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AMAs Rap/Hip-Hop predictions: Should you bet on Drake, Megan Thee Stallion, and Kendrick Lamar?

Gold Derby 11/14/2022 Jaime Rodriguez
© Joe Papeo/Variety

Hip-hop is one of the biggest genres in music, and one of the most diverse too. This is reflected in the 2022 American Music Awards nominations. Everyone from promising newcomers to veterans have a shot at taking home prizes this year. Let’s run down the categories.

SEE2023 Grammy predictions: Album of the Year

Favorite Male Hip-Hop Artist

It seems like Drake always wins in the hip-hop categories when he isn’t nominated against a female artist, so he’s definitely in the lead here. The rapper has three previous wins for Favorite Hip-Hop Artist, including one last year. That said, Kendrick Lamar could end up giving Drake a run for his money, especially since he has never won this category; a lot of his fans may want to finally give him his due. It does help him that Drake is currently involved in some controversy due to a lyric seemingly shading Megan Thee Stallion, which has turned a lot of people against him. Also watch out for Lil Baby, who’s amassed a huge following in the past couple of years.

I’ll go with Drake in the end, but watch out for someone to finally upset him.

SEE2023 Grammy predictions: Record of the Year

Favorite Female Hip-Hop Artist

This category is highly competitive. On one hand, you have Nicki Minaj, who has won four times. Minaj is currently experiencing success with her hit single “Super Freaky Girl,” and has seen a resurgence after the pandemic. However, there’s also Cardi B, who has a devoted fan base and has won this award twice. Cardi hasn’t done much this year, but she currently has a hit with fellow nominee GloRilla.

If we are talking about the biggest hit, though, then it could be Latto, whose “Big Energy” spent multiple weeks in the top three of the Billboard Hot 100. That said, like GloRillla, Latto is a newer artist and might be hurt by the lack of a strong fan base, at least not as strong as the Barbz, Hotties, or Bardigang. And speaking of Hotties, there’s Megan Thee Stallion, who has seen continued success this year with her newest album, “Traumazine.” She has been promoting her music recently and, as mentioned above, could garner sympathy for the Drake controversy.

Right now I’m leaning more towards Minaj, especially given how big her fan base is, but Cardi and Megan could take it home too.

SEE2023 Grammy predictions: Song of the Year

Favorite Hip-Hop Album

This category will be a battle between Future (“I Never Liked You”) and Kendrick Lamar (“Mr. Morale and the Big Steppers“). On one hand, Future’s album had more stability near the top of the charts and could be helped by the success of the single “Wait For U,” which might be Future’s biggest hit as a lead artist. So with some of the biggest success of his career, a lot of fans may feel like it’s time to give him his due.

However, Kendrick Lamar is … well, Kendrick Lamar. His album is easily the most acclaimed here, and was still a big seller for its first few weeks despite the lack of a major hit single. Lamar also won this category previously for “Damn,” whereas Future has never won.

I’m going to predict Future here, but wouldn’t be surprised if Lamar pulls it out.

SEE2023 Grammy predictions: Best New Artist

Favorite Hip-Hop Song

Let’s go through the process of elimination. Kodak Black is not winning since this is a fan-voted award and he’s up against more pop-leaning artists with bigger fan bases. While Future’s aforementioned “Wait For U” was a smash, its lack of pop radio appeal could hurt it too with fan voters.

Ultimately, it might be between Lil Nas X and Jack Harlow‘s “Industry Baby,” Latto’s “Big Energy,” and Harlow’s “First Class.” “Big Energy” is a big hit, but Latto’s lack of a strong fan base could put the two Harlow songs ahead. Right now I’m leaning towards “Industry Baby”: it was just as big a hit as “First Class,” and it has more star power due to Nas, who previously won this category for “Old Town Road.”

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