It’s that time of year again. The 2010 Grammy Nominations just rolled in, and as we lay expectantly in the cut we can chalk up a few small victories for hip hop in the midst of this pop-dominated music world. Although Taylor Swift, Lady GaGa, Kings of Leon, Beyonce, Kanye West and many other mainstream-pop-centric (yup, I said it, that’s where Kanye lives now) artists received a large percentage of the nominations, a few nominations in particular should bring smiles to the faces of hip hop heads ’round the world. Hit the skip for the full list of the Grammy Nominations, plus the standouts.
Mos Def’s Casa Bey was nominated for Best Rap Solo Performance and Best Rap Album (for The Ecstatic). Mos has never won a Grammy, although he’s been nominated several times. It’d be dope to see the man come home with some metal, especially given how different his marketing and promotional plans are than the other nominations in those categories (except Q-Tip):
Best Rap Solo Performance
Drake – “Best I Ever Had”
Eminem – “Beautiful”
Jay-Z – “D.O.A. (Death of Auto-Tune)”
Kid Cudi – “Day ‘N’ Nite”
Mos Def – “Casa Bey”
Best Rap Album
Common – Universal Mind Control
Eminem – Relapse
Flo Rida – R.O.O.T.S.
Mos Def – The Ecstatic
Q-Tip – The Renaissance
Even cooler than Mos’ well-deserved nominations is the nomination of The Foreign Exchange for Best Urban/Alternative Performance (for their song Daykeeper). You’ve all heard of Phonte Coleman, one-third of the great hip hop group Little Brother (with Rapper Big Pooh and 9th Wonder). Phonte’s newest project came about in 2002 on the forums of OkayPlayer.com, one of the most highly regarded hip hop blogs in the world. Phonte connected with a Dutch producer named Nicolayon the forum, and the two traded music files for nearly two years. In 2004, they dropped their debut album called Connected under the name The Foreign Exchange, before they had ever met each other in person. The duo dropped their sophomore album late last year, and given the Grammy timeframe it was still applicable for this round of nominations (whereas the BP3 was not because it was released after August 31st of this year). The tandem has developed something special; not all of their music is rap, but it is very much hip hop. Phonte’s versatility as a vocalist is put perfectly on display over Nicolay’s musically interesting, unique production. Peep the Grammy-nominated track:
The Foreign Exchange – Daykeeper
Lastly, the boy Maxwell, who took an eight year hiatus from the music industry that left him disillusioned and disinterested, garnered six nominations! Maxwell spent his time off making music on his own terms, for his own reasons. It’s good to see Maxwell, a ridiculously talented vocalist and songwriter who went double-platinum in ’96, platinum in ’98, and platinum in ’01, return to form.