Lil Wayne continues to have the best year ever. After releasing the best-selling album of 2008, Tha Carter III, Weezy has racked up eight Grammy nominations—the most of any of this year’s nominees.
Sensitive British chart-toppers Coldplay were a close second, nabbing seven. Both Wayne and Coldplay were nominated for what is generally Grammy night’s most prestigious award—the coveted Album of the Year.
Rappers and Grammy mainstays Kanye West and Jay-Z along with smooth singer Ne-Yo each received six nods while bluesy pop-rocker John Mayer, innovative alt-rockers Radiohead, newcomer Jazmine Sullivan and unlikely collaborators Alison Krauss and Robert Plant of Led Zeppelin each received five.
On a bittersweet note, Oscar-winning actress Jennifer Hudson received three nods for her self-titled debut album the day after her estranged brother-in-law was charged with murdering members her family.
In an age of diminishing record sales, Wayne’s commercial success has sent shockwaves through the music industry and cemented his status as one of the biggest artists in popular music. In 2007, hip-hop seemed to be on the verge of an ugly backlash following the Don Imus controversy, T.I.’s arrests on gun charges and heated debates over the use of the n-word.
But the success of Wayne and T.I. shows that rap music can still withstand controversy and criticism commercially. The critical success of Wayne, in particular, reveals the artistic core behind the genre remains intact and, like Lauryn Hill and OutKast before him, the quirky New Orleans MC could stand victorious on music’s greatest night come February.–todd williams