Grammy Award for Best Rap Album: Winners List – Hollywood Life

Grammy Award For Best Rap Album: Winners List From 2000 To Today

The 65th Grammy Awards will celebrate some of the biggest names in hip-hop with the Best Rap Album category. See who's up for the award and who's won the gold.

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  • The 65th Grammy Awards take place on Feb. 5, 2023.
  • The Grammys have handed out the Best Rap Album award since 1996.
  • Tyler, The Creator won the album in 2022 with CALL ME IF YOU GET LOST.

Hip-hop reigns supreme. The genre — which continues to dominate the culture and the charts, per Billboard – will get its accolades at the upcoming Grammy Awards. Though the Recording Academy has had a complicated history regarding hip-hop (most of the recent stars boycotting the show hail from the hip-hop world, and their grievances are not without merit), the show will spotlight a handful of performers when it hands out the Best Rap Album award on Feb. 5, 2023.

The Grammys announced in 1995 that they were creating the Best Rap Album category six years after The Recording Academy created the Best Rap Performance Grammy. Will Smith and DJ Jazzy Jeff won the inaugural Best Rap Performance Grammy in 1989 for “Parents Just Don’t Understand,” but led a boycott of the ceremony after the Grammys said they wouldn’t air the Best Rap Performance category over broadcast time constraints.

“We don’t have the problem with the Grammy as an award or the Grammys as an institution. We just had a problem with the 1989 design of the awards show,” Will said in a 1989 interview with Entertainment Tonight. “We chose to boycott. We feel that it’s a slap in the face.”

Naughty By Nature at the 1993 MTV VMAs (Dave Lewis/Shutterstock)

In 1996, at the 38th Grammy Awards, Naughty By Nature won the first Best Rap Album award for Poverty’s Paradise. The album beat out Skee-Lo’s I Wish, Ol’ Dirty Bastard’s Return to the 36 Chambers: The Dirty Version, Bone Thugs-n-Harmony’s E.1999 Eternal, and 2Pac’s Me Against the World. The following year, Lauryn Hill became the first female artist to win in the category when she, as part of Fugees, won Best Rap Album for The Score. That year, A Tribe Called Quest (Beats, Rhymes and Life), 2Pac (All Eyez On Me), LL Cool J (Mr. Smith), and Coolio (Gangsta’s Paradise) were all nominated.

Ahead of the 2022 ceremony, Eminem reigns with the most wins (6) in the category. Kanye West (4) is close behind. Only Outkast and Kendrick Lamar have won Best Rap Album more than once. The Roots have the most nominations without a win (five), while Jay-Z has the record for most nominations, with eleven. Cardi has the distinction of being the first solo female rapper to win Best Rap Album. She claimed the crown in 2019 with Invasion of Privacy.

This Year’s Nominees

The nominations for the Best Rap Album feature a lot of familiar faces. DJ Khaled‘s thirteenth studio album, God Did, scored a nomination, despite its mixed-to-negative reception among critics (it did debut at No. 1 on the Billboard 200, however.) The album features the usual crew, with Drake, SZA, Future, Rick Ross, Kanye “Ye” West, Lil Baby, Eminem, and Travis Scott appearing on songs. Similarly, Jack Harlow‘s Come Home The Kids Miss You was poorly received by critics, but the album was also nominated.

Future’s I NEVER LIKED YOU scored a Best Rap Album nod, as is Pusha T‘s It’s Almost Dry. The favorite to win the category is Kendrick Lamar‘s Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers. The album, which Complex named its Best Album of 2022, already won Album of the Year at the 2022 BET Hip Hop Awards and Favorite Hip Hop Album at the 2022 American Music Awards. Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers is also up for Album of the Year at the 2023 Grammys, an accolade K.Dot has yet to claim.

Who will win? Fans will have to tune in on Feb. 5 to find out. In the meantime, he’s a rundown of the last two decades worth of Winners

All Recent Best Rap Album Grammy Winners

2023: Kendrick Lamar, Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers

(Rob Latour/Shutterstock)
  • DJ Khaled, God Did
  • Future, I Never Liked You
  • Jack Harlow, Come Home The Kids Miss You
  • Kendrick Lamar, Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers
  • Pusha T, It’s Almost Dry

2022: Tyler, The Creator, CALL ME IF YOU GET LOST

  • J. Cole’s The Off-Season
  • Nas, The King’s Disease II
  • Kanye West, Donda
Tyler was named the winner of the Best Rap Album for the 2022 ceremony. (Nikolas Liepins/Shutterstock)

2021: Nas, The King’s Disease

Nas’s thirteenth studio album took the crown during the 63rd Grammy Awards. The album beat out:

  • D Smoke’s Black Habits,
  • Jay Electronica’s A Written Testimony,
  • Royce Da 5’9″ s The Allegory.
  • Freddie Gibbs & The Alchemist’s Alfredo

2020: Tyler, The Creator, Igor

Tyler, The Creator accepts the Best Rap Album award at the 62nd Grammys (Rob Latour/Shutterstock)

Other nominees:

  • Dreamville’s Revenge of the Dreamers III
  • Meek Mill’s Championships
  • 21 Savage’s I Am > I Was
  • Cordae’s The Lost Boy

2019: Cardi B, Invasion of Privacy

Other nominees:

  • Mac Miller’s Swimming
  • Nipsey Hussle’s Victory Lap
  • Pusha T’s Daytona
  • Travis Scott’s Astroworld.

2018: Kendrick Lamar, Damn

Kendrick picked up his second Album of The Year award when Damn beat out Jay-Z’s 4:44 to claim the prize.

