“I was surprised by how well Jay-Z did,” says Gold Derby contributor Cordell Martin about the 2018 Grammy nominations, which were announced on Tuesday, November 28. “Going in I thought it was going to be Kendrick Lamar, Ed Sheeran, and Bruno Mars, and it was just going to be about them, but out of the blue here comes Jay-Z with eight nominations.” Jay-Z’s unexpected sweep was part of an especially strong year for hip-hop and R&B artists, but the rising tide didn’t lift all boats. There were major snubs of hip-hop artists who seemed like strong contenders. Watch our video slugfest above.
Martin noticed “some key snubs for A Tribe Called Quest and DJ Khaled, just to name a few.” A Tribe Called Quest seemed like likely nominees for multiple reasons. Their album “We Got it From Here” was loved by critics, scoring 91 on MetaCritic. The veteran rap group delivered one of the most memorable moments at the 2017 Grammys when they performed a politically charged medley with Anderson Paak and Busta Rhymes. They were overdue, having never won a Grammy in their four previous nominations. And they were sentimental favorites since member Phife Dawg died in 2016 before the album’s release.
“Had Jay-Z not been a factor, I’m pretty sure they would have gotten a general-field nomination, whether for Song of the Year for ‘We the People’ or an Album of the Year nomination,” Martin explains. “I think Jay-Z stole their thunder … which sucks because it’s their last album and I really wanted them to get that last recognition.”
DJ Khaled didn’t have quite the acclaim of A Tribe Called Quest, but his latest album “Grateful” produced two of the biggest hits of 2017: “I’m the One” (featuring Justin Bieber, Quavo, Chance the Rapper, and Lil Wayne) and “Wild Thoughts” (featuring Rihanna and Bryson Tiller). Neither of those songs made the cut in any category, and the album was snubbed as well despite Khaled earning a nomination for Best Rap Album for “Major Key” in 2017.
What did you think of the ups and downs for rap artists in this year’s Grammy nominations?
Be sure to make your Grammy predictions so that Hollywood record executives and top name stars can see how their songs and albums are faring in our Grammy odds. Don’t be afraid to jump in now since you can keep changing your predictions until just before winners are announced on January 28. And join in the fierce debate over the 2018 Grammys taking place right now with Hollywood insiders in our music forums. Read more Gold Derby entertainment news.