A History of Hip-Hop at the Oscars

"P on the sticks, and the winner is...Three 6"

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It's hard out there for a hip-hop artist at the Oscars. For starters, Academy Award voters haven't always recognized rap's contribution to movies. One commonly cited reason for this is the issue of sampling. To be eligible for nomination, songs must be completely original, which automatically eliminates sample-based rap songs. Despite these obstacles, hip-hop has managed to score a few wins at the Oscars.

Here's a look at some of hip-hop's big wins at the Oscars. 

At the 75th Academy Awards, Eminem becomes the first rapper to win an Academy Award for Best Original Song for the 8 Mile theme song "Lose Yourself."

"At the Oscars, P on the sticks/And the winner is… Three-6" (Lupe Fiasco, "Hood Now")

On March 5, 2006, Three 6 Mafia becomes the first hip-hop group and the second hip-hop act to win an Academy Award for Best Original Song. It was the Hustle & Flow score "It's Hard out Here for a Pimp" that earned Three 6 Mafia an Oscar.

In another historic move, Three 6 Mafia's performance of "It's Hard out Here for a Pimp" marked the first time a hip-hop song had been performed at the Osacrs. Impressively, they somehow managed to perform a squeaky clean version of the song at the ceremony.

M.I.A is nominated for Best Original song with "O…Saya" from Slumdog Millionaire. Unfortunately, she loses out to another song from Slumdog Millionaire, "Jai Ho."


"Black boy scoring his life/ I'm scoring the Oscars" (Pharrell, "MMG: The World Is Ours")

Pharrell serves as a composer and music consultant alongside his mentor Hans Zimmer. As a music consultant, Pharrell is tasked with the duty of reinterpreting music from the nominated pictures, as well as compose some original music.

Pharrell earns his first Oscar nomination for "Happy," from Despicable Me 2. The category also includes: "Alone Yet Not Alone" (Alone Yet Not Alone), "Let It Go" (Frozen), "The Moon Song" (Her), and "Ordinary Love" (Mandela A Long Walk to Freedom). "Happy" also appears on Pharrell's second solo album, G I R L.


Common and John Legend score a Best Original Song nomination for "Glory," their collaborative track from the movie Selma.

The duo deliver a powerful performance of the song live, bringing several members of the audience to tears. "Glory" wins for Best Original Song, making Common only the third rapper to win an Oscar.