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60th Grammy Awards: Nominations and Predictions

Hunter Burkard, Staff Writer

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The nominations are in and for once, the Academy got it (mostly) right. Jay-Z leads the pack with eight nominations followed by Kendrick Lamar with seven and Bruno Mars with six. Surprisingly, Drake, The Weeknd, and Sampha were not nominated for any awards despite garnering critical and/or commercial success. Nonetheless, a lot of new and deserving artists were nominated for awards such as SZA, Lil Uzi Vert, and Tyler the Creator. The ceremony itself will be held on January 18th at 7:30 pm EST and will be hosted by James Corden. Here are the nominees:

GENERAL FIELD

Record of the Year

  • “Redbone” – Childish Gambino
  • “Despacito” – Luis Fonsi & Daddy Yankee featuring Justin Bieber
  • “The Story Of O.J.” – JAY-Z
  • “HUMBLE” – Kendrick Lamar
  • “24K Magic” – Bruno Mars
    While “HUMBLE.” is arguably the popular choice, I’m predicting that “Redbone” will win. This song marks a huge departure for Childish Gambino, shifting from pop-rap to psychedelic funk, and demonstrates how his creativity is unparalleled amongst mainstream artists.
    (Most likely to win Best Traditional R&B Performance and Best R&B Song as well)

Song of the Year

  • “Despacito” – Luis Fonsi & Daddy Yankee featuring Justin Bieber
  • “4:44” – JAY -Z
  • “Issues” – Julia Michaels
  • “1-800-273-8255” – Logic featuring Alessia Cara & Khalid
  • “That’s What I Like” – Bruno Mars
    Despacito swept the 18th Latin Grammy Awards with four wins. The Latin/urban fusion song is extremely catchy, has an infectious beat and is sure to win Song of the Year.
    (Most likely to win Best Pop Duo/Group Performance as well)

Album of the Year

  • Awaken, My Love! – Childish Gambino
  • 4:44 – JAY-Z
  • DAMN. – Kendrick Lamar
  • Melodrama – Lorde
  • 24K Magic – Bruno Mars
    Only two hip-hop albums have ever won AOTY: Lauryn Hill’s “The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill,” which was inducted into the Library of Congress, and Outkast’s “Speakerboxxx/The Love Below,” which was certified 11X Platinum. Needless to say, it takes a lot for a hip-hop album to win AOTY. “Awaken, My Love!” (as a whole) didn’t make as many ripples as I wish it had and “24K Magic” failed to reach substantial critical acclaim. Thus, I’m predicting that Lorde’s “Melodrama” will win.

Best New Artist

  • Alessia Cara
  • Khalid
  • Lil Uzi Vert
  • Julia Michaels
  • SZA
    Lil Uzi Vert is one of the few hip hop artists who actually has a unique aesthetic. He utilizes a special carpe-diem braggadocio that undercuts otherwise darker lyricism. Project after project he’s failed to disappoint: he’s sure to get the nod for Best New Artist (although SZA could also run away with the award as well.)

POP FIELD

Best Pop Solo Performance

  • “Love So Soft” – Kelly Clarkson
  • “Praying” – Kesha
  • “Million Reasons” – Lady Gaga
  • “What About Us” – Pink
  • “Shape of You” – Ed Sheeran
    Although Ed Sheeran’s “Shape of You” was an astronomic commercial success, I think that the academy will give the nod to Lady Gaga’s “Million Reasons.” The heartfelt love song has a well crafted Mark Ronson production that gives Gaga the room to shine and act unapologetically introspective.

Best Pop Vocal Album

  • Kaleidoscope EP – Coldplay
  • Lust for Life – Lana Del Rey
  • Evolve – Imagine Dragons
  • Rainbow – Kesha
  • Joanne – Lady Gaga
  • ÷ – Ed Sheeran
    Ed Sheeran’s third studio album was anticipated to get the nod for Album of the Year by many publications. As of November, “÷” is the highest selling album of the year with 909,000 copies sold. By sheer volume of sales, I’m predicting that Ed Sheeran wins this category.

Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album

  • Nobody but Me – Michael Bublé
  • Triplicate – Bob Dylan
  • In Full Swing – Seth MacFarlane
  • Wonderland – Sarah McLachlan
  • Tony Bennett Celebrates 90 – Dae Bennett, producer (various artists)
    After winning the Nobel Prize for Literature earlier this year, a win for Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album is an apt victory lap for the legendary musician.

RAP FIELD

Best Rap Performance

  • “Bounce Back” – Big Sean
  • “Bodak Yellow” – Cardi B
  • “4:44” – Jay-Z
  • “HUMBLE.” – Kendrick Lamar
  • “Bad and Boujee” – Migos featuring Lil Uzi Vert
    “Bad and Boujee” is such an infectious trap song. Every contribution to the song is great: Lil Uzi Vert’s verse is clever, Metro Boomin’s production is simple yet effective, and Offset excels.

