Why should you care about the Grammy Awards? Very valid question. But let’s face it: as the Writer’s Strike threatens to shut down more and more red carpet events, the 50th Annual Grammies may be the only constant in this year’s lagging awards season. In that light, the following is the fifth installment in my three-week countdown to February 10. Read below for my picks and pans in one of 2008’s many Grammy categories.
The award: Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group
Past five winners: Chamillionaire and Krayzie Bone (“Ridin”); Black Eyed Peas (“Don’t Phunk With My Heart”); Black Eyed Peas (“Let’s Get It Started”); Nelly, P. Diddy and Murphy Lee (“Shake Ya Tailfeather”); OutKast featuring Killer Mike (“The Whole World”)
“Southside,” Common featuring Kanye West
“Make It Rain,” Fat Joe featuring Lil’ Wayne
“Party Like A Rockstar,” Shop Boyz
“Int’l Players Anthem (I Choose You),” UGK featuring OutKast
“Better Than I’ve Ever Been,” Kanye West, Nas and KRS-One
Who’s Missing: Where are Jim Jones, Diddy, T.I. and Juelz Santana — the crew behind the “We Fly High” remix? Together they inspired thousands of college kids to mime jump shots on the dance floor in 2007. (Ballin’!) And where is “Buy U A Drank?”
Who Shouldn’t Be There: Kanye, Nas and KRS-One. “Better” is only worth a listen in that it unites the best rappers of the 80s (KRS), 90s (Nas) and 2000s (Kanye). But it was released as a single by Nike and never sprouted legs to run on.
Who Should Win: UGK and OutKast. How brilliant this André 3000 lyric from “Int’l Player’s Anthem”:
I’m so like a Pip/I’m glad it’s night.
(That’s a Gladys Knight and the Pips reference for you youngsters.) Or maybe Fat Joe and Lil Wayne, as the latter is likely off to prison due to a recent drug arrest. Hope it doesn’t rain on him there.
Who Will Win: This is a tough one to call. If you go by popularity — which the Grammy voters often do (note back-to-back wins for the Black Eyed Peas) — then it’s a toss-up between Shop Boyz and Fat Joe. If you go by past mistakes, then you choose Common. (He’s yet to win his own Grammy, and his critically-acclaimed Be was snubbed all over the place in 2006.) And if you go by best song, then UGK takes the cake. My money is on Shop Boyz for rapping about rock without a single cocaine reference.