It’s not the usual trajectory in Hollywood, but it looks like Donald Glover may follow his Emmy win for Best Comedy Actor (“Atlanta”) with a Grammy for Best Urban Contemporary Album. He performs as a musician under the stage name Childish Gambino, and this year he picked up five nominations from the recording academy, including Record of the Year (“Redbone”) and Album of the Year (“Awaken, My Love”). “Awaken” also contends in the Urban Contemporary race, and history strongly favors him to prevail here.
The Urban Contemporary Album category is an R&B genre prize that is distinguished from the separate Best R&B Album category by awarding rhythm-and-blues music with modern hip-hop, electronic, and alternative elements. It has only been around since 2013, but before that the Grammys awarded a similar prize, Best Contemporary R&B Album, from 2003 to 2011.
Between the two categories, almost every time there has been an Album of the Year nominee in the running it has won: Usher‘s “Confessions” (2005), Mariah Carey‘s “The Emancipation of Mimi” (2006), Beyonce‘s “I Am…Sasha Fierce” (2010), Frank Ocean‘s “Channel Orange” (2013), Pharrell Williams‘s “GIRL” (2015), The Weeknd‘s “Beauty Behind the Madness” (2016), and Beyonce’s “Lemonade” (2017). The only exception was in 2009, when Ne-Yo‘s “Year of the Gentleman” was nominated for Album of the Year but lost Contemporary R&B Album to Mary J. Blige‘s “Growing Pains.”
Since Childish Gambino is the only Album of the Year nominee in the running this year that bodes well for him, but he should watch out for The Weeknd, who hopes to follow his 2016 win with another for his latest album, “Starboy.” However, he doesn’t have any other nominations this year, so he may not have enough support from the academy to prevail this time around.
A bigger threat may be two newcomers with multiple nominations for their debut albums. SZA contends for “Ctrl,” for which she is up for five awards, including Best New Artist. Khalid is up for “American Teen,” and he too has five total nominations including Best New Artist. Since they both have support in the general field, just like Childish Gambino, they may be his biggest threats.
Rounding out the category is another first-time nominee: 6lack for his debut album “Free 6lack.” He only has one other nomination this year, Best Rap/Sung Performance for “Prblms,” so he too may lack the broad support to overtake the top contenders in this race. If that’s the case, it may be time for Childish Gambino to prepare yet another acceptance speech.
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.