Macklemore & Ryan Lewis are cruising into this Sunday's Grammys with seven nominations. The newcomers are in good company, tied with Pharrell and Justin Timberlake for second-most nominations this year (Jay Z leads the 2014 class with nine), so there's a good chance the Seattle rap duo will be walking away with some hardware in hand. But some of the nominations didn't come so easily.
According to the Associated Press, a source says the rap committee put together by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences felt the music of Macklemore & Ryan Lewis shouldn't qualify in the genre. They cited the duo's immense success on mainstream radio as a reason for why the duo would not fit into the urban radio landscape. The discussion was then opened up to the general committee, who decided in a landslide vote that Macklemore & Ryan Lewis would be best suited to compete in the rap categories.
"It's not that they don't think he's a rapper," the source said of the rap committee's initial ruling. "It's just that when you're trying to protect categories and someone has become popular, it should be judged as much. [...]Where does their music exist? Who are their fans?"
The question at hand is something even Macklemore is aware of. In a recent interview with Vibe, he said, "If we win a Grammy for Best Rap Album, hip-hop is going to be heated." Macklemore & Ryan Lewis are nominated for three Grammys in the rap categories: Best Rap Album, Best Rap Song, and Best Rap Performance.