The general field Grammy categories were good for Janelle Monae and bad for Beyonce and Jay-Z. Monae was nominated for Album of the Year for “Dirty Computer” while Bey and Jay’s joint album “Everything is Love” (credited together as The Carters) got no love. But the recording academy may have been kinder to the latter duo in the long run because “Love” was nominated for Best Urban Contemporary Album while “Computer” was shockingly left out of all R&B categories. Now The Carters could leave the Grammys with more hardware, while the Grammy-less Monae might go home empty-handed — again.
“Everything is Love” is by far the highest-profile album in the race for Best Urban Contemporary Album, even though it wasn’t nominated for Album of the Year. It’s up against Best New Artist contenders Chloe x Halle (“The Kids Are Alright”) past Grammy champs Miguel (“War and Leisure”), Chris Dave (“Chris Dave and the Drumhedz”), and overdue veteran Meshell Ndegeocello (“Ventriloquism”). Since The Carters are the big fish in a small pond and the recording academy did them a huge favor by locking out Monae, can they add to their ample Grammy hauls?
Don’t be too sure. Though the Grammys love Beyonce and Jay-Z, voters have taken their foot off the gas in recent years when it comes to awarding the power couple. Jay-Z has won 21 times over the course of his career, but he notoriously lost all eight of his nominations last year. And while Beyonce is the second most awarded woman in Grammy history with 22 trophies (behind Alison Krauss with 27), her self-titled album lost this award in 2015 to Pharrell (“GIRL”) even though she was the heavy favorite to prevail. And she only won two of her nine nominations for “Lemonade” in 2017, demonstrating that voters won’t automatically check off her name.
This year that could be good news for Chloe x Halle, whose Best New Artist bid makes them the only act in this category with a nomination in the general field. Meanwhile, Miguel has been a consistent favorite of the recording academy, though despite 12 nominations over the years he has only won once, and never for a complete album. Ndegeocello has been nominated 10 times in her career stretching back to 1995, but she has never won a single award; this might be an ideal opportunity to rectify that. And drummer Chris Dave has won Best R&B Album twice for his contributions to other artists’ albums (Robert Glasper‘s “Black Radio” in 2013, D’Angelo‘s “Black Messiah” in 2016), but never for his own.
So maybe this won’t be such a cakewalk for The Carters. Grammy voters might just spread the “Love” to someone else.
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