Ikem Nnadi ’23
The 63rd Grammy Awards Ceremony will take place January 31, 2021. The nominee list was released on November 24 of this year.
The host of the ceremony will be Trevor Noah, a political commentator and comedian.
The three most popular music genres (rap, pop, and R&B) all produced some quality work this year despite the COVID-19 pandemic. 2020 was a year to remember in music, with dynamic, genre-bending projects such as The Weeknd’s After Hours achieving critical and commercial acclaim.
However, that does not mean that all of 2020’s musical highs received a nomination. Despite being generally regarded as Album of the Year in R&B amongst music communities, After Hours didn’t receive a single nomination in any category, nor did any song from it.
This was easily the biggest snub of the nominations, followed by Pop Smoke and Summer Walker snubbed in the Best New Artists category.
The Best Melodic Rap Performance nominations are a new category introduced this year, and they arguably have gotten off to a good start with tracks such as Drake’s “Laugh Now, Cry Later” and Travis Scott’s “Highest in the Room” among the nominations.
Some of my personal grievances include Lil Baby’s My Turn not being nominated for Best Rap Album, as well as Polo G’s The Goat being ignored in the same category. Despite this, some underrated talents such as D Smoke and Freddie Gibbs were nominated in the category, with genre superstars occupying nominations in most other categories across rap, pop, and R&B.
Some fantastic tracks were included in the Best Rap Performance nominations and Best R&B Performance, with “The Bigger Picture” by Lil Baby and “Lightning and Thunder” by Jhene Aiko (featuring John Legend) being standouts.
R&B artists outdid themselves this year, with big figures such as Beyonce and the aforementioned Aiko and Legend receiving multiple nominations. Many were expecting R&B artist Bryson Tiller to make a nice return to form with his latest album Anniversary, perhaps grabbing a nomination.
However, many fans and critics alike felt as though the album was simply a shallower version of his 2017 album Trapsoul, which was Grammy-nominated itself.
A nod that I felt was deserved was Thundercat’s nomination in Best Progressive R&B Album for It is What it Is. Pop fans should be pleased with their nominees, as Dua Lipa, Justin Bieber, and Taylor Swift all racking up multiple nominations.
The Best Pop Solo Performance category had some of the year’s biggest pop songs, with Billie Eilish’s “Everything I Wanted” and Doja Cat’s “Say So” standing out. The Best Pop Album also included big stars, ranging from Lady Gaga to Justin Bieber.
So, while the 2021 Grammy Nominations were notable for their snub of the Weeknd, this list of nominees was good overall. Instead of vying for the most popular albums or songs, the Grammys opted for some sleeper hits, such as D Smoke’s Black Habits being nominated for Rap Album of the Year.
While some, like myself, are disappointed that their favourite artists weren’t nominated, this is a good list overall, and I’m interested to see how the ceremony plays out in January, and who performs. But until then, we can only hope and speculate.
Photo credits: https://news.yahoo.com/host-2021-grammy-awards-unexpected-141800421.html (Trevor Noah), Rachel Luna/FilmMagic (Billie Eilish)