This article is part of a series in celebration of a new, dynamic voice in Black America: the NUBIANO Exchange. Brace yourself for the NUBIANO experience.
First things first: 2007 was Kanye West's year. In the highly-publicized 9/11 sales war, West's Graduation trumped 50 Cent's Curtis, 957,000 to 691,000, and churned out the year’s best sales week for an album. In addition, "Stronger," Graduation's lead single topped Billboard's Hot 100 chart. Graduation also produced four additional hits ("Can't Tell Me Nothing," "Good Life" and "Flashing Lights" in the U.S. and “Homecoming” in the U.K.).
2007 also saw the release of Jay-Z’s tenth album, American Gangster, which was named by Rolling Stone as the third best album of 2007, and received a glimpse of the rising importance of independent media, with “Crank That (Soulja Boy)” garnering much online success and becoming the year’s best-selling digital single, with more than 3 million downloads.
Here are my predictions for the 50th Grammy Awards in the rap field:
Best Rap Solo Performance
- "The People" - Common [Geffen]
- "I Get Money" - 50 Cent [Shady/Aftermath/Interscope Records]
- "Show Me What You Got" - Jay-Z [Roc-A-Fella Records]
- "Big Things Poppin' (Do It)" - T.I. [Grand Hustle/Atlantic]
- "Stronger" - Kanye West [Roc-A-Fella Records]
Not only did "Stronger" top the Billboard 100, it also landed the #1 spot on the United World, Canadian Hot 100, and UK singles charts. Although "Stronger" did not top Billboard's Hot Rap Tracks chart, like 2005's "Slow Jamz," 2006's "Gold Digger" or 2008's "Good Life," neither did the singles of West's competition. [SIDENOTE: T.I.'s "Big Things Poppin' (Do It)" peaked at #2; Jay-Z's "Show Me What You Got" and 50 Cent's "I Get Money" peaked at #4; and Common's "The People" did not chart at all.]
If Grammy history repeats itself, Kanye West will rack up multiple awards in the rap categories and lose in the general (read: mainstream) field. West has been nominated in this category twice before: "Through the Wire" (2005) and "Gold Digger" (2006). Expect another win, after his Grammy success with "Gold Digger."