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THE GRAMMY NOMINATIONS | Rap

OutKast, for Sure, but Afroman?

January 05, 2002|Soren Baker

OutKast is arguably the best rap group of all time, but it has never won a Grammy--a situation that may change because it has been nominated not only for best rap album, but also album of the year.

Jay-Z's "The Blueprint" and Ludacris' "Back for the First Time" are worthy rivals in the rap competition, but OutKast's "Stankonia" contains doses of daring musicianship, political commentary and a creativity that's unmatched by other albums in the category.

The rest of the rap categories contain the usual puzzlements. It's a stretch to even call Afroman's novelty hit "Because I Got High" a rap record, and its presence in the solo performance category instead of Petey Pablo's "Raise Up" is a disgrace. Of the other nominees, Nelly stands a good chance with his sing-songy "Ride Wit Me," as do Missy Elliott for her party-starting "Get Ur Freak On" and Jay-Z for his catchy "Izzo (H.O.V.A.)." DMX's hard-core "Who We Be" is the dark horse of this category.

The voters did their best job in the new best rap/sung collaboration category, as four of the five songs deserve their spot. Jagged Edge featuring Nelly should win for the delightful feel-good ditty "Where the Party At," but Eve featuring Gwen Stefani's "Let Me Blow Ya Mind" poses a credible challenge.

Ja Rule again slides in probably because of his commercial appeal, not his talent, for the silky smooth "Livin' It Up," while a surprising nomination goes to "W" from critically acclaimed underground rapper-singer Mystic and Planet Asia.

OutKast resurfaces in best rap performance by a duo or group for the baby-mama drama anthem "Ms. Jackson," although its superior "BOB" was overlooked, probably because of its revved-up, revolutionary blend of jungle, hip-hop and gospel. Perennial whipping boy P. Diddy gets a well-deserved nomination for "Bad Boy for Life," his collaboration with Black Rob and Mark Curry.

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Soren Baker

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