Grammy Award for Best Rap Album: Winners List From 2000 To Today

Grammy Award for Best Rap Album: Winners List From 2000 To Today

Grammy Award for Best Rap Album: Winners List From 2000 To Today

When it comes to hip-hop, these are the kings and queens who wear the crown. Check out the last two decades’ worth of Best Rap Album winners, from Naughty By Nature to Tyler, The Creator to Cardi B.

Hip-hop reigns supreme. The genre – which continues to dominate the culture and the charts, per Billboard – will get its accolades at the upcoming Grammy Awards. Though the Recording Academy has had a complicated history regarding hip-hop, the award show will spotlight a handful of performers when it hands out the Best Rap Album award.
The Grammys announced in 1995 that they were creating the Best Rap Album category, six years after The Recording Academy created the Best Rap Performance Grammy. Will Smith and DJ Jazzy Jeff won the inaugural Best Rap Performance Grammy in 1989 for “Parents Just Don’t Understand,” but they led a boycott of the ceremony after the Grammys said they wouldn’t air the Best Rap Performance category over broadcast time constraints. “We don’t have the problem with the Grammy as an award or the Grammys as an institution. We just had a problem with the 1989 design of the awards show,” Will said in a 1989 interview with Entertainment Tonight. “We chose to boycott. We feel that it’s a slap in the face.”

In 1996, at the 38th Grammy Awards, Naughty By Nature won the first Best Rap Album award for Poverty’s Paradise. The album beat out Skee-Lo’s I Wish, Ol’ Dirty Bastard’s Return to the 36 Chambers: The Dirty Version, Bone Thugs-n-Harmony’s E.1999 Eternal, and 2Pac’s Me Against the World. The following year, Lauryn Hill became the first female artist to win in the category when she, as part of Fugees, won Best Rap Album for The Score. That year, A Tribe Called Quest (Beats, Rhymes and Life), 2Pac (All Eyez On Me), LL Cool J (Mr. Smith), and Coolio (Gangsta’s Paradise) were all nominated.

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Ahead of the 2022 ceremony, Eminem reigns with the most wins (6) in the category. Kanye West (4) is close behind. Only Outkast and Kendrick Lamar have won Best Rap Album more than once. The Roots have the most nominations without a win (five), while Jay-Z has the record for most nominations overall, with eleven. Cardi has the distinction of being the first solo female rapper to win Best Rap Album. She claimed the crown in 2019 with Invasion of Privacy.
This Year’s Nominees
That multi-Best Rap Album winners club could get a new member following the 64th Grammy Awards. Nas’s King’s Disease II is nominated, as is Tyler, The Creator’s Call Me If You Get Lost. Both performers have won in the past. J. Cole could win his first Best Rap Album Grammy with The Off-Season. Kanye West’s Donda is also nominated. Drake’s Certified Lover Boy was also nominated, but he withdrew all his nominations in December 2021. He has yet to explain why, but judging by his past comments about the Grammys, it’s not hard to guess the reason behind this move.

All Recent Best Rap Album Grammy Winners
Here’s a quick rundown of the last two decades’ worth of winners:
2021: Nas, ‘King’s Disease’
Nas’s thirteenth studio album took the crown during the 63rd Grammy Awards. The album beat out:
D Smoke’s Black Habits,
Jay Electronica’s A Written Testimony,
Royce Da 5’9” s The Allegory.
Freddie Gibbs & The Alchemist’s Alfredo
2020: Tyler, The Creator, ‘Igor’
Other nominees:
Dreamville’s Revenge of the Dreamers III
Meek Mill’s Championships
21 Savage’s I Am > I Was
Cordae’s The Lost Boy
2019: Cardi B, Invasion of Privacy
Other nominees:
Mac Miller’s Swimming
Nipsey Hussle’s Victory Lap
Pusha T’s Daytona
Travis Scott’s Astroworld.
2018: Kendrick Lamar, ‘Damn’
Kendrick picked up his second Album of The Year award when Damn beat out Jay-Z’s 4:44 to claim the prize.
Other nominees:
Migos’ Culture,
Rapsody, Laila’s Wisdom
Tyler, The Creator’s Flower Boy.
Jay-Z, 4:44
2017: Chance The Rapper, ‘Coloring Book’
Chance The Rapper’s Coloring Book made history when it won the Best Rap Album award in 2017. It was already the first mixtape to chart on the Billboard 200 solely on streams, and it was the first streaming-only album ever to win a Grammy.
Other nominees:
De La Soul, and the Anonymous Nobody…
DJ Khaled, Major Key
Drake, Views,
ScHoolboy Q, Blank Face LP,
Kanye West, The Life of Pablo.
2016: Kendrick Lamar, ‘To Pimp a Butterfly’
Other nominees:
J.Cole, 2014 Forest Hills Drive
Dr. Dre, Compton
Drake, If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late
Nicki Minaj, The Pinkprint
2015: Eminem, ‘The Marshall Mathers LP 2’
Other nominees:
Iggy Azalea, The New Classic
Common, Nobody’s Smiling
Childish Gambino, Because the Internet
Wiz Khalifa, Blacc Hollywood
ScHoolboy Q, Oxymoron
2014: Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, ‘The Heist’
Perhaps the most controversial win in the category’s short life, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis’s The Heist took home the Best Rap Album award, beating Drake, Jay-Z, Kanye West, and Kendrick Lamar. Macklemore even apologized to Kendrick via a text (“You got robbed. I wanted you to win. It’s weird, and it sucks that I robbed you”), which Drake called out for being “wack as f-ck.”

