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Predictions at the 2018 60th Annual Grammy Awards

Grammy weekend is finally upon us and it’s back in NYC for the first time in 15 years. It’s a special night for artists and fans, especially those who have been wildly underrepresented in the past. Artists of color and the R&B and hip-hop genres have finally kicked down the blockade and are ready to take home hardware that is rightfully theres. Here are my predictions for the main categories, as well as the ones that are filled with hip-hop/R&B nominations. I’m definitely looking forward to performances from some of the best music has to offer including: Kendrick Lamar, Cardi B, SZA, Childish Gambino and more. Make sure to tune in Sunday night at 7:30 P.M. EST.

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Album of the Year:

Bruno Mars, 24K Magic
Childish Gambino, Awaken, My Love!
Jay-Z, 4:44
Kendrick Lamar, DAMN.
Lorde, Melodrama

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On only two occasions in the past has a hip-hop project won Album of the Year at the Grammys: Lauryn Hill’s The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill in 1998 and Outkast’s Speakerboxxx/The Love Below in 2004. Kendrick Lamar cemented himself as one of the all-time great emcees and his project’s body of work cannot be denied. The organic rise of some tracks has created unprecedented charting from a rapper whose album released in April.

Who should win: Kendrick Lamar, DAMN.

Who will win: Kendrick Lamar, DAMN.

Record of the Year:

Bruno Mars, “24K Magic”
Childish Gambino, “Redbone”
JAY-Z, “The Story of O.J.”
Kendrick Lamar, “HUMBLE.”
Luis Fonsi & Daddy Yankee, “Despacito” Feat. Justin Bieber

“Despacito” had a run at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 like no other and something we haven’t seen since Mariah Carey, carrying the torch for over four months. It should clean up here. For me, I haven’t seen an organic record rise like “Redbone” did for Mr. Glover. That song wasn’t made for radio, but could even the boardrooms couldn’t deny its greatness, with some help from appearing in Get Out (Best movie of 2017).

Who should win: Childish Gambino – “Redbone”

Who will win: Luis Fonsi & Daddy Yankee – “Despacito” Feat. Justin Bieber

Song of the Year: 

Bruno Mars , “That’s What I Like”
JAY-Z , “4:44”
Julia Michaels, “Issues”
Logic, “1-800-273-8255” Feat. Alessia Cara & Khalid
Luis Fonsi & Daddy Yankee, “Despacito” Feat. Justin Bieber

Logic’s suicide hotline record took off after his epic performance at the VMAs back in August. “1-800-273-8255” powered its way up the Billboard Hot 100, eventually topping out in the top 3. Rising stars Khalid and Alessia Cara are nominated for best new artist. I think all that needs to be said is the track probably saved some people’s lives. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline’s website and phone traffic both increased, as the song gained popularity.

Who should win: Logic – “1-800-273-8255” Feat. Alessia Cara & Khalid

Who will win: Logic – “1-800-273-8255” Feat. Alessia Cara & Khalid

Best New Artist: 

Alessia Cara
Julia Michaels
Khalid
Lil Uzi Vert
SZA

This is as loaded a new artist category as I’ve seen in recent years. All are destined for very successful careers and will find themselves at the Grammys for years to come. The debate here is the hit-maker vs the better body of work. The Canada native owned the Billboard charts with lethal songwriting, but when you compare Cara’s album against SZA’s CTRL, I don’t think it’s really close. Solana should win here, but we’ll see what happens.

Who should win: SZA

Who will win: Alessia Cara

Best Rap Album:

Jay-Z, 4:44
Kendrick Lamar, DAMN.
Migos, Culture
Rapsody, Laila’s Wisdom
Tyler, the Creator, Flower Boy

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If I got Kung Fu Kenny winning AOTY I guess I have no choice, but to take him here as well. See above for my explanation. I don’t think any projects really came close to what JAY-Z and Kendrick exuded in 2017, but it’s good to see the other first timers get recognition in the category. Each album represents a different lane in hip-hop, which shows how diverse the genre has gotten over time. For a 48-year-old to make a culturally relevant project that dominates music conversation when it drops is just unbelievable, salute to Hov. He really is the blueprint.

Who should win: Kendrick Lamar, DAMN.

Who will win: Kendrick Lamar, DAMN.

Best Rap Song:

Cardi B, “Bodak Yellow”
Danger Mouse Feat. Run the Jewels & Big Boi, “Chase Me”
Kendrick Lamar, “HUMBLE.”
Rapsody, “Sassy”
Jay-Z, “The Story of O.J.

Who should win: Cardi B, “Bodak Yellow”

Who will win: Kendrick Lamar, “HUMBLE.”

Best Rap Performance:

Big Sean, “Bounce Back”
Cardi B, “Bodak Yellow”
Jay-Z, “4:44”
Kendrick Lamar, “HUMBLE.”
Migos Feat. Lil Uzi Vert, “Bad and Boujee”

Who should win: Kendrick Lamar, “HUMBLE.”

Who will win: Kendrick Lamar, “HUMBLE.”

The Compton native is the heavy favorite to sweep the pair of categories with his cinematic visual for “HUMBLE.” Admittedly, I didn’t love the track when it first came out, but it quickly began to grow on me. It all culminated on the DAMN. Tour at Barclays Center in Brooklyn when he had 20,000 fans in unison screaming the hook. I want to give Cardi B her due here, as well. Arguably, nobody got more out of 2017 than the Bronx native. Who wouldn’t want to see the ‘regular shmegular’ girl from the Bronx grace the MSG stage with a hysterical acceptance speech?

Best Rap/Sung Performance:

6LACK, “PRBLMS”
Goldlink Feat. Brent Faiyaz & Shy Glizzy, “Crew”
Jay-Z Feat. Beyoncé, “Family Feud”
Kendrick Lamar Feat. Rihanna, “LOYALTY.”
SZA Feat. Travis Scott, “Love Galore”

Here is a prime chance for Hov to snag a win in a category after leading the Grammys with eight nominations. “Family Feud” has been my go-to record off of the intrepid 4:44. Going toe-to-toe with Kenny and Rihanna won’t be easy, but I believe Hov should get one here.

Who should win: Jay-Z Feat. Beyoncé, “Family Feud”

Who will win: Kendrick Lamar Feat. Rihanna, “LOYALTY.”

Best Urban Contemporary Album:

6LACK, Free 6LACK
Childish Gambino, Awaken, My Love!
Khalid, American Teen
SZA, Ctrl
The Weeknd, Starboy

Who should win: SZA, Ctrl

Who will win: Childish Gambino, Awaken, My Love!

Best R&B Album:

Daniel Caesar, Freudian
Ledisi, Let Love Rule
Bruno Mars, 24K Magic
PJ Morton, Gumbo
Musiq Soulchild, Feel the Real

Who should win: Bruno Mars, 24K Magic

Who will win: Bruno Mars, 24K Magic

Best Music Video:

Beck, “Up All Night”
Jain, “Makeba”
Jay-Z, “The Story Of O.J.”
Kendrick Lamar, “HUMBLE.”

Who should win: Kendrick Lamar, “HUMBLE.”

Who will win: Kendrick Lamar, “HUMBLE.”

Best R&B Song:

PJ Morton, “First Began”
Khalid, “Location”
Childish Gambino, “Redbone”
SZA, “Supermodel”
Bruno Mars, “That’s What I Like”

Who should win: Childish Gambino, “Redbone”

Who will win: Childish Gambino, “Redbone”

 

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