Grammy Award for Best Rap Performance

Last updated

Grammy Award for Best Rap Performance
Awarded forQuality rap performances
CountryUnited States
Presented by National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences
First awarded1989
Last awarded2019
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 Annual Grammy Awards in 1989 and again at the 32nd Annual 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.

Rapping is a musical form of vocal delivery that incorporates "rhyme, rhythmic speech, and street vernacular", which is performed or chanted in a variety of ways, usually over a backing beat or musical accompaniment. The components of rap include "content", "flow", and "delivery". Rap differs from spoken-word poetry in that rap is usually performed in time to an instrumental track. Rap is often associated with, and is a primary ingredient of hip-hop music, but the origins of the phenomenon predate hip-hop culture. The earliest precursor to the modern rap is the West African griot tradition, in which "oral historians", or "praise-singers", would disseminate oral traditions and genealogies, or use their formidable rhetorical techniques for gossip or to "praise or critique individuals." Griot traditions connect to rap along a lineage of Black verbal reverence that goes back to ancient Egyptian practices, through James Brown interacting with the crowd and the band between songs, to Muhammad Ali's quick-witted verbal taunts and the palpitating poems of the Last Poets. Therefore, rap lyrics and music are part of the "Black rhetorical continuum", and aim to reuse elements of past traditions while expanding upon them through "creative use of language and rhetorical styles and strategies. The person credited with originating the style of "delivering rhymes over extensive music", that would become known as rap, was Anthony "DJ Hollywood" Holloway from Harlem, New York.

The 31st Annual Grammy Awards were held on February 22, 1989, at Shrine Auditorium, Los Angeles. They recognized accomplishments by musicians from the previous year.

32nd Annual Grammy Awards award ceremony

The 32nd Annual Grammy Awards were held in 1990. They recognized accomplishments by musicians from the previous year.

Contents

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 (NARAS) 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]

Grammy Award accolade by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences of the United States

A Grammy Award, or Grammy, is an award presented by The Recording Academy to recognize achievements in the music industry. The annual presentation ceremony features performances by prominent artists, and the presentation of those awards that have a more popular interest. The Grammys are the second of the Big Three major music awards held annually.

The first award for Best Rap Performance was 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 awards presentation not being televised, and some members of the rap community felt that more qualified artists were overlooked.

DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince American hip-hop group

DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince was an American hip hop duo from West Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Rapper Will Smith met disc jockey Jeff Townes in the 1980s, when they were both trying to make names for themselves in West Philadelphia's local hip hop scene. They had as a support live member Clarence Holmes – who was not officially credited to the duo. Holmes left the group in 1990 and later sued unsuccessfully for earnings, claiming a breach of oral contract.

Will Smith American actor, producer, comedian, rapper and songwriter

Willard Carroll Smith II is an American actor and rapper. In April 2007, Newsweek called him "the most powerful actor in Hollywood". Smith has been nominated for five Golden Globe Awards and two Academy Awards, and has won four Grammy Awards.

Parents Just Dont Understand 1988 single by DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince

"Parents Just Don't Understand" is the second single from DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince's second studio album, He's the DJ, I'm the Rapper. The song won a Grammy Award for Best Rap Performance at the 1989 Grammy Awards, one of the two songs to do so before the award was discontinued in 1991. It peaked at #12 on the Billboard Hot 100. The song was released as a single in spring 1988. The song was referenced several times in the television show The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air. The song was ranked #96 on VH1's 100 Greatest Songs of Hip Hop, and the music video was featured in the 2003 film Malibu's Most Wanted.

Rappers Jay Z and Kanye West are two-time winners of this award. Kendrick Lamar is a four-time winner.

Kanye West American rapper, singer, and record producer from Illinois

Kanye Omari West is an American rapper, singer, songwriter, record producer, entrepreneur and fashion designer. His musical career has been marked by dramatic changes in styles, incorporating an eclectic range of influences including soul, baroque pop, electro, indie rock, synth-pop, industrial and gospel. Over the course of his career, West has been responsible for cultural movements and progressions within mainstream hip hop and popular music at large.

