The 2018 Grammy Nominees – Who Was Snubbed, Who Should Win, and Who Will Win

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The Recording Academy announced the 2018 Grammy Award nominees on Tuesday (Nov. 28), and whether you think they’re wonderful or you think they’re rigged, the Grammys remain the most relevant award show in music. As usual, plenty of incredible artists were recognized for their work this year, and of course, a few great artists were snubbed.


What’s really standing out this year is the shutout of pop artists in major categories by hip-hop and R&B artists; these performers are reigning this year with eight nominations for JAY-Z (three of which fall in major categories), seven nominations for Kendrick Lamar, six for Bruno Mars, and Khalid, SZA, and Childish Gambino fall close behind with five nods each. Only one of the four main categories (Record of the Year, Album of the Year, Song of the Year, and Best New Artist) is dominated by pop content, which is seriously shocking with the considerable number of major pop releases that were eligible (and typically favored by voters) this year. The Recording Academy voters actually appear to be making an attempt to shake things up for the 2018 ceremony. On top of the astounding amount of hip-hop and R&B content nominated this year, four minority artists are up for the coveted award for Album of the Year. It’s been over a decade  since that many minorities have been nominated in the category.


Now that a wider variety of genres are being recognized in major categories, there should be a very interesting show in store for viewers come January, but what’s even more exciting than the show itself, is what people will inevitably have to say once the winners are announced; it seems no one can ever come to an agreement on whether the Recording Academy truly awards the best music, or if they care too much about ratings or cater to a more political audience. So, let’s get a head start and talk about who’s nominated, who was snubbed, who should win, and who will win.


Record of the Year


Redbone – Childish Gambino

Despacito – Luis Fonsi & Daddy Yankee Featuring Justin Bieber

The Story of O.J. – JAY-Z

HUMBLE. – Kendrick Lamar

24K Magic – Bruno Mars


Who should win: HUMBLE. – Kendrick Lamar

Who will win: 24K Magic – Bruno Mars


Simply put – this selection of nominees is fantastic. Each artist could take the cake for different reasons, whether it’s JAY-Z’s hyper-relevant subject matter or “Despacito’s” catchy melody that managed to get the world singing along without even the slightest idea as to what its lyrics meant. “HUMBLE.” is a deserving favorite, but “24K Magic” is likely to be honored here, even though it isn’t Mars’ best. Votes will likely be split between “HUMBLE.” and “The Story of O.J.” leaving Mars’ free to swoop in and claim the award, although it wouldn’t come as a complete surprise if “Despacito” comes away with the win, especially since it was also nominated for song of the year.



Album of the Year


“Awaken, My Love!” – Childish Gambino

4:44 – JAY-Z

DAMN. – Kendrick Lamar

Melodrama – Lorde

24K Magic – Bruno Mars


Who should win: Melodrama – Lorde

Who will win: DAMN. – Kendrick Lamar


Dubbed album of the year by NME and Consequence of Sound, Lorde’s Melodrama surpassed all (high) expectations set for her sophomore album. Written and composed exclusively by Lorde and producer Jack Antonoff, Melodrama is a critically acclaimed, witty, relatable, heartbreaking triumph of a concept album. The Independent praised Melodrama for its unconventional “off-kilter rhythms and quirks in the production [which] expose the inner workings of her music, where other artists would demand their albums are buffed and polished into generic perfection.” If this is a glimpse of what Lorde is capable of constructing at a mere 20-years-of-age, the industry is bound to be even more floored by her talents (if that’s even possible) in the years to come.


Despite Melodrama’s strengths, it’s unlikely that the Recording Academy will deny Kendrick Lamar his award for Album of the Year three times in a row. Aside from DAMN. actually being a very strong release, at this point, it’s expected for the Academy to snub black artists, and they likely won’t be able to resist an opportunity to make up for the cringe-inducing fiasco that was their decision to award Adele over Beyoncé in multiple categories at the 2017 ceremony.


That being said, Melodrama and DAMN. are both phenomenal works, both certainly deserving of the Grammys’ highest honor. But DAMN. has the upper hand, considering the fact that a win from Lamar will help the Academy save face by seemingly proving that the Grammy Awards do not perpetuate racism.


Song of the Year


Despacito – Luis Fonsi & Daddy Yankee Featuring Justin Beiber

4:44 – JAY-Z

Issues – Julia Michaels

1-800-273-8255 – Logic Featuring Alessia Cara & Khalid

That’s What I Like – Bruno Mars


Who should win: That’s What I Like – Bruno Mars or 4:44 JAY-Z

Who will win: That’s What I Like – Bruno Mars

For all the great songs that released in the last year, this list is an utter disappointment – and it’s where we get to talk about some major snubs. Song of the Year is an award for songwriters only, unlike Record of the Year, for which everyone involved on the track is awarded. You would expect to see some big names here – Ed Sheeran, who was expected to receive far more than two nods this year, is noticeably absent. “Praying”, a cut from Kesha’s triumphant return to music through her album Rainbow could easily replace a few songs in this category, and even Academy favorite, Lady Gaga, failed to nab a nomination here. Oh – and Paramore can’t be forgotten; the extremely clever, catchy, and career-redefining “Hard Times” deserves a spot on this list.


Lyrically, “4:44” is all there and the Academy has a long history of favoring JAY-Z. “1-800-273-8255” is a big hit, but frankly, the song’s message is better and more powerful than the song itself. “That’s What I Like” is the best track all around with the best shot at a win. It has more than a few writers, but aside from that aspect, it fits the mold for a typical winner of this award. As Mars’ third nomination in a major category this year, it won’t be a surprise if he takes this award (and a few others) home.



Best New Artist


Alessia Cara


Lil Uzi Vert

Julia Michaels



Who should win: SZA or Julia Michaels

Who will win: SZA or Alessia Cara


Ah, the most unpredictable of the main categories. The Academy is clearly favoring hip-hop and R&B leaning artists this year, so Khalid, Lil Uzi Vert (the most surprising nominee), and SZA (who has the most critically-acclaimed album of these nominees) have the upper hand here. However, Alessia Cara’s numerous nominations, star power, and exposure over the last year might well propel her towards a victory, and though you might not recognize Julia Michaels’ name off the top of your head, you definitely know her work. She’s penned massive hits, like “Sorry” and “Bad Liar,” among countless others, for artists such as Justin Bieber, Selena Gomez, Nick Jonas, and John Legend, and if there’s one thing the Academy loves – it’s a songwriter. The artist that will take home the award this year is anyone’s guess.


The 60th Annual Grammy Awards will air on Sunday, Jan. 28, 2018. You can check out the entire list of nominees here.

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I'm a junior at Appalachian State University majoring in public relations and journalism.