La­mar is top con­tender

Women heav­ily rep­re­sented in the four ma­jor cat­e­gories


NEW YORK — The mu­sic of Black Pan­ther, with Ken­drick La­mar in its star­ring role, of­fi­cially owns the 2019 Grammy Awards, where women are heav­ily rep­re­sented in the ma­jor four cat­e­gories fol­low­ing a year where their pres­ence was barely felt.

The Record­ing Academy an­nounced Fri­day that La­mar is the top con­tender with eight nom­i­na­tions, in­clud­ing seven for his mu­si­cal com­pan­ion to the Marvel Stu­dios jug­ger­naut star­ring Chad­wick Bose­man and Michael B. Jordan. Black Pan­ther: The Al­bum, Mu­sic From and In­spired By is up for al­bum of the year, a cat­e­gory where women make up five of the eight nom­i­nees. Cardi B, Kacey Mus­graves, Janelle Monae, H.E.R. and Brandi Carlile also are up for the top prize, along with Drake and Post Malone.

The up­com­ing Gram­mys is the first where the academy ex­tended its top four cat­e­gories from five nom­i­nees to eight.

The Pan­ther nom­i­na­tion would give La­mar a chance to win al­bum of the year af­ter los­ing three times.

His most re­cent loss was in Fe­bru­ary when his crit­i­cally ac­claimed DAMN fell short to Bruno Mars’ 24K Magic, though La­mar’s project would go on to win a Pulitzer Prize for mu­sic two months later, mak­ing him the first non-clas­si­cal or jazz artist to win the pres­ti­gious hon­our.

La­mar’s Top 10 hit, the SZAas­sisted All the Stars, is nom­i­nated for both record and song of the year (a song­writer’s award). Five other songs scored nom­i­na­tions in both cat­e­gories, in­clud­ing Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper’s Shal­low from A Star Is Born; Child­ish Gam­bino’s This Is Amer­ica; Drake’s God’s Plan; Zedd, Maren Mor­ris and Grey’s The Mid­dle; and Carlile’s The Joke.

Ella Mai’s Boo’d Up and Shawn Men­des’ In My Blood earned song of the year nods, while Post Malone’s Rock­star and Cardi B’s I Like It, fea­tur­ing Bad Bunny and J Balvin, round out the nom­i­nees for record of the year.

Fol­low­ing La­mar, Drake — the year’s most suc­cess­ful artist — earned seven nom­i­na­tions. Though nom­i­nated for al­bum of the year, he was sur­pris­ingly shut out of best rap al­bum, where his ri­val Pusha T earned a nom­i­na­tion.

Drake’s fre­quent col­lab­o­ra­tor, pro­ducer Boi-1Da, earned six nods, as did Carlile, who also scored nom­i­na­tions in the Amer­i­can Roots cat­e­gory.

Cardi B, Gaga, H.E.R., Mor­ris, Gam­bino, pro­ducer Soun­wave and en­gi­neer Mike Bozzi scored five nom­i­na­tions each.

The nom­i­nees for the 2019 Gram­mys mark a de­par­ture from this year’s show, where women were un­der­rep­re­sented in the top four cat­e­gories. Of the eight best new artist nom­i­nees, six are women, in­clud­ing H.E.R., Chloe x Halle, Dua Lipa, Margo Price, Bebe Rexha and Jorja Smith. Rock band Greta Van Fleet and coun­try singer Luke Combs also earned nom­i­na­tions.

Record­ing Academy CEO Neil Port­now was crit­i­cized ear­lier this year at the Gram­mys when he said women need to “step up” when asked about the lack of women in the top cat­e­gories, which he later ac­knowl­edged was a “poor choice of words.”

It forced the academy to launch a new task force fo­cused on in­clu­sion and di­ver­sity; Port­now also an­nounced he would be leav­ing the academy in 2019.

“In any given year there could be more folks from one area or one gen­der or one genre or one eth­nic­ity that are mak­ing record­ings and be­ing suc­cess­ful with them than in an­other year. So, in many ways we’re just a re­flec­tion of that,” Port­now said in an in­ter­view.

“This year clearly there were many women not only mak­ing mu­sic but mak­ing great mu­sic and mak­ing mu­sic that res­onates with our peer vot­ers in terms of ex­cel­lence, and so that cer­tainly is at the fore­front.”

An­other mile­stone for women is in the non-clas­si­cal pro­ducer of the year cat­e­gory, where song­writ­ing ex­traor­di­naire Linda Perry earned a nom­i­na­tion.

She’s just the sev­enth woman ever nom­i­nated for the prize and first since 2004.

“Linda rep­re­sents what we hope be­comes the norm, which is the elim­i­na­tion of gen­der bias in pro­duc­ing and en­gi­neer­ing in our in­dus­try,” Port­now said.

Perry will com­pete with Phar­rell Wil­liams, Boi-1Da, Larry Klein and Kanye West, the only nom­i­na­tion he earned.

Tay­lor Swift, a two-time al­bum of the year win­ner, also only earned one nom­i­na­tion — her “rep­u­ta­tion” al­bum is up best pop vo­cal al­bum. Justin Tim­ber­lake, whose Man of the Woods al­bums flopped ear­lier this year, picked up a nod for Say Some­thing, his col­lab­o­ra­tion with Chris Sta­ple­ton.

The 2019 Gram­mys will hand out awards in its 84 cat­e­gories live from the Sta­ples Cen­ter in Los An­ge­les on Feb. 10, 2019.


Ken­drick La­mar per­forms dur­ing the last year’s Grammy Awards in New York. The sound­track of Marvel’s Black Pan­ther pro­pelled the rap su­per­star to the front of 2018’s Grammy pack with eight nom­i­na­tions.

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