GRAMMY Awards Brings Music to your Ears


By: Evangelos Lekkas, Editor

Every year, the GRAMMY awards are a disappointment. Throughout the past years it’s been unclear whether they vote for the best of the category or the most popular of the category (let’s not forget that in 2014, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’ “The Heist” beat out Kendrick Lamar’s “good kid m.A.A.d. City” for the Best Rap Album).

That being said, this year’s nominees are less disappointing than past years. Despite there being no nominations for Paramore’s new pop sound with “After Laughter,” Harry Styles’ impressive self-titled debut with possible song of the year “Sign of the Times” and “A Tribe Called Quest’s” swan song released late last year, the nominee list is impressive.

Here, I will give my opinion on who I think is going to win each category, and who I want to win each category.


Album of the Year

Childish Gambino — “Awaken, My Love!”

JAY-Z — 4:44

Kendrick Lamar — DAMN.

Lorde — Melodrama

Bruno Mars — 24K Magic

What I Want: This is probably the strongest list of album of the year nominees that I have seen in a long time. I have thoroughly enjoyed all of these albums. However, my favorite has to be “DAMN.” Really, no matter what I’m a happy camper though.

What I Think: The GRAMMYS have never shown much attention to hip hop in this category. After all, the only hip hop albums to ever win this have been Lauryn Hill’s legendary “The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill” and Outkast’s ambitious double album “Speakerboxxx/The Love Below.” Plus, a couple years ago, Kendrick’s album of a lifetime “To Pimp A Butterfly” did lose to the alright Taylor Swift album “1989,” so I doubt that Kendrick’s not as good album this time around will beat the much better pop albums in “24K Magic” and “Melodrama.” This leaves the strongest chance for the award to go to either Lorde or Bruno Mars, and I think Lorde is going to take home the award.

Record of the Year

Childish Gambino — Redbone

Luis Fonsi & Daddy Yankee ft. Justin Bieber — Despacito

JAY-Z — The Story of O.J.

Kendrick Lamar — HUMBLE.

Bruno Mars — 24K Magic

What I Want: Four of the five of these songs are very good, and my favorite is “Redbone.” It has stuck with me ever since I listened to Gambino’s album last year and its use in the movie “Get Out” just helped it more. Plus, props to that song for still being good and relevant more than a year after its release date. I’d be fine with either Jay, Kung Fu Kenny or Bruno getting it, though.

What I Think: It will probably be “Despacito.” God, please don’t let it be “Despacito.”

Song of the Year

Ramón Ayala, Justin Bieber, Jason “Poo Bear” Boyd, Erika Ender, Luis Fonsi & Marty James Garton — Despacito (Luis Fonsi & Daddy Yankee ft. Justin Bieber)

Shawn Carter & Dion Wilson — 4:44 (JAY-Z)

Benny Blanco, Mikkel Storleer Eriksen, Tor Erik Hermansen, Julia Michaels & Justin Drew Tranter — Issues (Julia Michaels)

Alessia Caracciolo, Sir Robert Bryson Hall II, Arjun Ivatury & Khalid Robinson — 1-800-273-8255 (Logic ft. Alessia Cara & Khalid)

Christopher Brody Brown, James Fauntleroy, Philip Lawrence, Bruno Mars, Ray Charles McCullough II, Jeremy Reeves, Ray Romulus & Jonathan Yip — That’s What I Like (Bruno Mars)

What I Want: It’s important to remember that this is an award that goes to the songwriters. Even though I vibe to “That’s What I Like,” that song is more reliant on mood rather than lyrics. JAY-Z’s title track to his newest album is filed with personal bars on bars. It’s not often that we see someone as high caliber as him get so personal about relationships, and it’s definitely something great to listen to.

What I Think: This award will mostly go to Logic due to the strong social subject matter. I’m not a huge Logic fan, but I will be okay if his strongly emotional anti-suicide track takes home record of the year.

Best New Artist

Alessia Cara


Lil Uzi Vert

Julia Michaels


What I Want: Definitely SZA. She came through with a solid debut album and does the most to separate from the pack compared to these other artists. Khalid has some good songs but the other nominees are either middle of the road pop or rap artists that we all could do without.

What I Think: This is a big tossup since the award deserves to go to either SZA or Khalid. However, this is the award which Meghan Trainor won a couple years ago, so I no longer have any faith in it. If Uzi wins I’ll be upset, but I’ll understand if the GRAMMYS go with him or the generic pop sounds of Alessia Cara or Julia Michaels. It’s what’s trending now, I guess.

