Kanye West has a love-hate relationship with the Grammys. On one hand, he’s one of the most decorated musicians of his time, having received 68 nominations, 21 of which he’s won (and proudly stores in his sock drawer). On the other hand, he has boycotted the awards ceremony in recent years, claiming a lack of respect for his more recent work (both My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy and Yeezus were clear Album of the Year candidates, and yet neither received a nomination). And yet, with nominations for the 2019 Grammys set to be released in December, Kanye and his team are actively campaigning for his inclusion in several categories, as TMZ reports.
Interestingly enough, that includes nominations for Best Rock Song and Best Rock Performance. Per TMZ, Kanye has submitted “Freeee (Ghost Town, Pt. 2)”, from his Kid Cudi collaborative album Kids See Ghosts, in both categories. As Kanye sees it, “Freeee” is essentially a rock song thanks to its heavy drums and guitars.
A few thoughts here… The Grammys’ rock-centric categories have been a mess for a while, and there’s really no rhyme or reason to who gets nominated. Last year’s winner for Best Rock Performance was the late Canadian crooner Leonard Cohen, and the year prior, Beyoncé received a nomination for “Don’t Hurt Yourself”. The Rock Song category has been even more of a clusterfuck; last year’s crop of nominees included two metal bands (Metallica and Avenged Sevenfold) and hip-hop artist k.flay. So, it wouldn’t be the craziest thing for Kanye to pick up a nomination in either category.
And given the breadth of worthy hip-hop contenders in 2019, he might stand a better chance in the rock categories. Cardi B, Travis Scott, Nicki Minaj, Drake, Pusha-T, Beyoncé and JAY-Z, ASAP Rocky, Janelle Monáe , Post Malone, J. Cole, and Kendrick Lamar are just some of the formidable names vying for rap/hip-hop Grammys, and there isn’t one name on that list who I would be comfortable picking Kanye over.
TMZ also reports that Kanye has submitted for Producer of the Year — which is probably a lock. Say what you will about his own output this year, but he did crank out five albums in five weeks, including Pusha-T’s DAYTONA, which deserves consideration for Hip-Hop Album of the Year. So, at the very least, he’ll walk away with his 22nd Grammy when the gala goes down on February 10th.