The nominations for the 2024 Grammys have been announced, and we’re looking at the choices for Best Melodic Rap Performance. The category was created to recognize artists who creatively blended rapping and singing in their music. It has seen several name changes throughout the years, most notably in 2018 and once again in 2020. This resulted from the constantly evolving genre of rap and how many elements have blended with it across the years. This year’s nominees, like Drake and Burna Boy, often use sung vocals, whereas people like J.Cole and 21 Savage have a rap-centric approach to this category. 21 Savage has two nominations in this one, giving him a greater chance of winning.
“Sittin’ On Top Of The World” – Burna Boy Feat. 21 Savage
This is the first of two 2024 Grammy nominations in this category for 21 Savage. Both of his nominations come from collaborations, and they are quite different. This shows how much range he’s gained as an artist and continues expanding his audience through collaborations like this. “Sittin’ On Top Of The World” is the lead single for Burna Boy’s critically and commercially successful album I Told Them… It shows 21 rapping about a relationship while Burna Boy takes on the melodic sung elements of the track. The production is not the type typically associated with either artist since it’s not trap or afrobeats. Instead, it’s a more boom-bap-based sound, but both artists sound comfortable on it. The song went No. 1 on the UK Afrobeats Singles chart and No. 1 on the US Rhythmic chart.
“Attention” – Doja Cat
Doja Cat has blended rapping and singing in her music throughout her career. Her chart-topping multi-platinum-selling single “Say So” introduced many listeners to how she could combine both. The second verse on the song is rapped and contrasts the singing of the first verse. However, that song was more pop-centric, and “Attention” leans much more heavily into a rap-based atmosphere.
“Attention” has two rapped verses from Doja, and she sings the hook. Her rapping on the song is calculated and intricate, which pairs well with the song’s production. In 2019, Doja released a song called “Tia Tamera” that featured Rico Nasty. This was a rap song, too; however, Doja’s verse, while lyrical, was still lighthearted. “Attention” has a direct approach and finds her addressing people’s criticisms of her life and music.
“Spin Bout U” – Drake & 21 Savage
This Grammy 2024 nominee is the second track from Drake & 21 Savage’s collab album, Her Loss. The song is one of their most popular, reaching the top 10 on several Billboard charts and accumulating over 266 million streams. Drake built his career around balancing rapping and singing, finding success when he does either. Meanwhile, 21 is fairly new to including melodic elements in his music. “Mr. Right Now,” from his 2020 album Savage Mode II, was one of his most popular attempts, and interestingly enough, that track featured Drake. “Spin Bout U” showcases 21 using a rap flow while Drake sings the hook. The song is one of the slower-paced ones from their collaborative album and gives concert attendees at their joint tour a moment to rest from the higher-energy tracks.
“All My Life” – Lil Durk Feat. J. Cole
This is one of the most recently released Grammy 2024 nominees. The Grammys are known for their creative, collaborative performances the night the awards air, and this song is right on par with them. Over the past few years, J. Cole has worked with some surprising artists ranging from Young Thug to Korean rapper j-hope of BTS fame. His collaboration with Lil Durk was completely unexpected and then welcomed by fans of both artists.
On the track, Lil Durk handles the melodic singing while Cole delivers a heartfelt verse. Listeners praised the track for the comforting feeling it had, a large departure from the type of music they would associate with Lil Durk. The track hit No. 1 on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs and US Rhythmic charts, the latter a testament to its nomination in this category.
“Low” – SZA
SZA’s “Low” comes from her critically acclaimed album SOS, which is also nominated for Album of the Year at the 2024 Grammys. It’s one of the most popular songs from the album, accumulating over 343 million plays on Spotify and was certified platinum by the RIAA.
This song is a standout from the album due to the trap-like production and how SZA displayed a variety of vocal delivery techniques. SZA uses more straightforward rapping on other tracks on SOS, but on this one, she prioritizes singing and uses a rap-sung flow at moments, too. The track also features ad-libs from Travis Scott but no verses from him. “Low” is the type of song this category was created for because it could be classified as rap and R&B.