“This is how the world works: He made a brand of music that appealed to more people than me, Hov, Kanye, and Kendrick,” Drake said, per Rolling Stone. “Whether people wanna say it’s racial, or whether it’s just the fact that he tapped into something we can’t tap into. That’s just how the cards fall. Own your shit.”
Other nominees:
Drake, Nothing Was The Same
Jay-Z, Magna Carta Holy Grail
Kendrick Lamar, Good Kidd, M.A.A.D. City
Kanye West, Yeezus
2013: Drake, ‘Take Care’
Other nominees:
2 Chainz, Based on a T.R.U. Story
Lupe Fiasco, Food & Liquor II: The Great American Rap Album Pt. 1
Nas, Life Is Good
Rick Ross, God Forgives, I Don’t
The Roots, Undun
2012: Kanye West, ‘My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy’
Other nominees:
Lupe Fiasco, Lasers
Jay-Z and Kanye West, Watch the Throne
Nicki Minaj, Pink Friday
Lil Wayne, Tha Carter IV
2011: Eminem, ‘Recovery’
Other nominees:
B.o.B., B.o.B. Presents: The Adventures of Bobby Ray
Drake, Thank Me Later
Jay-Z, The Blueprint 3
The Roots, How I Got Over
2010: Eminem, ‘Relapse’
Other nominees:
Common, Universal Mind Control
Flo Rida, R.O.O.T.S.
Mos Def, The Ecstatic
Q-Tip, The Renaissance
2009: Lil Wayne, ‘Tha Carter III’
Other nominees:
Jay-Z, American Gangster
Lupe Fiasco, Lupe Fiasco’s The Cool
Nas, Nas/Untitled
T.I., Paper Trail
2008: Kanye West, ‘Graduation’
Other nominees:
Common, Finding Forever
Jay-Z, Kingdom Come
Nas, Hip-Hop Is Dead
T.I., T.I. vs. T.I.P.
2007: Ludacris, ‘Release Therapy’
Other nominees:
Lupe Fiasco, Food & Liquor
Pharrell, In my Mind
The Roots, Game Theory
T.I., King
2006: Kanye West, ‘Late Registration’
Other nominees:
50 Cent, The Massacre
Common, Be
Missy Elliott, The Cookbook
Eminem, Encore
2005: Kanye West, ‘The College Dropout’
Other nominees:

Beastie Boys, To the 5 Boroughs
Jay-Z, The Black Album
LL Cool J, The DEFinition
Nelly, Suit
2004: Outkast, ‘Speakerboxxx/The Love Below’
Other nominees:
50 Cent, Get Rich or Die Trying’
Missy Elliott, Under Construction
Jay-Z, The Blueprint 2: The Gift & the Curse
The Roots, Phrenology
2003: Eminem, ‘The Eminem Show’
Other nominees:
Ludacris, Word of Mouf
Mystikal, Tarantula
Nelly, Nellyville
Petey Pablo, Diary of a Sinner: 1st Entry
2002: Outkast, ‘Stankonia’
Other nominees:
Eve, Scorpion
Ja Rule, Pain Is Love
Jay-Z, The Blueprint
Ludacris, Back for the First Time
2001: Eminem, ‘The Marshall Mathers LP’
Other nominees:
DMX, …And Then There Was X
Dr. Dre, 2001
Jay-Z, Vol. 3…Life and Times of S. Carter
Nelly, Country Grammar
2000: Eminem, ‘The Slim Shady LP’
Other nominees:
Busta Rhymes, E.L.E.: The Final World Front
Missy Elliot, Da Real World
Nas, I Am…
The Roots, Things Fall Apart


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