Best Pop Solo Performance

Kelly Clarkson — Love So Soft

Kesha — Praying

Lady Gaga — Million Reasons

P!nk — What About Us

Ed Sheeran — Shape of You

What I Want: One of the songs I thoroughly enjoy on this list is Lady Gaga’s “Million Reasons.” It was an easy stand out on her new album “Joanne” which had a lot of missed potential but this song hit the mark.

What I Think: I usually expect for Ed Sheeran to win what he’s nominated in. Although “Shape Of You” was very lackluster to my ears, its popularity on the radio is undeniable.

Best Pop Duo/Group Performance

The Chainsmokers & Coldplay — Something Just Like This

Luis Fonsi & Daddy Yankee ft. Justin Bieber — Despacito

Imagine Dragons — Thunder

Portugal. The Man — Feel It Still

Zedd & Alessia Cara — Stay

What I Want: Yes, it’s finally the day when Portugal. The Man is getting some mainstream credit for their work. It took 8 albums for this Alaskan psychedelic rock band and self-proclaimed “Lords of Portland” to get it, but the day is here. “Feel It Still” is an absolute smash of a hit and worthy of all the unexpected success it’s getting.

What I Think: Despacito. Kill me now.

Best Pop Vocal Album

Coldplay — Kaleidoscope EP

Lana Del Rey — Lust for Life

Imagine Dragons — Evolve

Kesha — Rainbow

Lady Gaga — Joanne

Ed Sheeran — ÷ (Divide)

What I Want: Well the main thing I want is for there to be some better pop albums on this list and for an EP to not qualify for album of the year. It looks like I can’t have that so I hope for Kesha since even though I didn’t love her album, it showed a lot of personal growth for the singer. I wouldn’t be too angry with Lady Gaga either since there were some good songs on “Joanne.” Harry Styles’ album is better than all these, however.

What I Think: Most likely Ed Sheeran but I can see Imagine Dragons come home the award.  

Best Rap Performance

Big Sean — Bounce Back

Cardi B — Bodak Yellow

JAY-Z — 4:44

Kendrick Lamar — HUMBLE.

Migos — Bad and Boujee

What I Want: These are all solid songs. All played an important role in hip hop for the last year but my favorite is “HUMBLE.” The smash single and undeniable hit off of “DAMN.” deserves to come home with the award.

What I Think: This can go a lot of ways. Kendrick is usually a sure-fire win for this award, so I have to go with him. However, the GRAMMYS might toss a bone to Cardi B for her milestone single which was the first solo female hip hop song to top the Billboard charts since 1998.

Best Rap/Sung Collaboration


Goldlink ft. Brent Faiyaz & Shy Glizzy — Crew

JAY-Z ft. Beyoncé — Family Feud

Kendrick Lamar ft. Rihanna — LOYALTY.

SZA ft. Travis Scott — Love Galore

What I Want: I’m going to be rooting for the underdog pick here with SZA. Love Galore was a highlight of her great album “CTRL.” Even though I like Kendrick’s song more, I hope SZA wins this.

What I Think: GRAMMYS are most likely going to go with Kendrick for this one. Not only is his performance great on “LOYALTY.,” but Rihanna has a great hook and comes off with a fire rap verse that is very unexpected. That type of starpower is expected to get rewarded.

Best Rap Song

Dieuson Octave, Klenord Raphael, Shaftizm, Jordan Thorpe, Washpoppin & J White — Bodak Yellow (Cardi B)

Judah Bauer, Brian Burton, Hector Delgado, Jaime Meline, Antwan Patton, Michael Render, Russell Simins & Jon Spencer — Chase Me (Danger Mouse ft. Run the Jewels & Big Boi)

Kendrick Lamar Duckworth, Asheton Hogan & M. Williams II — HUMBLE. (Kendrick Lamar)

Gabouer & M. Evans — Sassy (Rapsody)

Shawn Carter & Dion Wilson — The Story of O.J. (JAY-Z)

What I Want: Again, it’s important to remember that this an award based on writing, not performance. That being said, I want JAY-Z to win this one. The lyrics on “The Story of O.J.” are a needed message about race in America.

What I Think: Even though Kendrick can come home with this award, I think that the GRAMMYS will acknowledge hip hop veteran JAY-Z. Especially since the song’s message is as important as ever at this moment.

Best Rap Album

Kendrick Lamar — DAMN.

