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TOP DAWG: BARKING ALL THE WAY TO THE BANK

Top Dawg Entertainment is capping an extraordinary year in style, as stars Kendrick Lamar and SZA take in a pile of Grammy nods—including recognition in the big four categories.

Lamar, whose TDE/Aftermath/Interscope set DAMN. is one of the year's biggest releases and remains a dominant force on the streaming charts nearly eight months after its release, earned six Grammy nominations, led by Album and Record of the Year ("HUMBLE"). It should be noted that DAMN. became the first artist other than Drake to amass 200m+ streams for an album in a single week; the set bowed at #1 with 610k SPS, which reigned as 2017's biggest debut until Taylor Swift's million-plus chart bow in November.

TDE/RCA's SZA, meanwhile, scored a Top 5 debut for her widely acclaimed Ctrl and remained a major streaming title thereafter, boosted by thoughtful placement on the HBO series Insecure. Tracks "Love Galore" f/Travis Scott, "Supermodel" and "The Weekend" flew up at Apple Music and Spotify and just stuck around.

The inventive, expressive singer/songwriter got another big look via her collab with Maroon 5, "What Lovers Do" (222/Interscope) leading into Grammy season, and was correctly touted as a frontrunner for a Best New Artist nod. She got that as well as noms for R&B Performance, Urban Contemporary Album and Rap/Sung Performance.

We expect TDE's Top to be even harder to get on the phone than before—and to be drinking a lot of toasts on Grammy night.

ARETHA FRANKLIN,
1942-2018
The Queen of Soul is with her Lord. (8/17a)
THE WORLD SAYS FAREWELL TO ARETHA
The outpouring has been overwhelming. (8/17a)
STREAMING SONGS:
A LA "MODE"
That is totally sicko. (8/17a)
ARIANA PAYS TRIBUTE TO ARETHA
Two generations of natural women (8/17a)
FLIPPING THE DEMAND FOR HIP-HOP FASHION INTO ALBUM SALES
Merch has become an important tool in boosting sales. (8/17a)
HITS' 32ND ANNIVERSARY ISSUE
Or as it's known in the trade-publishing world, Doorstop 2.0.
THE A&R EXECS
That stands for Artists and Repertoire, in case you were wondering.
PIZZA AND MARKETSHARE
I'm winning this one.
THE BOILER ROOM
It's the new tape room.
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