‘DAYTONA’ should have won best rap album

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Mikaela Rabizadeh media editor

Cardi B’s “Invasion of Privacy” won Best Rap Album at the 61st Annual Grammy Awards on Sunday, Feb. 10. Was I surprised? No. Disappointed? Yes. If it had been up to me, the award would have gone to rapper Pusha T for his lyrical masterpiece “DAYTONA.”

Don’t get me wrong, I am a Cardi fan. But, there is nothing particularly impressive about “Invasion of Privacy.” The album is a typical “he cheated on me, he’ll regret it” album. Great for girls who were just broken up with by their boyfriend, but that’s the extent. (I guess she gets points for being relatable?) Regardless, it’s nothing we haven’t heard before. Most songs, like “She Bad” featuring YG, are repetitive and are not much beyond a catchy beat to dance to.

Pusha T’s “DAYTONA,” on the other hand, is a blend of lyrical and soulful genius. It’s dynamic and gripping—the type of music that tells a story you can feel in your gut. Real struggle, real bars, real realness. He bounces effortlessly from the hardscrabble reality of life on the streets to the luxurious lifestyle he’s now taken as a successful rapper, and that contrast is magical. Pusha gets raw with “The Games We Play,“ speaking openly about his drug-dealing past. The authenticity isn’t questionable.

The most impressive song on the album, though, has to be “Come Back Baby.” With samples from George Jackson’s “I Can’t Do Without You,” Pusha comes full circle with his message about drug-abuse and addiction. The marriage of Jackson’s soulful chorus paired with Pusha’s hard-hitting verses makes for artistic excellence.

What’s even more amazing is that in a time where it’s become a trend to create extra-long albums in order to artificially boost listens, Pusha T keeps it concise and to the point. With “DAYTONA” being only seven songs, Pusha proves he doesn’t need any fluff to get his message across. Not a second of the 21-minute-album is wasted. “All killa no filla,” Pusha refers to the shortness of his album on The Daily Show with Trevor Noah.

I said I wasn’t surprised when Cardi B won Best Rap Album. In fact, it was pretty obvious. Cardi’s album is the epitome of radio music. KIIS FM can’t get enough of her, and if you flip channels, three other stations will be playing the same Cardi B song. Her music is made for mainstream listeners. But, the Grammy’s should not be a popularity contest. The award is made to acknowledge artists who push boundaries in music and break ground in the industry. It’s clear who the real winner is. It just comes down to the Academy having higher standards.

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