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THE SEVENTH IN A 10-PART SERIES
By Grammy Whisperer Paul Grein


Today, in the latest installment of our series previewing key Grammy races, our Grammy seer looks at Best Rap Album.

Best Rap Album
Eminem
is looking for his sixth win in this category with The Marshall Mathers LP 2. That would extend his lead as the artist who has won the most times since the category was introduced in 1995. (Kanye West is second with four wins.) Eminem's album spent two weeks at #1 and spawned a #1 single, "The Monster," a collabo with Rihanna. "The Monster" was nominated for Best Male Video and Best Collaboration at the VMAs. (Not sure how it can be both.) "Berzerk" was nominated for Best Hip-Hop Video. The original The Marshall Mathers LP won a Grammy as Best Rap Album for 2000.

Iggy Azalea's debut album, The New Classic, also stands a good chance here. Azalea would become the fourth female solo artist to be nominated in this category, following Missy "Misdemeanor" Elliott, Eve and Nicki Minaj. Moreover, Azalea may become the first female solo artist to win in this category. (As a member of Fugees, Lauryn Hill won for 1996's The Score.)

Two leading award shows disagreed about where to slot Azalea. She was nominated for Best Female Hip Hop Artist at the BET Awards. But her #1 smash "Fancy" (featuring Charli XCX) was nominated for Best Pop Video (rather than Best Hip-Hop Video) at the VMAs.



If either Eminem or Azalea wins Best Rap Album, this will mark the second year in a row that a white artist has taken home this award. Macklemore & Ryan Lewis won earlier this year for The Heist.

The Roots, which have been nominated five times in this category without winning, may be back in the running with their 11th studio album, …And Then You Shoot Your Cousin. The Roots' ongoing role as the house band on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon keeps them in the forefront.

ScHoolboy Q's third album, Oxymoron, also has a good chance. The album debuted at #1 in March. He was nominated for Best New Artist at the BET Awards and for Artist to Watch at the VMAs.

Childish Gambino's sophomore album, Because the internet, has stirred a lot of buzz and has spawned a substantial chart hit ("V.3005"). "3005" was nominated for Best Hip-Hop Video at the VMAs.

In September, Lecrae's seventh studio album, Anomaly, became the first album by a Christian rapper to reach #1. Two other #1 albums also have a good chance: Wiz Khalifa's fifth studio album, Blacc Hollywood, and Rick Ross' sixth studio album, Mastermind. Wiz Khalifa's "We Dem Boyz" was nominated for Best Hip-Hop Video at the VMAs. Ross was nominated in this Grammy category two years ago with God Forgives, I Don't. (He would have won if there had been a category for Most Off-Putting Album Title.)



The BET Awards also gave a lift to YG's debut album, My Krazy Life; Future's sophomore album, Honest; Young Money's third album, Rise of an Empire; and Rich Homie Quan's fourth mixtape, I Promise I Will Never Stop Going In. YG was nominated for Best Collaboration for "My Hitta," Future for Best Male Hip Hop Artist, Young Money for Best Group and Rich Homie Quan for Best New Artist.

Common
, who has amassed three nominations in this category (without winning), may be back with his 10th studio album, Nobody's Smiling. B.o.B's third studio album, Underground Luxury, is also a possibility. His debut album, The Adventures of Bobby Ray, was nominated here four years ago.

Other albums that will rate a look include Yo Gotti's I Am, Jeezy's Seen It All: The Autobiography, Kid Ink's My Own Lane, Talib Kweli's Gravitas, Pusha T's My Name Is My Name, Sage the Gemini's Remember Me and Tech Nine and Various Artists' Tech Nine Collabos Strangeulation.

P.S. If Eminem takes Best Rap Album for the sixth time, he still won't be the biggest winner ever in these "genre album" categories. Tony Bennett has won Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album 11 times. Top that, Eminem!
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