Both men have sold millions of albums. Both have headlined the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival. And both made former President Obama's list of his favorite songs from 2017 — an especially meaningful achievement, perhaps, for two African American artists eager to share their political views (not to mention their scorn for the guy who now holds Obama's old job).
So in a year when hip-hop might finally rule the Grammy Awards, it makes sense that Jay-Z and Kendrick Lamar would be the rap kings closest to victory come Sunday night.
With eight nominations, Jay-Z, the assured veteran, leads the field of contenders for music's most prestigious prize, followed closely by Lamar, the upstart phenom, who has seven.