Best Rap/Sung Performance

  • “Prblms” – 6LACK
  • “Crew” – GoldLink featuring Brent Faiyaz & Shy Glizzy
  • “Family Feud” – Jay-Z featuring Beyoncé
  • “LOYALTY.” – Kendrick Lamar featuring Rihanna
  • “Love Galore” – SZA featuring Travis Scott
    All of the nominated tracks are amazing. Frankly, I wouldn’t be surprised if either of the nominees won. Nonetheless, “LOYALTY.” will most likely win because the Academy loves Kendrick.

Best Rap Song

  • “Bodak Yellow” – Cardi B
  • “Chase Me” – Danger Mouse featuring Run The Jewels & Big Boi
  • “HUMBLE.” – Kendrick Lamar
  • “Sassy” – Rapsody
  • “The Story of O.J.” – Jay-Z
    “HUMBLE.” dominated the charts in 2017 and became Kendrick’s first number one song on the Billboard Hot 100 as a lead artist. While I’d love to see Run the Jewels and Danger Mouse walk away with the award, “HUMBLE.” was such a dominant track throughout 2017 and is most likely to win.

Best Rap Album

  • 4:44 – Jay-Z
  • DAMN. – Kendrick Lamar
  • Culture – Migos
  • Laila’s Wisdom – Rapsody
  • Flower Boy – Tyler, the Creator
    Last year, Drake’s “Views” was nominated for AOTY and Best Rap Album, yet, Chance the Rapper’s “Coloring Book” won despite not being nominated for AOTY. I believe a similar circumstance can happen this year. Although “DAMN.” is nominated for AOTY, Migos’s “Culture” is a far more well-rounded project which showcases all of the group’s strengths.

R&B FIELD

Best R&B Performance

  • “Get You” – Daniel Caesar featuring Kali Uchis
  • “Distraction” – Kehlani
  • “High” – Ledisi
  • “That’s What I Like” – Bruno Mars
  • “The Weekend” – SZA
    The Academy loves fresh talent and rewards artists new to the industry. SZA, nominated for five Grammys this year, is sure to win this category (although I wouldn’t be surprised if Bruno Mars walks away with the award).

Best R&B Album

  • Freudian – Daniel Caesar
  • Let Love Rule – Ledisi
  • 24K Magic – Bruno Mars
  • Gumbo – PJ Morton
  • Feel the Real – Musiq Soulchild
    I enjoyed how Bruno Mars was able to capture a vintage aesthetic on a contemporary R&B album. All of the other nominees are fairly low-key so “24K Magic” is likely to win.

Best Urban Contemporary Album

  • Free 6lack – 6lack
  • Awaken, My Love! – Childish Gambino
  • American Teen – Khalid
  • Ctrl – SZA
  • Starboy – The Weeknd
    Childish Gambino’s “Awaken, My Love!” is a brilliantly crazy and colorful album which is packed with tracks that blend psychedelic funk, R&B and numerous other genres into a wonderful masterpiece.

DANCE/ELECTRONIC FIELD

Best Dance Recording

  • “Bambro Koyo Ganda” – Bonobo featuring Innov Gnawa
  • “Cola” – Camelphat & Elderbrook
  • “Andromeda” – Gorillaz featuring DRAM
  • “Tonite” – LCD Soundsystem
  • “Line of Sight” – Odesza featuring WYNNE & Mansionair
    Daman Albarn’s house production and DRAM’s happy-go-lucky aesthetic work surprisingly well together. It was a change of pace for both artists and I think the Academy will reward them.

Best Dance/Electronic Album

  • Migration – Bonobo
  • 3-D The Catalogue – Kraftwerk
  • Mura Masa – Mura Masa
  • A Moment Apart – Odesza
  • What Now – Sylvan Esso
    Mura Masa’s self-titled debut album is fairly impressive. The British DJ manages to compile a plethora of great features spanning from A$AP Rocky to Damon Albarn. It’s an eclectic project which effectively showcases the newbee’s strengths and unique take on electronic music.

ALTERNATIVE FIELD

Best Alternative Music Album

  • Everything Now – Arcade Fire
  • Humanz – Gorillaz
  • American Dream – LCD Soundsystem
  • Pure Comedy – Father John Misty
  • Sleep Well Beast – The National
    I normally never listen to folk music; Father John Misty’s “Pure Comedy” changed that. “Pure Comedy” touches on themes of fame, politics, aging, human nature, and a plethora of other genres and manages to address those themes with lyrical finesse. It’s sincere and powerful; I feel as though this could be the soundtrack to the ebbs and flows of humanity.
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60th Grammy Awards: Nominations and Predictions