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GRAMMY CHEW:
THE MEN, THE ALBUMS

It’s just a fact, like a fly on a politician's head: There are so many serious female contenders for Grammy’s Album of the Year category that the men will likely be fighting for just a few spots. We’ve divided the contenders as we see them into (a) the favorites—who appear to have the best odds of getting those spots—(b) serious contenders, whose odds are longer, and (c) the wildcards. As we’ve said before and will say again, Grammy does what Grammy wants, anyone who claims to be able to predict the outcome with any certainty is nuts and we’ll probably end up eating at least some of our words later on. With that said, here are the guys we think have a shot at an AOTY nom.

THE FAVORITES

The Weeknd: Given the impact of his album and the ubiquity of “Blinding Lights” (along with the intangible cool factor), we’d be shocked if the XO/Republic superstar weren’t included. A lot of people feel strongly he should win in this category. But that’s a conversation for another time.

Harry Styles: Columbia’s British phenom might be the biggest star in the world, and in addition to showing growth creatively, his Fine Line yielded two giant hits. He looks like a lock, but might he end up being rewarded in ROTY and SOTY instead?

Lil Baby: Quality Control/Motown/Capitol’s rap breakout had the biggest album of the year with My Turn and became the musical face of the Black Lives Matter movement. With creative, commercial and cultural impact all on his side, Baby seems a natural for a nom.

SERIOUS CONTENDERS

Post Malone: The eclectic Republic superstar is so big that it’s easy to take him for granted. Grammy has done just that in the past and may continue to do so as it addresses systemic inequality. But his album was enormous, “Circles” is beyond behemoth and his stylistic reach is impressive. Could he squeak in?

Juice WRLD: The departed rapper’s posthumous Grade A/Interscope set culminated a real cultural moment, with the hip-hop community united in creating the record and celebrating an impressive talent taken too soon. Grammy will be attuned to the significance.

WILDCARDS

Pop Smoke: Another posthumous smash, the late rapper’s debut album on Victor Victor/Republic is even bigger than Juice’s and it’s clear that it’s culturally important.

Luke Combs: The only Nashville contender, in all likelihood, River House/Columbia Nashville’s Combs has earned enormous streams, assorted country-music awards and tons of credibility. Could his album represent for Music City?

Justin Bieber: Biebs made strides creatively and commercially with his Changes set (RBMG/Def Jam) and scored hits with “Intentions” and “10,000 Hours.” His newly devout image, meanwhile, may play well with many voters who were inclined to ignore him during his enfant terrible days.

Future: The Freebandz/Epic rapper occupies his own extraterrestrial plane, and continues to stretch into trippy new territory. Does he have the gravitas to carve out a place in this moment?

Polo G: This Columbia breakout has definitely established himself as an act, building respect every minute. His set The Goat could be a surprise entry, though it seems likelier that his impact will be felt in the Rap categories.

DaBaby: SCMG/Interscope’s streaming monster has earned major credibility in the hip-hop world, and his “Rockstar” just won’t quit. Did his Grammy-eligible Kirk set get overshadowed by huge follow-up Blame It on Baby?

 

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