Multiple writers have been added to the Grammy submission for Roddy Ricch’s No. 1 hit “The Box,” which is nominated for three honors including best rap song and song of the year, one of the show's top prizes.
When the Recording Academy announced its nominees in November, only Ricch and Samuel Gloade (aka 30 Roc) were listed as the writers of the mega hit, which is competing for two Grammys specifically reserved for songwriters.
But later four additional writers — Larrance Dopson, Adarius Moragne (aka Datboisqueeze), Khirye Anthony Tyler and Aqeel Qadir Tate (aka Zentachi) — were added to the Grammy submission for “The Box."
The submission was altered a second time, with Zentachi removed as a co-writer and Eric Sloan added.
It was not clear why the writers were originally left off the song, or why Zentachi was removed and Sloan was added. Ricch's representative at Atlantic said the label had no comment.
Sloan is the only one of those who is listed as a writer of “The Box” with the Grammys but is not credited on Spotify, BMI’s website or Atlantic Records production notes about the song.
When the ballots went out for the first round of voting — to determine Grammy nominees — only Ricch and 30 Roc appeared as writers of “The Box." It is unclear if the two names, or the current six nominees, were listed on the ballot for the final round of voting, which determines Grammy winners.
Three of the added writers of “The Box” — Datboisqueeze, Tyler and Sloan — are first-time nominees. Dopson won the best R&B song Grammy in 2019 for co-writing Ella Mai’s massive hit “Boo’d Up.”
The Grammys will air Sunday and Ricch is nominated twice for best rap song since his guest appearance on DaBaby's “Rockstar," written by DaBaby, Ricch and SethInTheKitchen, is also in contention. Other nominees include Lil Baby's “The Bigger Picture" (three writers), Drake and Lil Durk's “Laugh Now Cry Later" (six writers) and Megan Thee Stallion and Beyoncé's “Savage" (nine writers).
“The Box” was one of last year's biggest hits, spending 11 weeks on top of the Billboard Hot 100 chart. It has reached seven-time platinum status, which is equivalent to selling seven million tracks based on a combination of digital downloads and streams. “The Box” also earned Ricch a nomination for best melodic rap performance — an award reserved for the song's performer.
After Grammy nominations are announced, the academy allows those who submit songs and albums to update them if credits are missing creators who worked on the music, including songwriters, producers, engineers and mixers. The deadline to complete the correction is two weeks after the nominees are announced.
“The process for corrections to be made to nominations is to have an executive (CEO, president, EVP, SVP A&R, or GM) at the nominated recording’s label inform the Awards Department of the correction, specifically detailing what was inaccurately submitted or omitted, an explanation as to why the error took place and what steps are being taken by said company to correct the mistake,” the academy writes in its official rulebook.
Updates to songs and albums are not uncommon: Two featured guests on Beyoncé's “Brown Skin Girl" — her daughter Blue Ivy and Nigerian singer WizKid — did not originally appear on the nominees list this year for best music video but were later added.
Rapper Young Thug was not listed as a co-writer of Childish Gambino s “This Is America" when the nominees for the 2019 Grammys were announced, but he was later added to the track and made history when the social-political hit became the first rap tune to win song of the year. He shared the win with Gambino and Ludwig Göransson.
Ricch has a chance of making history, too, by having the second hip-hop song win the top honor in the show's 63-year history. In the songwriting categories, particularly song of the year, tracks with less songwriters are more appealing to voters. Before Bruno Mars and seven co-writers won song of the year at the 2018 Grammys for “That's What I Like," the largest group of writers to win one of the Grammys' highest honors was four.
With the exception Beyoncé and her three co-writers of “Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)," other songs that won with four writers were by U2, Coldplay, the Dixie Chicks and fun. — where band members count for all or most of the writers.
Songwriting credit in popular music has changed over the years, particularly in rap, R&B and pop music. Producers of songs, even if they don't write specific lyrics, almost always earn co-writing credit since they helped design and create the track. And with multiple producers working on a song, some of today’s hits scroll on and on with a lengthy list of writers. For instance, Ariana Grande's “34 + 35" and “Positions," currently Nos. 4 and 9 on the Hot 100, were written by nine and eight people, respectively. That's in contrast to Olivia Rodrigo's “Drivers License," which is spending its eighth week at No. 1 and was written by Rodrigo and co-writer Dan Nigro.
Some songs have several writers listed because the song samples an older track. Chris Brown and Young Thug's “Go Crazy," No. 3 on this week's Hot 100 chart, lists 16 writers. Two of the 16 writers — Orville Hall and Phillip Price of The Showboys — earned credit because “Go Crazy" borrows from their 1986 hit “Drag Rap."
Ricch, who is nominated for six honors and will perform at Sunday's show, won his first Grammy — best rap performance — last year for his guest appearance on Nipsey Hussle's “Racks In the Middle."