By Alvin Blanco
The Recording Academy’s favorite rapper must be Eminem. The Detroit MC received ten Grammy nominations for Recovery, his seventh album, including Album of the Year. Slim Shady nabbed the most Grammy nods amidst a field of artists like Jay-Z and Lady Gaga who also garnered multiple nominations, which is no small feat.
"Of course Eminem deserves these ten nominations," says Chuck Creekmur, co-founder of AllHipHop.com. "The new album is a return to Eminem's old The Marshall Mathers LP glory. Personally, I felt Eminem gave fans a perfect balance, it wasn't too pop that hip-hop couldn't dig it. See 'Almost Famous' and 'Cold Wind Blow' if you need an example."
Still, there are those who believe that Eminem is receiving major props for an album that isn't his best work.
"[Eminem] is one of my favorite artists but I don't like Recovery, an album I sincerely tried to like, so I'm conflicted," said journalist Insanul Ahmed (Complex, Vibe). "If he does win album of the year (which is still unlikely) it'll suck to know he's winning for a record most his fans wouldn't consider his magnum opus. But its legend would grow and people might start thinking Recovery was as good as The Marshall Mathers LP or The Slim Shady LP. It is not.”
Recovery may not have gathered the universal critical reception of Kanye West’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, but it was nevertheless warmly received. The contrast between Eminem 10 years ago during The Marshall Mather LP era is sharp compared to his current album, in terms of general content. The enthusiasm for Eminem at the Grammys can be chalked up to a kinder and gentler Marshall's knack for making palatable records for a broad audience.
"10 nominations [means] that in the history books this album is going to be considered one of the all time greatest record rap albums, if not albums period," said journalist Maurice Garland (Ozone, Vibe, XXL). "That’s still up for debate. No doubt Em is one of the most skilled rappers, but it just always seems like whenever he drops an album award shows like the Grammys act like he was the only rapper to drop quality music that year."
The debate of where Recovery stands in Eminem’s catalog is only just getting started. But a common sentiment worth mentioning is that the Roots should have also received a nomination for Album of the Year.
"Eminem is deserving of his ten Grammy nominations, he had a phenomenal year," says Trent Fitzgerald of BeatsAndRants.com. "Recovery had some big songs like the Grammy-nominated ‘Not Afraid,’ which connected with his fans. The Roots' How I Got Over was a great album so I'm glad it received a nod for Best Rap Album. I wish the Roots grabbed an Album of the Year nod because, it was the best album of 2010."
There is no doubt that Eminem is having one hell of a year. If you look simply at numbers, Recovery is one of the biggest selling albums of the year, moving over three millions units to date according to SoundScan. But there are other nuances to Eminem’s popularity that can’t be ignored.
"Ten Grammy nominations would be someone great's lifetime total, not a single year's effort," says writer Dallas Penn of the Internets Celebrities. "Eminem gets the nods for several reasons ... His admitted failings with substance abuse, his reality show style life and most importantly, the Tarzan syndrome for his ability to succeed in an art form deemed 'Black.'
"Recovery album wasn't as good on a technical level as Relapse, but it had more pop music anthems and that counts in the academy's mind," Penn continued. "I shrug my shoulders at this news revelation. No Roots [for Album of the Year]? Definitely no Roc Marciano. Hip-Hop fans better look somewhere else for cultural affirmation, but it is still nice to see a rapper get ten Grammy nominations. Even if it’s the white dude …"
Along with Eminem, four of the five nominees for Record of the Year are hip-hop acts (damn right you should count Cee-Lo). Traditionally the Grammys have never been a hip-hop bastion but the recognition should be embraced.
"It’s a great look for hip-hop and is a great exclamation point that signifies his return," says Michael “Ice-Blue” Harris, Managing Editor Of HipHopWired. "Recovery was a great pop and crossover success which also puts the spotlight back on hip-hop culture. The LP was a growth for Eminem, he had to learn how to rap all over again because he did this album sober. So the ten Grammy nominations also serve as a personal triumph for Marshall who now knows he can create great music clean."
What do you think of Eminem's ten Grammy nominations? Does he deserve them? Was another hip-hop act more worthy? Tweet us at @MTVRapFix or tell us in a comment below!