Sunday’s Grammy Awards in New York will be the first time a white man has not been nominated for Album of the Year, with all eyes on rap royalty Jay-Z and Kendrick Lamar.
Jay-Z snagged the most nominations for the 60th awards, vying for a trophy in eight categories. Lamar follows him with seven nods, leaving Bruno Mars in third with six. Jay-Z already has 21 Grammys in his trophy cabinet compared to Lamar’s seven.
This year, however, rap’s elder statesman Jay Z is nominated as a solo artist for the first time for Album of the Year and Best Song of the Year for “4:44.” His thirteenth studio LP, which produced a single of the same name, has earned universal praise from critics. But Brooklyn’s finest will be challenged by the new guard. Lamar will be aiming for his first Album of the Year win with “Damn,” a record described by Rolling Stone as “a brilliant combination of the timeless and the modern, the old-school and the next level.” Another hip-hop artist who could score big on music’s biggest night is Childish Gambino, the alter-ego of US actor Donald Glover. He is tapped for Best Record and Album of the Year, Best R&B Performance and Song, and Best Urban Contemporary Album. The Latin single “Despacito,” which got more than 4.4 billion views on YouTube, is also competing for Song of the Year and Record of the Year. It would be the first Spanish-language release to win the Grammy for Song of the Year. Other nominees for Best Song of the Year include Julia Michaels for “Issues,” “That’s What I Like” by Hawaiian singer Mars and Alessia Cara for “1-800-273-8255.” The latter is the phone number for the US National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Mars will face off in the record of the year category with Gambino’s “Redbone,” Lamar’s “Humble,” and Jay-Z’s “The Story of O.J.” In The Album of the Year category, singer-songwriter Lorde is the only woman nominated. The New Zealander’s sophomore album “Melodrama” will compete with Gambino’s “Awaken, My Love!,” Mars’ “24K Magic,” as well as releases from Jay-Z and Lamar. R&B singers SZA and Khalid each scored five nominations including best newcomer. Philadelphia-based hip-hop artist Lil Uzi Vert is also among the nominees for Best New Artist. British virtual band Gorillaz, will take on the US acts The National, Father John Misty and LCD Soundsystem as well as Canadia’s Arcade Fire for Best Alternative Album. The 60th Grammy Awards are voted by 13,000 members of the US Recording Academy and will take place in New York for the first time in 15 years. James Corden will host the live telecast with performances by artists including Lady Gaga, Pink and Elton John