A Look at the Best Melodic Rap Performance Nominees for the 2024 Grammys

In 2002, the Recording Academy introduced a new category to the Grammy Awards: Best Rap/Sung Collaboration. At its core, the award is meant to honor the best song that combines elements of rap and pop/R&B. In 2018, the name of the award was altered to Best Rap/Sung Performance, only to be changed to Best Melodic Rap Performance in 2021. Now, the Grammys describe the honor as: “For a solo or collaborative performance containing both elements of R&B melodies and Rap.

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In its two-decade history, winners of Best Melodic Rap Performance have included icons like Beyoncé, Jay-Z, Gwen Stefani, Kanye West, Rihanna, Justin Timberlake, and more. Now, for the 2024 Grammy nominees that were announced last Friday (November 10), a new crop of stars has emerged.

Learn about all five songs nominated below.

1. “Sittin’ on Top of the World,” Burna Boy feat. 21 Savage

Back in August, Nigerian Afrobeats sensation Burna Boy released his seventh album I Told Them… Along with other rap phenoms like J. Cole, RZA of Wu-Tang Clan, and U.K.-born Dave, 21 Savage found his way on the I Told Them… track list and made a huge impact.

Sampling the iconic 1998 R&B hit “Top of the World” by Brandy and Mase, “Sittin’ on Top of the World” incorporates that same blend of rap and melody that was perfected on the original rendition. Though it peaked at a humble No. 80 on the Billboard Hot 100, the Burna Boy and 21 Savage collaboration made its way to No. 1 on the U.K.’s Afrobeats Singles chart.

Along with “Sittin’ on Top of the World” being considered for Best Melodic Rap Performance, Burna Boy earned three other 2024 Grammy nominations. I Told Them… is a nominee for Best Global Music Album, his song “Alone” is a nominee for Best Global Music Performance, and his song “City Boys” is a nominee for Best African Music Performance. If victorious in any of these categories, he would land his second-ever Grammy Award.

As for 21 Savage, he is also nominated in three other categories, which include Best Rap Performance, Best Rap Song, and Best Rap Album. Additionally, he was nominated in the Best Melodic Rap Performance again for his song “Spin Bout U” with Drake. He is seeking his second-ever Grammy Award as well.

2. “Attention,” Doja Cat

Though Doja Cat made a deliberate attempt to focus on rapping on her latest album Scarlet (September 22), she was still able to incorporate her beloved harmonies every so often in the track list. One of the most notable instances of this came with the LP’s lead single “Attention.”

Over a stunning combination of harp and hip-hop drums, “Attention” sees Doja match potent raps with a sultry, elegantly sung hook. Making allusions to her female reproductive system needing “Attention,” the song finds a way to balance feistiness with gracefulness.

“Attention” is also a nominee in the Best Rap Song category, while Scarlet‘s other promotional single “Paint the Town Red” is nominated for Best Pop Solo Performance. If victorious in any of these three categories, Doja would win her second Grammy Award.

[RELATED: A Look at the Best Rap Album Nominees for the 2024 Grammys]

3. “Spin Bout U,” Drake & 21 Savage

Much like many of the songs on the track list for Drake and 21 Savage’s November 2022 joint album Her Loss, “Spin Bout U” showcases a thrilling amalgamation of both boisterous hip-hop verses and melodic, radio-friendly hooks. Sampling B.G.O.T.I.’s charming 1995 hit “Give Me Your Lov-N,” the song became an instant highlight on an album full of tracks just like it, thanks to its uniquely clever method of juxtaposing rap and R&B.

“Spin Bout U” is not the only nomination Her Loss was able to receive, as the album is a nominee in the Best Rap Album category and the LP’s intro “Rich Flex” is a nominee for Best Rap Song and Best Rap Performance. If Drake and 21 Savage win in any of these categories, they will earn their sixth and second Grammys respectively.

4. “All My Life,” Lil Durk featuring J. Cole

In the early days of summer this year, Lil Durk was meant to release his highly-anticipated album Almost Healed on May 12. However, he ended up delaying the project when that day came and instead put out the lead single for Almost Healed titled “All My Life,” featuring J. Cole.

As it turns out, the song would go on to be Durk’s most successful track ever, peaking at No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100. For the song, instead of employing his typical motifs of money and street violence, Durk decided to utilize an uplifting message. To assist him and Cole with this, Durk recruited a children’s choir to sing the now-beloved All my life hook, while the two rappers ripped off impressive rap verses with positive lyrics.

When speaking on the song in a subsequent interview with Complex, Durk noted that J. Cole’s performance on “All My Life” was better than his, something he never admits.

“The number one thing, he smoked my ass on that, for one,” he said. “Barely. That barely happens. But shoutout to Cole… We made it happen.”

If victorious, this would net Durk his first-ever Grammy Award and would give Cole his second.

5. “Low,” SZA

For SZA’s sophomore album SOS, she drifted away from having an intensely cohesive concept and instead chose to deliver a mixed bag of songs that featured a variety of influences. For the fourth song “Low,” this versatility was put on display in a major way. Produced by Rob Bisel, Alessandro Buccellati, and Aire Atlantica, the track sees SZA mostly gravitate towards a poised, yet menacing rap flow. On top of this, the song contains ad-libs from SZA’s best rap friend Travis Scott, who was featured again later on the album.

Thanks to nominations like “Low,” SZA was able to become the artist with the most nominations for the 2024 Grammys. On top of the Melodic Rap Performance category, she is also a nominee for Album of the Year, Record of the Year, Song of the Year, Best R&B Performance, Best Traditional R&B Performance, Best R&B Song, and Best Pop Duo-Group Performance.

(Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images for Coachella)

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