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GRAMMY CHEW: THE POSTHUMOUS PERPLEX

Two late artists, Juice WRLD and Pop Smoke, are both major contenders for Grammy glory.

It’s a strange and sad situation, as we consider the legacy of two artists who were taken from us too soon. In addition to almost certain nods in the Rap categories, both are likely contenders for Album and Record of the Year—and possibly for Best New Artist.

As we’ve noted previously, no act has ever been posthumously nominated for BNA. But this year—in which so many unprecedented things have already happened—it could potentially happen twice.

Regardless of what categories they’re nominated in, it’s abundantly clear that both Juice and Pop continue to exert a strong influence on the music world and are fully deserving of serious recognition on Music’s Biggest Night.

Grade A/Interscope’s Juice, who was taken from us in December of 2019, just a week after his 21st birthday, currently has the #7 album in activity to date with nearly 1.3m for Legends Never Die, and has remained in the Top 5 on our Top 50 chart. His “Come & Go” f/Marshmello is probably the top contender among the album’s tracks, but “Wishing Well” and “Smile” f/The Weeknd have also gotten traction.

Victor Victor/Republic’s Pop, also a perennial in our Top 5, is just behind Juice on the ATD chart at #8 with almost 1.2m in activity for the star-studded Shoot for the Stars Aim for the Moon. Numerous cuts from the set, including “For the Night” f/Lil Baby and DaBaby, “Mood Swings” f/Lil Tjay and “The Woo” f/50 Cent and Roddy Ricch, are streaming strongly and could be acknowledged.

More to the point for Grammy purposes, these artists are beloved by the hip-hop community and fellow artists (as evidenced by the bevy of rap-star guests on these two posthumous albums), and earned serious love from critics as well for original contributions to the form. If they were still with us, they would still be serious contenders in both Rap and general-field categories.

No matter where they’re recognized, noms and/or wins for Juice and Pop will underscore the profound losses we see with such tragic regularity, and remind us in a visceral way of the potential creative work that has been subtracted from the world. In any case, expect the names of these two stars to carry considerable weight as Grammy nominations are considered.

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