They say hindsight’s 20/20, and after this week’s Grammys it seems there’s a lot of people looking back at what could have been. Chance The Rapper took home three awards at the ceremony, rightly deserved for the man who has changed what it means to be an independent artist forever. However, it appears on social media that a lot of people are also sad that Acid Rap has been unable to receive the same love as Coloring Book after it dropped in 2013, obviously because it wasn’t nominated for any Grammys. I saw a tweet that really got me thinking:
i remember back in 2014 i would jam to Acid Rap like every single day. Coloring Book is great but Acid Rap will always be the original vibe
— olivia kutsch (@olivia_kutsch) February 13, 2017
Would Acid Rap have won a Grammy had it been eligible?
So this took a little bit of research. Acid Rap would have been eligible for the 56th Grammy Awards, which was held in January of 2014. You might remember it as the night Macklemore shook the hip-hop community, his The Heist beating out Kendrick Lamar’s GKMC for best rap album of the year. Now that we know where it would be placed, let’s talk categories.
The main categories Acid Rap would have been competing for include: Best Rap Performance, Best Rap/Sung Collabortation, Best Rap Song, and of course Best Rap Album. Chance also could have competed for Best New Artist, which would have made more sense than it was for him to be included this year.
To decide if it would have won, I’ll go back to each category for that year and review the nominees. Then I will remove what I believe to be the worst nominee in the group and throw Acid Rap in its place. I’d also like to note that even if I think the winner is the worst nominee, I won’t be removing it. That way we can really try and see if the Academy would change their mind from their original choice. It’s really the only fair way to do it. I’ll mark the winners with an asterisk “*” so it won’t need more explaining.
As far as reviewing the possibility of Chance winning goes, this won’t be just from my opinion. To be completely fair they all need a level playing field-so I’ll be basing this off of 2013 Chance, who doesn’t have quite the same amount of pull and influence that 2017 Chance does. You also need to account for how the Academy usually votes, which kind of sucks, but hey, they try.
Best Rap Performance
This award is given for “quality rap performances,” whatever that means. Fun fact: The first ever winner of this was DJ Jazzy Jeff and The Fresh Prince. The more you know right?
Anyway, the original nominees were: “Thrift Shop*,” (Macklemore and Ryan Lewis) “Started From the Bottom,” (Drake) “Berzerk,” (Eminem) “Tom Ford,” (Jay Z) and “Swimming Pools” (Kendrick Lamar).
The worst nominee? My apologies to HOV, but “Tom Ford” has got to go.
The Acid Rap song that best fits this category is probably “Cocoa Butter Kisses.” It is one of the more well known songs off the tape(second most SoundCloud streams on it), has a touching and catchy hook, and features a flurry of nice raps from Chano and features fellow chi-town rapper Vic Mensa.
How does it stack up?
Out of the remaining nominees I would go out on a limb here and say it is maybe the best left-for sure in my top two. Kendrick gets the other nod here. However, we all can remember how huge “Thrift Shop” was that year. It was on the radio every time I got in the car. I actually even just heard it out at the bars last Friday; it’s still alive. Not even “Swimming Pools” could overtake it originally, and that was a pretty big party song(which is ironic if you actually listen to it), so unfortunately neither would “Cocoa Butter Kisses.”
Best Rap/Sung Collaboration
This award is pretty simple – the best rap song with some dope singing, that’s also a collaboration. The nominees included “Power Trip,” (J. Cole feat Miguel) “Part II(On the Run),” (Jay Z feat. Beyoncé) “Now or Never,” (Kendrick Lamar feat. Mary J. Blige) “Holy Grail*” (Jay Z feat. Justin Timberlake) and “Remember You” (Wiz Khalifa feat. The Weeknd.)
Now while it might not be the worst, I’m gonna go ahead and take out “Part II” because Jay already has another nominee in there. Sorry again, HOV.
Picking a song for Chance here was difficult. In the end I decided to go with “Everybody’s Something” featuring Saba and BJ the Chicago Kid. For one, the three of these dudes on a track harmonizing is very dope. Second, I like the thought of a song that says “Fuck Fox News” to get a Grammy nom.
A lot of the songs in the category are pretty good, so this would be a tough battle. In the end the answer is simple though – can you beat a Jay Z and Justin Timberlake collabo? Fuck no. You can’t. Especially with three very small names at the time. The Academy wouldn’t stand for it.
Best Rap Song
This is a big one. Self explanatory. Annnd the nominee’s were: “New Slaves” (Kanye West), “Holy Grail” ( Jay Z feat. Justin Timberlake) “Thrift Shop*,” (Macklemore and Ryan Lewis) “Started From the Bottom,” (Drake) and “Fuckin’ Problems,” (A$AP Rocky feat. Drake, 2 Chainz, & Kendrick Lamar).
The worst song here is tough. Both Drake and A$AP put out songs that are mainstream bangers, that don’t offer a lot of higher concept to them. I think it’s against my religion to remove a song with Kendrick on it, so Drizzy is getting the boot.
This pick was easy. It’s “Favorite Song” featuring Childish Gambino. This is the most streamed song(Soundcloud) off Acid Rap by 10 million, and it is a track about this very song being your fucking jam. It’s the perfect fit.
This category gives Chance a really good, well, chance at winning. The assist from Bino is amazing and this song goes so hard it could turn any situation from lame to lit. Can you imagine the two of them performing this at the award ceremony? It would be the livest Grammys of all time.
There’s just one problem here. As I mentioned before, Macklemore shook up the hip-hop community that year. Which wasn’t necessarily his fault. He acknowledged that. “Thrift Shop” already had won a previous category on the night, which gives it even more of an upper-hand. “Favorite Song” is actually the better song, but the academy wouldn’t step away from Macklemore here.
Best Rap Album
Alright so I don’t really want to get into this one. Acid Rap was great. Has a lot of strength all around. It’s a classic. So is Kendrick’s Good Kid, M.A.A.D City. And it still lost. So Chance wasn’t winning this. Don’t kid yourself.
Best New Artist
James Blake, Kendrick Lamar, Kacey Musgraves, Ed Sheeran, and Macklemore and Ryan Lewis* were all up for this award. All pretty deserving, so it’s hard to take one away. If there’s one who’s made the least largest impact so far it’s probably Kacey. She has a dope voice though:
Chance should fit right in with this group, as a the artists featured on it are still prominent today. Alas, Chance would still come up empty handed because The Academy had a Macklemore hard on if you hadn’t noticed already. He had a huge year here. Very impressive. But also very controversial.
While it would have been magical to witness a 20 year old Chance taking in the glory at the Grammys, he still wouldn’t have his coveted win(s) until this year. Sure, it would have been a big part of hip-hop history had he won in 2014, where he honestly still could have came away with at least one, but witnessing what he did this week was truly something special. Acid Rap is still amazing; we won’t ever forget that. But Coloring Book pushed Chance to where he always envisioned himself.
He’s already hit the sky, so I’m not sure what his limit is. But he’s still flying.