The Grammys Get Younger – A Significant Sign for Hip-Hop/R&B (by David A. Mitchell)

(l-r): Kendrick Lamar, producer No I.D., Childish Gambino, SZA, Khalid, Jay-Z, and Bruno Mars

SZA, Khalid, Migos, Childish Gambino, Cardi B, Lil Uzi Vert, Daniel Caesar, 6lack… fresh faces, all representing the current movement in Hip-Hop and R&B music, and all are multiple nominees for the upcoming 60th Grammy Awards show, coming to CBS on January 28, 2018.

Whenever Grammy nominees are announced, critics come out of the woodwork with varying opinions about why certain artists are recognized, why others are omitted, and who gets to perform on the national telecast. No award show is perfect, especially with a platform like the Grammys that represents nearly all-genres of music, and weeds through more than ten thousand song submissions on an annual basis.

This past summer, Forbes magazine cited that for the first time, Hip-Hop is the most-consumed music genre in the U.S., and believe the increasing popularity of R&B/Hip-Hop is due to its influence on streaming services. The genre is as popular as Rock and Pop combined on Spotify and Apple Music.

Apparently this was reflected in the Grammy voting this year. “I think this is the best year ever for Hip-Hop representation, when it comes to Grammy noms,” says Ural Garrett, Hip-Hop Editor at Large for Music Industry Quarterly (M.I.Q).

The first Rap Grammy was presented to DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince nearly 30 years ago in 1989. Since then some of Hip-Hop’s biggest names have taken home music’s top trophies: that include Jay-Z, and Kanye West, who both, individually, have been awarded 21 career Grammys. That puts them in Stevie Wonder and Quincy Jones territory (each winning 29 Grammys). Jay-Z racks up the most nominations at 8 for his album 4:44, followed by Kendrick Lamar with 7 nominations for his critically acclaimed project, DAMN.

Over the years, the Grammys have been criticized for being too establishment focused, and omitting or ignoring the new movements occurring in the Rap, Hip-Hop and the R&B fields. This year’s nominees certainly display a shift in direction.

“I was very pleased,” Portnow told Billboard magazine, calling the nominations “a wonderful reflection on our organization and how relevant and in touch and savvy our voting members are.”

Indeed, the nominations for the 60th Annual Grammy Awards represent the wide range of today’s musical landscape, partially as a result of the Recording Academy’s continued efforts to diversify its membership.

“We have taken a concerted effort to making sure that the voting membership of the Academy is representative of the creative community,” Portnow says. “We’ve got 84 categories. Are we well-represented with membership from all of them? Are we engaging them? Are they participating? We look at that regularly and to the extent that we find there are areas that need more attention, we’ll do that.”

Be sure to tune in to the 60th Grammy Awards on Jan. 28, 2018, broadcast live on CBS from Madison Square Garden in New York. The 60th Grammy Awards telecast will air from 7:30–11 p.m. ET/4:30–8 p.m. PT.

The following is a sampling of nominations from the Grammy Awards’ 30 Fields and 84 categories.

For a complete nominations list, visit  www.grammy.com

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

Album Of The Year:

  • “Awaken, My Love!” — Childish Gambino
  • 4:44 — JAY-Z
  • DAMN. — Kendrick Lamar
  • Melodrama — Lorde
  • 24K Magic — Bruno Mars

Song Of The Year:

  • “Despacito” — Ramón Ayala, Justin Bieber, Jason “Poo Bear” Boyd, Erika Ender, Luis Fonsi & Marty James Garton, songwriters (Luis Fonsi & Daddy Yankee Featuring Justin Bieber)
  • “4:44” — Shawn Carter & Dion Wilson, songwriters (JAY-Z)
  • “Issues” — Benny Blanco, Mikkel Storleer Eriksen, Tor Erik Hermansen, Julia Michaels & Justin Drew Tranter, songwriters (Julia Michaels)
  • “1-800-273-8255” — Alessia Caracciolo, Sir Robert Bryson Hall II, Arjun Ivatury, Khalid Robinson, songwriters (Logic Featuring Alessia Cara & Khalid)
  • “That’s What I Like” — Christopher Brody Brown, James Fauntleroy, Philip Lawrence, Bruno Mars, Ray Charles McCullough II, Jeremy Reeves, Ray Romulus & Jonathan Yip, songwriters (Bruno Mars)

Best New Artist:

  • Alessia Cara
  • Khalid
  • Lil Uzi Vert
  • Julia Michaels
  • SZA

Best Urban Contemporary Album:

  • Free 6lack — 6lack
  • “Awaken, My Love!” — Childish Gambino
  • American Teen — Khalid
  • Ctrl — SZA
  • Starboy — The Weeknd

Best R&B Album:
(For albums containing at least 51% playing time of new R&B recordings.)

