“A Lot” by 21 Savage and J. Cole isn’t the biggest hit nominated for Video of the Year at this year’s MTV Video Music Awards — it peaked at number-12 on the Billboard Hot 100, though it has been certified double-platinum — but it might be one of the most politically relevant. That’s because the rapper was arrested by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) shortly after the video was released in February. It just so happens that the song includes a lyric critical of the treatment of migrants coming to the US through Mexico: “Been through some things but I couldn’t imagine my kids stuck at the border.” Watch the video for “A Lot” HERE.
21 Savage was born in the UK, but has lived in Atlanta since he was a child. He was picked up by ICE due to an expired visa, but many questioned the timing of the arrest, including congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Music fans who feel similarly could give him the nod here. His only other nomination is Best Hip-Hop Video, but that might actually be advantageous for him: with fewer overall bids, his fans will have to concentrate their support on just these categories.
“A Lot” also has the benefit of being one of the most cinematic nominees in the top race, depicting a happy family dinner intercut with scenes of the individual family members struggling with drugs, violence, illness and more. But does 21 Savage have the fan base needed to overcome the likes of Ariana Grande, Taylor Swift and the Jonas Brothers in the top category? As of this writing he ranks last in our VOTY predictions with odds of 15/2. But then again, so did last year’s winner “Havana” by Camila Cabello. Those fickle fans may take us by surprise again.