Although the 63rd Annual Grammy Awards officially don’t get underway until 5 p.m. PST/8 p.m. EST on Sunday (March 14), the Recording Academy has already started announcing some of the winners — including Best Rap Album.
According to a tweet fired off Sunday afternoon, Nas took home the honor for King’s Disease, beating out Jay Electronica’s A Written Testimony, Freddie Gibbs and Alchemist’s Alfredo, D Smoke’s Black Habits and Royce Da 5’9’s The Allegory. Despite a legendary career spanning decades, it marked the Queensbridge MC’s first ever Grammy.
Congrats Best Rap Album winner – 'KING’S DISEASE' @Nas ✨ #GRAMMYs
WATCH NOW ⬇️––#GRAMMYPremiere https://t.co/RxyLdKA9Hv pic.twitter.com/2pQ2GhlzyR
— Recording Academy / GRAMMYs (@RecordingAcad) March 14, 2021
King’s Disease arrived last August, serving as the follow-up to 2018’s NASIR and the Illmatic legend’s 13th studio album with appearances from Charlie Wilson, Hit-Boy, Big Sean, Don Toliver, Lil Durk, Anderson .Paak, Brucie B, Nas’s supergroup The Firm, Fivio Foreign and A$AP Ferg.
The project debuted at No. 5 on the Billboard 200 with roughly 47,000 total album-equivalent units sold in its first week. Despite the Top 5 debut, only one single from the album charted on the Billboard Hot 100 — “Spicy” with Fivio and Ferg, which squeezed in at No. 96.
Last November, Nas sat down with NME for a rare Zoom interview and discussed the concept of the album.
“I wanted to put together a bunch of music that represents Nasir in 2020,” he said at the time. “Me and [rapper and producer] Hit-Boy started working on it before COVID hit, but then the quarantine stopped us and I decided I didn’t wanna release it anymore. But then I got the call from him and he woke me up, telling me that we gotta finish it. So it’s just a piece of work around what I was thinking this year.”
Revisit the album below.