Will a Rapper ever win Album of the Year at the Grammys Again?




When Kanye released the masterpiece that was My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy in 2010, many critics believed his genry bending, maximalist, and utterly brilliant album was due to give "rap" its first 'Album of the Year' win, but the album was overlooked. That was the point i asked myself, will rap ever win an album of the year in the Grammys. 

MBDTF isn't any other album - it is an album filled with musical opulence, almost to the point of decadence. A piece of art that dare not only rappers but everyone in pop music, and even pop culture, to beat it. It production was a daring move of sheer arrogance mixed with unmistakable talent to produce a sound so expansive and detailed, it made others seems amateur-like. The expansiveness had never been heard of before, and no one has replicated it after. It was also a critical success, amassing more five stars from critics than any other Rap album for a generation. 

Rolling Stone said of the album: "Nobody else is making music this daring and weird, from the spooky space funk of "Gorgeous" to the King Crimson-biting "Power" to the paranoid staccato strings of "Monster." 

In 2010, no one - absolutely no one made music that good, or daring; or soulful and naked. It remains Kanye's "Mona-Lisa" and was, undoubtably, before the emergence of Kendrick Lamar, the genry's best album for a generation. 

Yet it was snubbed.  

The only "rap" albums to have won Album of the year are: "The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill" and Outkast's "Speakerboxxx/The love below." Both album, while they were deserving, were also "not so rap" albums. Infact, Lauryn Hill also won "Best r'n'b" album for the same album, while Outkast's effort was more an experimentation that took rap to places you rarely found it.  

Since MBDTF was snubbed, even for a nomination, Kendrick Lamar has been touted to also win, but yet hasn't, even though Taylor Swift has won the most coveted award twice. Kendrick could have won it both in 2013 and 2015, but on both occasions, lost it. 

Is it that the Grammys are awarding the biggest prize in music to the safest options - this year, that was Bruno Mars, and not any artist that is polarizing, irrespective of how great his art is? 

Lamar's words are indicative of the oppressiveness of White supremacy to African Americans. While Kanye's art is daring, expansive and consistently ahead of its time, Lamar's music spreads Black consciousness, and that is maybe too polarising for the Academy to come to terms with.  

Lauryn Hill's choice in 1999 was another safe option. The former fugees singer was an ivy-league educated mega star, whose fame was accepted in most quarters of American life. And that's maybe where most rappers lose it. They refuse to be pigeonholed and rarely pander to the wishes of white America. 

Don't get me wrong, "The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill" was a deserving master-piece, as was Outkast's ridiculously brilliant double album, but I can't help but think the fact they were less polarizing, and more accepted played positively to their success.