Over the past two years, endless column inches have been filled with celebrations of UK rap's supremacy; how the genre is in better health than it's ever been and how today's rap stars are changing the face of music forever. Now, finally, the mainstream awards are sitting up, taking notice, and putting it on record.
This year's Ivor Novello Awards, the ceremony set up to reward songwriting, has just announced its shortlist of nominees and some of rap's biggest stars account for a significant chunk of the list with the genre appearing in every category bar one.
Stormzy's Jimmy Napes-produced "Crown" (from Heavy Is The Head) is nominated for Best Song Lyrically and Musically; Dave's Psychodrama cut "Black" (produced by Fraser T. Smith) and J Hus' Big Conspiracy jam "Must Be" (produced by JAE5) are both nominated for Best Contemporary Song; while Little Simz's Grey Area is nominated for Best Album.
The appearance of Santan Dave's "Black"—the damning takedown of race relations in Britain that describes Prime Minister Boris Johnson as a "real racist"—isn't the first of his to be recognised in the Best Contemporary Song category: the 2018 awards saw his equally political "Question Time" pick up that very same award.
The 65th Ivor Novello's was set to take place this September 2 at London's Grosvenor House, but was cancelled due to the pandemic. Instead, winners will be announced on Beats 1 on September 2 at 11am.
Here's the abridged list of the nominees:
Ghosteen – Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds.
Grey Area – Little Simz
The Book Of Traps And Lessons – Kate Tempest
Best Contemporary Song
"Black" – Dave
"Firesmoke" – Kate Tempest
"Must Be" – J Hus
Best Song Musically and Lyrically
"Age Of Anxiety" - Jamie Cullum
"Crown" – Stormzy
"Dead Boys" – Sam Fender
PRS for Music Most Performed Work
"Dancing With A Stranger" – Sam Smith and Normani
"Giant" – Calvin Harris and Rag 'n' Bone Man
"Hold Me While You Wait" – Lewis Capaldi