Swift snubbed as La­mar, Drake Grammy noms push rap to fore

Hartford Courant - - Living - By Greg Kot Chicago Tri­bune

Hip-hop con­tin­ues to dom­i­nate pop mu­sic, rock keeps slid­ing, Tay­lor Swift ap­pears to be fall­ing off, and hip-hop giants Kendrick La­mar and Drake are so­lid­i­fy­ing their grip as the planet’s dom­i­nant pop stars.

Those are the broad strokes that can be gleaned from the nom­i­na­tions an­nounced Fri­day for the 61st An­nual Grammy Awards. Love or loathe them, the Gram­mys con­tinue to be a barom­e­ter of broad com­mer­cial trends in Amer­i­can mu­sic.

Hip-hop and pop dom­i­nated the al­bum of the year nom­i­na­tions, while rock failed to garner even one men­tion. The nom­i­nees in­cluded rap­pers Cardi B (“In­va­sion of Pri­vacy”), Drake (“Scor­pion”), Post Malone (“Beer­bongs & Bent­leys”) and La­mar (“Black Pan­ther: The Al­bum”); R&B artists Janelle Monae (“Dirty Com­puter”) and H.E.R. (“H.E.R.”); coun­try-pop singer Kacey Mus­graves (“Golden Hour”); and singer-song­writer Brandi Carlile (“By the Way, I For­give You”).

La­mar led the way with eight over­all nom­i­na­tions, Drake had seven, and Carlile and pro­ducer Boi-1DA (who has worked with Drake and Cardi B) gar­nered six each. Carlile may be the big­gest sur­prise, with her nom­i­na­tions in three ma­jor cat­e­gories in­clud­ing al­bum of the year as well as song and record of the year (“The Joke”). The singer has re­leased seven well­re­ceived, mu­si­cally eclec­tic al­bums but has never won a Grammy.

The Record­ing Acad­emy con­sid­ered record­ings re­leased be­tween Oct. 1, 2017, and Sept. 30, 2018. The 2019 Grammy Awards will be tele­vised na­tion­ally at 7 p.m. Feb. 10 on CBS.

No­tably ex­cluded from the top cat­e­gories was Swift, who had dom­i­nated the Gram­mys for years. She has gar­nered 10 awards and is the only woman to win al­bum of the year twice. But her chart-top­ping 2017 al­bum, “Rep­u­ta­tion,” was snubbed other than a nom­i­na­tion for best pop vo­cal al­bum. An­other no­table omis­sion from the top cat­e­gories was singer Ari­ana Grande, whose “Sweet­ener” al­bum is shap­ing up as one of the year’s big­gest com­mer­cial suc­cesses.

In the al­ways con­fus­ing best new artist cat­e­gory — which isn’t re­ally about a “new” artist so much as one who may have been ob­scure for years be­fore mak­ing a com­mer­cial im­pact — the nom­i­nees ranged from gen­uine new­com­ers to vet­eran road war­riors who fi­nally broke through.

One of the nom­i­nees is Greta Van Fleet, whose de­but al­bum, “An­them of the Peace­ful Army,” was re­leased too late for Grammy con­sid­er­a­tion, though the Michi­gan band had played fes­ti­vals, in­clud­ing Lol­la­palooza, on the back of a pair of 2017 EP’s and a ma­jor-la­bel mar­ket­ing push. The nom­i­na­tion kept rock artists from be­ing com­pletely shut out in the ma­jor cat­e­gories.

On the flip side of that equa­tion is best new artist nom­i­nee Margo Price, who has been re­leas­ing in­de­pen­dent mu­sic since 2010. The singer fi­nally broke through with “Mid­west Farmer’s Daugh­ter” in 2016 and am­pli­fied that suc­cess with “All Amer­i­can Made” in 2017. If a best new artist nom­i­na­tion can be cat­e­go­rized as

“long over­due,” Price qual­i­fies.

The rest of the best new artist nom­i­nees in­cluded Chloe x Halle, Luke Combs, H.E.R, Dua Lipa, Bebe Rexha and Jorja Smith.

Be­sides Carlile, the record of the year nom­i­nees in­cluded Cardi B, Bad Bunny and J Balvin (“I Like It”); Drake (“God’s Plan”); Child­ish Gam­bino (“This is Amer­ica”); Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper (“Shal­low”); La­mar and SZA (“All the Stars”); Post Malone (“Rock­star”); and Zedd, Maren Mor­ris and Grey (“The Mid­dle”).

For song of the year, the nom­i­nees in­cluded Carlile, plus the song­writ­ers for La­mar and SZA’s “All Stars”; Ella Mai’s “Boo’d Up”; Drake’s “God’s Plan”; Shawn Men­des’ “In My Blood”; Zedd, Maren Mor­ris and Grey’s “The Mid­dle”; Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper’s “Shal­low”; and Child­ish Gam­bino’s “This is Amer­ica.”

TIMOTHY A. CLARY/GETTY-AFP

Kendrick La­mar, per­form­ing at the 2018 Grammy Awards, was nom­i­nated for eight Gram­mys on Fri­day.

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