  • Freudian — Daniel Caesar
  • Let Love Rule — Ledisi
  • 24K Magic — Bruno Mars
  • Gumbo — PJ Morton
  • Feel The Real — Musiq Soulchild

Best R&B Performance:
(For new vocal or instrumental R&B recordings.)

  • Get You — Daniel Caesar Featuring Kali Uchis
  • Distraction —  Kehlani
  • High — Ledisi
  • That’s What I Like — Bruno Mars
  • The Weekend — SZA

Best Traditional R&B Performance:
(For new vocal or instrumental traditional R&B recordings.)

  • Laugh And Move On — The Baylor Project
  • Redbone — Childish Gambino
  • What I’m Feelin’ — Anthony Hamilton Featuring The Hamiltones
  • All The Way — Ledisi
  • Still — Mali Music

Best R&B Song:
(A Songwriter(s) Award)

  • “First Began” — PJ Morton, songwriter (PJ Morton)
  • “Location” — Alfredo Gonzalez, Olatunji Ige, Samuel David Jiminez, Christopher McClenney, Khalid Robinson & Joshua Scruggs, songwriters (Khalid)
  • “Redbone” — Donald Glover & Ludwig Goransson, songwriters (Childish Gambino)
  • “Supermodel” — Tyran Donaldson, Terrence Henderson, Greg Landfair Jr., Solana Rowe & Pharrell Williams, songwriters (SZA)
  • “That’s What I Like” — Christopher Brody Brown, James Fauntleroy, Philip Lawrence, Bruno Mars, Ray Charles McCullough II, Jeremy Reeves, Ray Romulus & Jonathan Yip, songwriters (Bruno Mars)

Best Rap Album:

  • 4:44 — JAY-Z
  • DAMN. — Kendrick Lamar
  • Culture — Migos
  • Laila’s Wisdom — Rapsody
  • Flower Boy — Tyler, The Creator

Best Rap Performance:
(For a Rap performance. Singles or Tracks only.)

  • “Bounce Back” — Big Sean
  • “Bodak Yellow” — Cardi B
  • “4:44” —  JAY-Z
  • “HUMBLE” — Kendrick Lamar
  • “Bad And Boujee” — Migos Featuring Lil Uzi Vert 

Best Rap/Sung Performance:
(For a solo or collaborative performance containing both elements of R&B melodies and Rap.)

  • “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

Best Rap Song:
(A Songwriter(s) Award)

  • “Bodak Yellow” — Dieuson Octave, Klenord Raphael, Shaftizm, Jordan Thorpe, Washpoppin & J White, songwriters (Cardi B)
  • “Chase Me” — Judah Bauer, Brian Burton, Hector Delgado, Jaime Meline, Antwan Patton, Michael Render, Russell Simins & Jon Spencer, songwriters (Danger Mouse Featuring Run The Jewels & Big Boi)
  • “HUMBLE” — K. Duckworth, Asheton Hogan & M. Williams II, songwriters (Kendrick Lamar)
  • “Sassy” — M. Evans & E. Gabouer, songwriters (Rapsody)
  • “The Story Of O.J.” — Shawn Carter & Dion Wilson, songwriters (JAY-Z)

Best Jazz Vocal Album:

  • The Journey — The Baylor Project
  • A Social Call — Jazzmeia Horn
  • Bad Ass And Blind — Raul Midón
  • Porter Plays Porter — Randy Porter Trio With Nancy King
  • Dreams And Daggers — Cécile McLorin Salvant

Best Gospel Album:

  • Crossover — Travis Greene
  • Bigger Than Me — Le’Andria
  • Close — Marvin Sapp
  • Sunday Song — Anita Wilson
  • Let Them Fall In Love — Cece Winans

Best Pop Solo Performance:

  • “Love So Soft” — Kelly Clarkson
  • “Praying” — Kesha
  • “Million Reasons” — Lady Gaga
  • “What About Us” — P!nk
  • “Shape Of You” — Ed Sheeran

Best Pop Duo/Group Performance:

  • “Something Just Like This” ­— The Chainsmokers & Coldplay
  • “Despacito” — Luis Fonsi & Daddy Yankee Featuring Justin Bieber
  • “Thunder” — Imagine Dragons
  • “Feel It Still” — Portugal. The Man
  • “Stay” — Zedd & Alessia Cara

Best Dance/Electronic Album:

  • Migration — Bonobo
  • 3-D The Catalogue — Kraftwerk
  • Mura Masa — Mura Masa
  • A Moment Apart — Odesza
  • What Now — Sylvan Esso