. But none took a hold like “All Day”, which showcased a slow bounce, almost reminiscent of Yeezus . It’s the best of the three that West released in the 2015 calendar year, however, I think that this is Kendrick’s year. Maybe if this was a bit weaker field and Kanye would definitely be deserving in previous years with a bit weaker field – just not this one.
Kendrick Lamar – “Alright”: Within the art that is the To Pimp My Butterfly album, there was the uplifting track “Alright”. The album was filled with intense self-reflection, and this song was the rallying cry. It’s the voice of triumph in an album that pulls the skin off of someone who is torn between where they came from and how hard they worked to get to where they are now. Given the social unrest that happened in 2015, it became the anthem of those who felt undermined and wronged. Not only is it a strong song, but it’s a perfect barometer of what was occurring in the world.
Drake – “Energy”: This song, I feel, is a little out of place in the category. While a strong track off of Drake’s album/mixtape If You’re Reading This.., it may even not be the strongest off the project, let alone the year. I think that “Back To Back” would probably be the more suitable candidate for a nomination for this category. “Know Yourself” would be a good choice as well.
Common & John Legend – “Glory”: If you saw the live performance at last year’s Grammys, you got to visualize how powerful this song actually is. But for this year, it may be the least likely to win. The song had its huge moment at last year’s Oscar awards winning the best song award. It’s great that this song was nominated in the first place, but I just feel that it may feel a bit dated in a category with more recent songs that are still fresh in the minds of voters.
Fetty Wap – “Trap Queen”: To be honest, there weren’t many artists that had a better year than New Jersey native Fetty Wap. “Trap Queen” is the quintessential “build” song, having been initially released on Soundcloud in March of 2014. From there, the single saw a more commercial release in December 2014, with Fetty partnering up with 300 Entertainment. I’d be hardpressed to find a 2015 summer anthem without putting this song near the top of the list. Considering that the song got the most on-demand streams of 2015 ( 616.46 million), it was proof of Fetty’s knack for writing these catchy songs that got stuck in your head wherever you went. But best rap song? I’m not sure if it embodies a rap song, per say, but should be in strong consideration.
Winner: Kendrick Lamar – “Alright”. I feel like The Grammys will write the wrongs of yesterday and Kendrick will clean up at this year. “Alright” is the perfect depiction of rap in 2015.