The Grammys folded the Best Contemporary R&B Album into Best R&B Album this year and Chris Brown is one act who survived the transition. His nominated "F.A.M.E." was #1 on the Billboard albums chart and marks the third time one of his albums competes. "Graffiti" was in the contemporary field last year and his self-titled release was cited in 2007. Though he has yet to win, none of this year's nominees have ever won a Grammy for one of their albums. "F.A.M.E." is further boosted by his top ten hit "Look at Me Now," which has two bids in rap categories.
For the fourth time, R. Kelly is up for one of his albums. "Love Letter" was preceded by nominations for his "Untitled" album last year along with "Chocolate Factory" (2004) and "R." (2000). His latest opened at #6 on the albums chart and received favorable reviews. Track "Radio Message" made the Best Traditional R&B Performance line-up. This could be his year to win at last.
El DeBarge got his first two Grammy nominations last year for single "Second Chance," the title track off his now-nominated, critically beloved album. The former leader singer of family group DeBarge is something of a wildcard in this race since he hasn't released a new album since 1994. Grammy voters may have been aching to embrace him in the years since.
Ledisi has lost this category twice for "Lost & Found" (2008) and "Turn Me Loose" (2010), but her latest offering "Pieces of Me" might turn things around. The title track is contending for two other honors and the Grammys liked her well enough to nominate her four other times since 2008. Most notably, she was cited for Best New Artist when she emerged on the scene, losing to the late Amy Winehouse.
With three nominations, Kelly Price has her biggest year to date with the Grammys. Her album "Kelly" is the first time one of her full-length releases is in the mix and she has two citations for writing and singing "Not My Daddy." Her previous four attempts at the Grammys never resulted in wins, which unfortunately will likely be true again this year.