Although the Grammy Awards came out in 1959, the Recording Academy didn’t debut the Best Rap Performance award until 1989, a year in which it was awarded to DJ Jazzy JeffThe Fresh Prince for "Parents Just Don’t Understand." Next came the Best Rap Album category in 1996, which was awarded to Naughty By Nature’s Poverty’s Paradise, decades after the genre burst onto the scene. The Grammys finally unveiled the Best Rap Song category for the 46th Grammy Awards in 2004. The first honor went to Eminem for his diamond-selling track "Lose Yourself," marking his ninth Grammy win altogether at the time.

The Grammys and the genre of hip-hop have long-held a contentious relationship with one another. One reason that tension remains is credited to Macklemore’s 2014 wins for Best Rap Song with "Thrift Shop," as well as Best Rap Album with The Heist. In the process, many fans thought that Macklemore’s competitors at the time, Kendrick LamarDrake and Jay-Z, were snubbed. Mainly, K-Dot, when Macklemore won Best Rap Album win for The Heist over good kid, m.A.A.d city.

Despite moments like that, there have been positive experiences like "Jesus Walks" by Ye (formerly known as Kanye West) winning in 2005, "Lollipop" by Lil Wayne winning in 2009, and "Humble." by Kendrick Lamar winning in 2018. The nominees and winners in this award category have mostly been validated through the court of public opinion. More recently, the wins speak to the different states and eras of hip-hop.

The 2022 ceremony boasted many notable moments and wins from last year's hardest-working rappers. Ye’s 2022 Best Rap Song win for "Jail" featuring Jay-Z not only rejoined a duo well-favored within hip-hop, but also spoke volumes to Ye’s long-standing reign within the genre as a producer and artist. In 2023, it was important to recognize the new school as well as the veterans. Artists like Jack Harlow’s "Churchill Downs" with Drake were nominated alongside Kendrick Lamar’s "The Heart Part 5." "Pushin P" by Gunna and "Wait For U" by Future were also contenders.

Here's a look at all the Grammy winners for the Best Rap Song category since it was introduced back in 2004.

  • "Lose Yourself"


    Year: 2004

  • "Jesus Walks"

    Kanye West

    Year: 2005

  • "Diamonds From Sierra Leone"

    Kanye West

    Year: 2006

  • "Money Maker"

    Ludacris featuring Pharrell

    Year: 2007

  • "Good Life"

    Kanye West featuring T-Pain

    Year: 2008

  • "Lollipop"

    Lil Wayne featuring Static Major

    Year: 2009

  • "Run This Town"

    Jay-Z featuring Rihanna and Kanye West

    Year: 2010

  • "Empire State of Mind"

    Jay-Z featuring Alicia Keys

    Year: 2011

  • "All of the Lights"

    Kanye West featuring Rihanna and Kid Cudi

    Year: 2012

  • "Ni**as in Paris"

    Jay-Z and Kanye West

    Year: 2013

  • "Thrift Shop"

    Macklemore and Ryan Lewis featuring Wanz

    Year: 2014

  • "i"

    Kendrick Lamar

    Year: 2015

  • "Alright"

    Kendrick Lamar

    Year: 2016

  • "Hotline Bling"


    Year: 2017

  • "HUMBLE."

    Kendrick Lamar

    Year: 2018

  • "God’s Plan"


    Year: 2019

  • "A lot"

    21 Savage featuring J. Cole

    Year: 2020

  • "Savage (Remix)"

    by Megan Thee Stallion featuring Beyoncé

    Year: 2021

  • "Jail"

    Kanye West featuring Jay-Z

    Year: 2022

  • "The Heart Part 5"

    Kendrick Lamar

    Year: 2023

  • "Scientists & Engineers"

    Killer Mike's "Scientists & Engineers" featuring André 3000, Future, and Eryn Allen Kane

    Year: 2024

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