Eminem And Jay-Z Battle Over Best Rap/Sung Collaboration: Better Know A Grammy Category

The 53rd Grammy Awards are upon us, and they bring with them dozens of artists competing in 109 different categories. The performers on the show — which airs live on Sunday, February 13 — include Eminem, Cee Lo Green, Lady Gaga, Rihanna, Drake, Arcade Fire, Justin Bieber, Miranda Lambert, Katy Perry, Muse, B.o.B, Usher, Bruno Mars, Jaden Smith and Janelle Monae. It promises to be one of the biggest nights in the history of music, and MTV News will be bringing you wall-to-wall coverage of the big event.

But the awards are the big draw, and just as the MTV Newsroom Blog does with the MTV Video Music Awards, here are a series of guides to some of the biggest categories on the docket. This time around: Best Rap/Sung Collaboration.

When you consider the quality, popularity and chart dominance of most of the songs nominated for the Grammy for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration, 2010 was clearly an excellent year for those kinds of tag teams. The category is one of the newer ones on the Grammy docket (Eve and Gwen Stefani took home the first prize in 2002 for the Dr. Dre-produced “Let Me Blow Ya Mind”), but it has become one of the more high profile prizes, simply because it attracts such big name nominees.

This year, the competition is between “Love the Way You Lie” (Eminem and Rihanna), “Empire State of Mind” (Jay-Z and Alicia Keys), “Deuces” (Chris Brown, Tyga and Kevin McCall), “Nothin’ On You” (B.o.B and Bruno Mars) and “Wake Up Everybody” (The Roots, John Legend, Melanie Fiona and Common). Of those five (all of which are deserving), you can probably throw out “Wake Up Everybody” and “Deuces” because they weren’t big enough commercially (though “Deuces” is a jaw-droppingly great song that deserved to be a much, much larger hit). Each of the remaining entries can all make a case: “Love the Way You Lie” was a huge chart-topper, and Eminem does have more nominations than anybody, but it’s possible that Grammy voters are more familiar with and fond of “Empire State of Mind.” Since Mars seems like a Grammy darling this time around, “Nothin’ On You” could easily get the endorsement as well.

It’s probably a coin flip between Eminem and Jay-Z, but the nod here goes slightly to “Empire State of Mind.” It was too ubiquitous and too beloved by too many people to get overlooked.

Notable Winners: Beyoncé and Jay-Z, “Crazy in Love” (2004); Usher, Ludacris and Lil Jon, “Yeah!” (2005); Rihanna and Jay-Z, “Umbrella” (2008); Jay-Z, Rihanna and Kanye West, “Run This Town” (2010)

Notable Robberies: Estelle and Kanye West won the prize in 2009 for “American Boy,” but both Lupe Fiasco’s “Superstar” and Lil Wayne’s “Got Money” had better cases. And though Linkin Park and Jay-Z’s “Numb/Encore” was a great accomplishment, the hardware in 2006 should have gone to Destiny’s Child and Lil Wayne’s “Soldier,” if only because of Weezy’s crazy-stupid verse.

Who do you want to win the Grammy for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration? Let us know in the comments!