Kendrick Lamar American rapper, singer and record producer

Kendrick Lamar Duckworth is an American rapper, songwriter, and record producer. He is regarded as one of the most skillful and successful hip hop artists of his generation.

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' wish to decrease the number of categories and awards and to eliminate distinctions between solo and duo or group performances. [4]

Background

The Best Rap Performance category was first presented at the 31st Annual 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]

<i>Billboard</i> (magazine) American music magazine

Billboard is an American entertainment media brand owned by the Billboard-Hollywood Reporter Media Group, a division of Eldridge Industries. It publishes pieces involving news, video, opinion, reviews, events, and style, and is also known for its music charts, including the Hot 100 and Billboard 200, tracking the most popular songs and albums in different genres. It also hosts events, owns a publishing firm, and operates several TV shows.

The Grammy Award for Best Rap Album is an award presented to recording artists for quality albums with rapping at the Grammy Awards, a ceremony that was established in 1958 and originally called the Gramophone Awards. Honors in several categories are presented at the ceremony annually 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".

Naughty by Nature American hip hop trio

Naughty by Nature is an American hip hop trio from East Orange, New Jersey consisting of Treach, Vin Rock, and DJ Kay Gee

History

1989 award winner and 1990 nominee Will Smith of the duo DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince at the Emmy Awards in 1993 Will Smith.jpg
1989 award winner and 1990 nominee Will Smith of the duo DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince at the Emmy Awards in 1993

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 the 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 its 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]

Award winner Young MC at the 32nd Annual Grammy Awards (1990) Young MC at the 1990 Grammys.jpg
Award winner Young MC at the 32nd Annual Grammy Awards (1990)

Nominees for the 32nd Annual 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

Year [I] Performing artistsWorkNomineesRef.
1989 DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince "Parents Just Don't Understand" [8]
1990 Young MC "Bust a Move" [22]
2012 Jay-Z and Kanye West "Otis" [34]
2013 Jay-Z and Kanye West "Niggas in Paris" [35]
2014 Macklemore and Ryan Lewis featuring Wanz "Thrift Shop" [36]
2015 Kendrick Lamar "I"
[37]
2016 Kendrick Lamar "Alright" [38]
2017 Chance the Rapper featuring Lil Wayne and
2 Chainz
"No Problem"
[39]
2018 Kendrick Lamar "Humble" [40]
2019 Kendrick Lamar, Jay Rock, Future and James Blake "King's Dead" [41]
Anderson Paak "Bubblin"

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

See also

Related Research Articles

Salt-N-Pepa American hip-hop/rap trio from New York City

Salt-N-Pepa are an American hip-hop trio from New York City, New York. The group, consisting of Cheryl James ("Salt"), Sandra Denton ("Pepa") and originally Latoya Hanson, who was replaced in 1987 by Deidra Roper, was formed in 1985 and was one of the first all-female rap groups. The group won the 1995 Grammy Award for Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group.

The Grammy Award for Best Metal Performance is an award presented at the Grammy Awards to recording artists for works containing quality performances in the heavy metal music genre. The Grammy Awards is an annual ceremony, where honors in several categories are presented by The Recording Academy 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". The ceremony was established in 1958 and originally called the Gramophone Awards.

The Grammy Award for Best Female Rap Solo Performance was an honor presented to female recording artists at the 45th Grammy Awards in 2003 and the 46th Grammy Awards in 2004 for quality rap solo performances. The Grammy Awards, an annual ceremony that was established in 1958 and originally called the Gramophone Awards, 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".

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The Grammy Award for Best Rap/Sung Performance is an honor presented at the Grammy Awards, a ceremony that was established in 1958 and originally called the Gramophone Awards, to recording artists for quality songs on which rappers and singers collaborate. Honors in several categories are presented at the ceremony annually 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".

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Further reading