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Grammy Awards

2019 Grammy Watch: Best Rap Performance

Is Cardi B going to be the one to beat? Scott’s “Sicko Mode” might pull out all the stops

CMN’s team of music writers is previewing the 2019 Grammy Awards. The 61st annual ceremony will take place Sunday, February 10 in Los Angeles. You can see all of our Grammy coverage here. 

Cardi B: “Be Careful” – Of all of the hit songs Cardi B accumulated in 2018 (mainly off of her album Invasion of Privacy), “Be Careful” was one of her more introspective. With the help of a Lauryn Hill reference, Cardi delves into the nuances of a relationship gone wrong. Despite the simplistic concept, the Bronx rapper peels back a layer that fans haven’t seen before, a more sensitive side: (“Be careful with me, you know what you doing?/Whose feelings you hurting and bruising?”). The track definitely features the delicate mindset of the millennial generation over a slick Boi-1da beat.

Drake: “Nice for What” – It wouldn’t be the Grammys without a Drake nomination. The Canadian juggernaut continued his reign as the crossover (between rap and pop) king with the Lauryn Hill-sampled, and Munda-Produced banger, “Nice For What.” It reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100, and received praise from critics and fans for its positive portrayal of women in power (as shown in the music video). The track was featured on the second half of Drake’s double album, Scorpion, and showed that the Toronto rapper can still make hits without being a laughable meme.

Kendrick Lamar, Jay Rock, Future and James Blake: “King’s Dead” – There was probably no bigger achievement in hip hop during 2018 than Kendrick Lamar’s curation of the Black Panther soundtrack. One of the singles, “King’s Dead,” not only followed the blueprint of the movie, but also showed how capable Lamar is, working with artists that are outside of his realm stylistically (Future and James Blake). Nonetheless, the process works perfectly, as the Compton rapper adds a sticky chorus with a killer beat switch at the end of the track.

Anderson .Paak: “Bubbling” – It’s crazy to think that the one song Anderson .Paak received a Grammy nomination for in 2018 wasn’t even featured on his critically acclaimed album, Oxnard. “Bubbling” is a banger filled with a lot of memorable content. .Paak even said that no one else wanted to write a verse for the track because of how action-packed the beat was. Instead, .Paak did it all himself, and showed he can hang amongst the game’s greatest lyricists.

Travis Scott, Drake, Big Hawk and Swae Lee: “Sicko Mode” – Astroworld is arguably Travis Scott’s magnum opus as an artist, containing his first Billboard number one hit, “Sicko Mode.” It’s a perfect representation of Astroworld, a roller coaster journey through the Houston rapper’s drugged-out mind.

Who Will Win:

Cardi B. Mainly because of the hype Cardi accumulated over her ultra-successful 2018. Not even Drake or Travis’s breakout year can stop that.

Who Should Win: 

Travis Scott. Scott has worked hard to get to where he’s at today, and he deserves all the critical acclaim and popularity he’s receiving. He made a number one radio hit without sacrificing quality, which is hard to do in today’s streamlined industry.

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