2018 Grammy's-The Orlando Times
Hip-Hop and R&B Take Over The 2018 Grammy’s
BY JALESSA CASTILLO, TIMES STAFF WRITER
Following years of controversy over the lack of diversity in their nominations, the 2018 Grammy’s appear to be ready to start the New Year off by recognizing genres and artists that they seemed to brush to the side in years past.
Excitement was in the air when the 2018 Grammy nominees were announced the morning of November 28th. In a historic turn of events the major categories of album and record of the year are dominated by rap and R&B artists and albums. They consist of JAY-Z, who leads the pack with 8 nominations, followed closely by Kendrick Lamar who has 7, Bruno Mars who has 6, and Childish Gambino who has 3. Lorde’s ‘Melodrama’ is also up for album of the year and “Despacito” (remix) by Puerto Rican artists Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee featuring Justin Bieber is contending for record of the year as well.
This is a drastic change compared to the 50th Grammy Awards, only 10 years ago, when Kanye West was the only hip-hop artist in the race for album of the year. Additionally, for the first time in the history of the Grammys, there was not a white male among the album-of-the-year nominees. Likewise, “Despacito” is the first Spanish-language song to be recognized for the record and song-of-the-year awards.
The nominations for Childish Gambino, also known as in the entertainment world as Donald Glover, come at a slight surprise. While he is very talented and his artistic album has some stand out hits, he lacks some of the critical and commercial success of the others nominated in his category. However, the tone and message behind his music are very relevant in today’s political climate and make him a great contender for the award. Especially with his nominated song “Redbone” which peaked at No. 12 on the Billboard Top 100 and was used in the breakout hit movie “Get Out” which challenged people’s perception of racial prejudices and cultural appropriation.
Continuing with its domination this year, the female artist with the most nominations this year is R&B artist SZA, with 5. One category she is up for is best new artist, which is made up of fellow rising R&B star Khalid, alternative-pop artists Julia Michaels and Alessia Cara, and new school rapper Lil Uzi Vert. These choices emphasize the growing diversity in the music world. This category tends to reveal the future direction of the industry and it seems that rather than steering away from new non-traditional sounds that artists are bringing to the table they are embracing them.
However, as music becomes more diverse it is becoming harder to categorize. For instance, “Feel It Still” by Portugal. The Man and “Thunder,” by Imagine Dragons, both successes, were acknowledged under the best pop duo/group performance category rather than the seemingly fit “Rock”.
Moreover, this new founded inclusion has caused outcry from fans of some “shoo-in” artists who they felt were snubbed this year. The list includes Ed Sheeran, Miley Cyrus, Katy Perry, Post Malone and other popular figures in music. People also feel that genres such as country and rock are being pushed to the side at this year’s ceremony. Nevertheless, the general public seems enamored with the choices and invites the new direction that the Grammys is heading in.
Whether or not this diversity in one of the music industry’s most prestigious award shows will prevail is yet to be known, but what’s clear from this year’s nominations is that they are compensating for past mistakes and have begun to recognize that talent and artistry can be found in a diverse group of people and genres.