Other nominees:

  • Migos’ Culture,
  • Rapsody, Laila’s Wisdom
  • Tyler, The Creator’s Flower Boy.
  • Jay-Z, 4:44

2017: Chance The Rapper, Coloring Book

Chance The Rapper’s Coloring Book made history when it won the Best Rap Album award in 2017. It was already the first mixtape to chart on the Billboard 200 solely on streams, and it was the first streaming-only album ever to win a Grammy.

Other nominees:

  • De La Soul, and the Anonymous Nobody…
  • DJ Khaled,  Major Key
  • Drake, Views,
  • ScHoolboy Q, Blank Face LP,
  • Kanye West, The Life of Pablo.

2016: Kendrick Lamar, To Pimp a Butterfly

Other nominees:

  • J.Cole, 2014 Forest Hills Drive
  • Dr. Dre, Compton
  • Drake, If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late
  • Nicki Minaj, The Pinkprint
Cardi B accepts the award for best rap album for “Invasion of Privacy” as Offset looks on at the 61st annual Grammy Awards (Matt Sayles/Invision/AP/Shutterstock)

2015: Eminem, The Marshall Mathers LP 2

Other nominees:

  • Iggy Azalea, The New Classic
  • Common, Nobody’s Smiling
  • Childish Gambino, Because the Internet
  • Wiz Khalifa, Blacc Hollywood
  • ScHoolboy Q, Oxymoron

2014: Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, The Heist

Perhaps the most controversial win in the category’s short life, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis’s The Heist took home the Best Rap Album award, beating Drake, Jay-Z, Kanye West, and Kendrick Lamar. Macklemore even apologized to Kendrick via a text (“You got robbed. I wanted you to win. It’s weird, and it sucks that I robbed you”), which Drake called out for being “wack as f-ck.”

“This is how the world works: He made a brand of music that appealed to more people than me, Hov, Kanye, and Kendrick,” Drake said, per Rolling Stone. “Whether people wanna say it’s racial, or whether it’s just the fact that he tapped into something we can’t tap into. That’s just how the cards fall. Own your shit.”

Other nominees:

  • Drake, Nothing Was The Same
  • Jay-Z, Magna Carta Holy Grail
  • Kendrick Lamar, Good Kidd, M.A.A.D. City
  • Kanye West, Yeezus

2013: Drake, Take Care

Other nominees:

  • 2 Chainz, Based on a T.R.U. Story
  • Lupe Fiasco, Food & Liquor II: The Great American Rap Album Pt. 1
  • Nas, Life Is Good
  • Rick Ross, God Forgives, I Don’t
  • The Roots, Undun

2012: Kanye West, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy

Other nominees:

  • Lupe Fiasco, Lasers
  • Jay-Z and Kanye West, Watch the Throne
  • Nicki Minaj, Pink Friday
  • Lil Wayne, Tha Carter IV

2011: Eminem, Recovery

Other nominees:

  • B.o.B., B.o.B. Presents: The Adventures of Bobby Ray
  • Drake, Thank Me Later
  • Jay-Z, The Blueprint 3
  • The Roots, How I Got Over

2010: Eminem, Relapse

Other nominees:

  • Common, Universal Mind Control
  • Flo Rida, R.O.O.T.S.
  • Mos Def, The Ecstatic
  • Q-Tip, The Renaissance

2009: Lil Wayne, Tha Carter III

Other nominees:

  • Jay-Z, American Gangster
  • Lupe Fiasco, Lupe Fiasco’s The Cool
  • Nas, Nas/Untitled
  • T.I., Paper Trail

2008: Kanye West, Graduation

Kanye West accepts the award for best rap album for Graduation (Kevork Djansezian/AP/Shutterstock)

Other nominees:

  • Common, Finding Forever
  • Jay-Z, Kingdom Come
  • Nas, Hip-Hop Is Dead
  • T.I., T.I. vs. T.I.P.

2007: Ludacris, Release Therapy

Other nominees:

  • Lupe Fiasco, Food & Liquor
  • Pharrell, In my Mind
  • The Roots, Game Theory
  • T.I., King

2006: Kanye West, Late Registration

Other nominees:

  • 50 Cent, The Massacre
  • Common, Be
  • Missy Elliott, The Cookbook
  • Eminem, Encore

2005: Kanye West, The College Dropout

Other nominees:

  • Beastie Boys, To the 5 Boroughs
  • Jay-Z, The Black Album
  • LL Cool J, The DEFinition
  • Nelly, Suit
Eminem accepts the Grammy for best rap album for “The Marshall Mathers LP” at the 43rd annual Grammy Awards (Kevork Djansezian/AP/Shutterstock)

2004: Outkast, Speakerboxxx/The Love Below

Other nominees:

  • 50 Cent, Get Rich or Die Trying’
  • Missy Elliott, Under Construction
  • Jay-Z, The Blueprint 2: The Gift & the Curse
  • The Roots, Phrenology

2003: Eminem, The Eminem Show

Other nominees:

  • Ludacris, Word of Mouf
  • Mystikal, Tarantula
  • Nelly, Nellyville
  • Petey Pablo, Diary of a Sinner: 1st Entry

2002: Outkast, Stankonia

Other nominees:

  • Eve, Scorpion
  • Ja Rule, Pain Is Love
  • Jay-Z, The Blueprint
  • Ludacris, Back for the First Time

2001: Eminem, The Marshall Mathers LP

Other nominees:

  • DMX, …And Then There Was X
  • Dr. Dre, 2001
  • Jay-Z, Vol. 3…Life and Times of S. Carter
  • Nelly, Country Grammar

2000: Eminem, The Slim Shady LP

Other nominees:

  • Busta Rhymes, E.L.E.: The Final World Front
  • Missy Elliot, Da Real World
  • Nas, I Am…
  • The Roots, Things Fall Apart