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GRAMMY GENRE ALBUM MUSINGS

As the Grammy nomination announcement comes down to the wire early tomorrow morn, we examine several genre-specific album award key races. These opinions will self-destruct in less than 24 hours.

Alternative Music Album: Vampire Weekend, a potential Album Of The Year contender, was absent in Rock Album, because it's entered here instead. Are they still edgy enough to be considered left-of-mainstream, as in prior years? Other standouts in this category like Bon Iver, Flaming Lips, Karen O & Danger Mouse and Thom Yorke, are alternative mainstays that seem to belong, along with memorable newcomers Clairo, Joji and Ry X. This one could come down to Vampire Weekend vs Bon Iver vs Karen O & Danger Mouse.

Urban Contemporary Album: Lizzo shines brightly in this category. Her single "Truth Hurts" is entered in Pop Solo Performance, but her album is submitted here, rather than in Rap Album. She is up against other standout heavyweights Beyonce, B's sister Solange, Khalid, Chris Brown, and Ciara. Created in 2013, this category has become a place where labels can strategically plant an album that might otherwise be in Pop Vocal, R&B or Rap, without as many opponents to wrestle with. This could likely come down to Lizzo vs queen Bey. 

Rap Album: Tyler, The Creator's IGOR seems like a shoo-in here. Metro Boomin, Schoolboy Q, Anderson .PaakMeek Mill, Future and Young Thug are all also strong showings. Tyler, The Creator's submissions are spread out over several categories, Rap Performance, Rap/Sung Performance, R&B Performance and R&B Song, though it's here that he might have his best chance of winning. 

Contemporary Blues Album: Is Gary Clark Jr. this year’s Kendrick Lamar, i.e. an artist with extra gravitas? That makes him a potential magnet for any voters who sought to balance their ballot filled with less-weighty pop. Is it enough to pull off a nomination in any of the big 3 (Record/Album/Song)? Clark is a proven favorite of both the Recording Academy and the producers of the telecast. His critically acclaimed album This Land, which includes the scathing single of the same title, seems like a strong contender for a nomination in this category. Fantastic Negrito won this award in 2019 and 2017, and Taj Mahal & Keb' Mo' won in 2018. 

 

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