Lil Wayne Leads All Artists of Any Category in Grammy Nominations

wayne“Welcome back Hip-Hop, I saved your life,” Wayne triumphantly announced at the end of his song “Dr. Carter” from his multi-platinum album Tha Carter III. The self-proclaimed “best rapper alive” garnered 8 Grammy nominations this year, including Best Rap Song for “Lollipop,” Best Rap Solo Performance for “A Milli,” Best Rap Performance by Duo for “Mr. Carter” (featuring Jay-Z) and album of the year for Tha Carte III (just to name a few). Granted, some of the songs from this list (“Mr. Carter,” for example) are better than others (“Lollipop”!?) – it is quite a feat for any artist to garner such prestigious praise from the recording academy. Weezy’s 8 nominations place him ahead of industry giants Coldplay, who earned 7 nominations; as well as Jay-Z, Ne-Yo and Kanye West, who each earned 6 nominations. For a complete list of nominee’s, check out Grammy’s website.

Critics of mainstream rap often point to corporate appropriation, glorification of negative stereotypes and a general decline in creativity among popular Hip-Hop artists, as evidence of the music’s waning influence and potency. While to a large extent I believe this to be true, some commercially successful artists such as Lil’ Wayne, Outkast and Gnarls Barkley are a refreshing reminder that Hip-Hop is a constantly innovative and transformative culture – from the grassroots/underground to the major labels. Part of this creative energy comes from artists becoming self-determining in their careers. In Wayne’s case, he signed his first deal at age 11 after rhyming on a record executive’s answering machine. As a teenager, he joined the influential rap group The Hot Boyz and Cash Money Records. As a Hot Boy, Wayne’s flow was much like many of his peers. His rhymes were unimaginative and focused on… well, cash, money, women and drugs. Yawn, right? Things started to change for Wayne around 2004, with the release Tha Carter followed by the mixtapes Tha Drought and Tha Prefix. The following year, Wayne released Tha Carter II and was named the president of Cash Money Records and Young Money Entertainment. In the following years, Weezy dropped a half dozen critically acclaimed mixtapes, garnering the respect of colleagues and critics alike. In 2008Time Magazine described him as “a savant who merges sex, drugs and politics with a sneaky intellect, a freakish knowledge of pop culture and a voice out of the Delta,” in their article entitled “Lil Wayne: The Best Rapper Alive.” He has reached a pivotal point in his career where he has achieved a large measure of commercial success, and consequently, creative autonomy over the work that he produces. Wayne’s thrilling wordplay has catapulted him into the upper echelons of the music industry, alongside the likes of Kanye West, Parliament Funkadelic, and indeed artists such as Marvin Gaye and Billie Holiday – artists who defied, and defined current trends, in the pursuit of a creative voice that was truly original. However, unlike many of his predecessors, Wayne has reached this pinnacle at the young age of 25.

Perhaps this goes without saying for all of the young fans who’ve only just jumped on WeezyF.BabyTrain, but for old-school Hip-Hop heads like myself who remember Wayne from his ‘drop it like it’s‘ Hot Boyz days… we at least have to consider Wayne’s confident proclamation from his Grammy nominated song “Mr. Carter” – “…next time you mention Pac, Biggie or Jay-Z don’t forget Weezy Baby.”

7 Comments to ‘Lil Wayne Leads All Artists of Any Category in Grammy Nominations’:

  1. heather on 8 Dec 2008 at 6:54 pm: 1

    nice. give credit, where it is due

  2. Sundiata Salaam on 9 Dec 2008 at 8:06 pm: 2

    Two things… Lil Wayne in his Hot Boyz days is not “old school.” You should be ashamed of yourself. Also, Lil Wayne is without a doubt talented and should recieve “talent” awards such as this one, but to compare him to Marvin Gaye and Billie Holiday… i’m not sure that’s pushing it… but maybe i can be convinced.

  3. Blackademics supporter on 12 Dec 2008 at 8:12 pm: 3

    Is this ‘the premiere roundtable for young black thinkers?’ I can find this post on thousands of websites on the web. This site should live up to the title and really engage in more intelligent analysis. That’s why not many people have responded to this post. Please do better. Thanks.

  4. Ntellect-G on 13 Dec 2008 at 12:07 pm: 4

    In response to Blackademics supporter, this site has hundreds of other articles that delve deep into intellectual analysis and I find it quite refreshing to read an article on another plateau from this website. I agree with Sundiata, none of Lil Wayne’s work can yet be considered old school…

  5. Pierce on 15 Dec 2008 at 3:13 am: 5

    Two-Shay, Salaam. However, To my credit, I didn’t say the Hot Boyz were old school, I said the old school HEADS who remember the Hot Boyz days. That’s like saying “for all the old-school Basketball heads who remember the Jordan days..”

    Jordan hasn’t been retired long enuf be considered “old-school” (like, say, Wilt Chamberlin) – but it takes an older basketball head to be able to appreciate and contextualize his accomplishments.

    Furthermore – my comparison to B. Holiday and Gaye are based on their distinct sounds. Billie was not a strong vocalist, but she conveyed emotion through her music. She also did things with her voice that defied contemporary vocal techniques – Strange Fruit is a great example of this. That song is a piece of art. Same for Marvin. If you listen to early Marvin, he doesn’t sound remarkable, or distinct. He sounds like a B-minus Motown soul singer – much like Wayne sounded as a Hot Boy. It was not until he matured and found his comfort zone – then began to challenge it – that we began to say “Oh, that’s Marvin”. He did it in his experimental harmonies, ad-libs, vocal inflections, moans. It’s similar to Weezy. Wayne reached his boundaries as an emcee, transcended them, and then completely reinvented them. And now all these other rappers are falling in line trying to sound just like him. Have you heard the new Jay-Z “Brooklyn Go Hard?” – In my opinion, Jigga’s flow on that song is a reference to Wayne’s non-conventional delivery/style. When you have the greats imitating your style, it means you’re doing something truly unique.

  6. Pierce on 15 Dec 2008 at 3:33 am: 6

    Support Deez

  7. Sundiata Salaam on 18 Dec 2008 at 4:58 pm: 7

    Mr. Freelon

    You are right… you definitely didn’t say they were old school, but to old school heads. But im still not sure that it takes old school heads to appreciate the Hot Boys. The “heads” you are talking about are people like me who were young and thinking we were cool when 400 Degreez and Hot Boys came out. We may like old school, but we are far from old school heads.

    And I was almost convinced by your Billie Holiday/Lil Wayne/Marvin Gaye comparison, but then i got to thinking. What Billie Holiday did in reference to kinda “switching” it up was going against commercial genres. The same is true for Marvin Gaye. And we would definitely have a heck of a time in reference to defining the progression between their singing voices, because I always thought they sounded beautiful, especially Billie. It like talking about Sam Cooke with his Soul Stirrirs days and saying that because his popularity was not necessarily as high that he became a better singer when he stopped solely singing gospel. Many would argue he was just as good a singer with the Soul Stirrirs.

    So the same goes with Lil Wayne. I do agree that he has done some things that are “different.” But I do not believe they have in any way gone so far out of the main stream. Also, this whole voice changing could easily be attributed to T-Pain, who would without a doubt have to give it up to Teddy Riley for starting the whole thing in the first place.

    Whereas I am still agreeing that Lil Wayne is definitely talented, I don’t think by any means that he has moved in the realm or should truly be compared to a Billie Holiday in reference to stepping outside of “comfort zones”

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Published on December 8, 2008 at 4:48 pm. 7 Comments.
Filed under black culture,entertainment,music.