Grammy for Best Urban Contemporary Album: Is The Weeknd a lock?

the weeknd urban contemporary

The Grammy for Best Urban Contemporary Album has only been awarded for the last three years. It is intended to differ from Best R&B Album by honoring more modern, urban and alternative styles of R&B, and the two times there has been at least one Album of the Year nominee in the running, it has won. This year there’s only one Album of the Year contender in the mix: The Weeknd‘s “Beauty Behind the Madness.” Does that make him unbeatable?

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In 2012 Frank Ocean‘s “Channel Orange” was up for Album of the Year and prevailed in this category. Then in 2014 there were two urban contemporary Album of the Year contenders, with Pharrell Williams‘s “GIRL” upsetting Beyonce‘s self-titled hit.

In-between those winners, Rihanna won for “Unapologetic” in 2013, but luckily for her she wasn’t up against any Album of the Year contenders.

With seven bids overall, The Weeknd is the second most nominated artist in any genre at the Grammys this year, tied with Taylor Swift and trailing only Kendrick Lamar, who has 11. So even without an Album of the Year nomination, he would have significantly more support than any of his rivals in this category.

However, only one of those other nominees has ever been in this contest before: Miguel, whose “Kaleidoscope Dream” lost to “Channel Orange” in 2012. Now he competes for his third studio album, “Wildheart.” But his only other nomination this year is Best R&B Song for “Coffee.” Is there enough support for him to pull off an upset?

The other three nominees are first-timers in this category, and this is the only nomination for each of them. “Blood” is the second album by 26-year-old British singer-songwriter Lianne La Havas, while the group The Internet are nominated for their third effort, “Ego Death.”

Rounding out the category is 20-year-old Kehlani, who competes for her self-released album “You Should Be Here.”

So the Weeknd has more total nominations than his four rivals combined. Is he a lock to win, or is there a potential for an upset here?

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The Weeknd photo credit: Veda Jo Jenkins/REX

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