JAY-Z — 4:44

Migos — Culture

Rapsody — Laila’s Wisdom

Tyler, The Creator — Flower Boy

What I Want: I’m rooting for Tyler, The Creator on this one, hands down. It’s about time that he should get some official credit for his career after starting Odd Future in high school. I’ve always loved his DIY style and it’s fitting that this style blooms fully on an album called “Flower Boy.”

What I Think: Of course, Kung Fu Kenny will probably take this home. However, it’s not unreasonable to think that Migos have a chance for their good album “Culture,” which had many hits and is already having influence on music. Sadly, Tyler is not likely to win.

Best Rock Performance

Leonard Cohen — You Want It Darker

Chris Cornell — The Promise

Foo Fighters — Run

Kaleo — No Good

Nothing More — Go to War

What I Want: This is sadly a disappointing group of nominees as I can think of many other better rock performances. However, I hope that the late and great Leonard Cohen wins as this was a great song released right before his unfortunate death.

What I Think: Foo Fighters. They are a consistent nominee and winner of the rock categories and there’s no reason to think differently now. The only thing that will probably change that is if the GRAMMYS want to go the posthumous route with either Leonard Cohen or Chris Cornell.

Best Rock Song

James Hetfield & Lars Ulrich — Atlas, Rise! (Metallica)

JT Daly & Kristine Flaherty — Blood in the Cut (K. Flay)

Ben Anderson, Jonny Hawkins, Will Hoffman, Daniel Oliver, David Pramik & Mark Vollelunga — Go to War (Nothing More)

Foo Fighters — Run

Zachary Baker, Brian Haner, Matthew Sanders, Jonathan Seward & Brooks Wackerman — The Stage (Avenged Sevenfold)

What I Want: “Atlas, Rise!” is a hard-hitting song that was a highlight on Metallica’s newest album which showed that they still got it. There’s not much else to say about this group of nominees.

What I Think: The GRAMMYS will either choose Metallica or Foo Fighters for this award based on the bands’ reputations alone.

Best Rock Album

Mastodon — Emperor of Sand

Metallica — Hardwired… to Self-Destruct

Nothing More — The Stories We Tell Ourselves

Queens of the Stone Age — Villains

The War on Drugs — A Deeper Understanding

What I Want: It would be great to see Queens of The Stone Age win this award since “Villains” is a good album that is getting recognition. They’ve also never won a GRAMMY despite many nominations and it’s about time that that changes. Shoutout to The War on Drugs getting this nominee, though. They had a good album out this year but it wasn’t as great as “Villains” was.

What I Think: Well, I think that Mastodon and Metallica are metal and shouldn’t be in this category. That being said, it will most likely go to Metallica. They are an established act that have won many GRAMMYS in the past.

Best Alternative Music Album

Arcade Fire — Everything Now

Gorillaz — Humanz

LCD Soundsystem — american dream

Father John Misty — Pure Comedy

The National — Sleep Well Beast

What I Want: This is close, as I thoroughly enjoy all these albums, but “Pure Comedy” has to be my favorite of the bunch. When the second-coming of David Foster Wallace decides to put all his existential thoughts, theories and societal observations into musical form, he better get some attention for that. Plus, the line: “bedding Taylor Swift every night inside the oculus rift,” deserves a GRAMMY by itself.

What I Think: It’s hard to tell since all of these albums mostly appeal to the same type of audience. However, Father John Misty really has a chance to take this home. He exploded in popularity this year, which included an amazing SNL performance and much praise. I would be happy to see Arcade Fire or LCD Soundsystem win also. It wouldn’t be unexpected for either to win, as Arcade Fire won Album of the Year in 2011 and LCD had debatably a bigger year than FJM.

Best R&B Performance

Daniel Caesar ft. Kali Uchis — Get You

Kehlani — Distraction

Ledisi — High

Bruno Mars — That’s What I Like

SZA — The Weekend

What I Want: Even though “The Weekend” is a good song, I am rooting for Bruno Mars on this one. The charm on “That’s What I Like” is undeniable and Bruno deserves a lot of credit for his switching his sound so greatly on this new album yet still sounding great and having strong pop appeal.

What I Think: Bruno Mars will most likely win. Not only is it a great song, but he also has much crossover appeal and past success. It’s easily the most popular song on the nominee list and by now Bruno doesn’t have much to prove.

Best Traditional R&B Performance

The Baylor Project — Laugh and Move On

Childish Gambino — Redbone

Anthony Hamilton ft. The HamilTones — What I’m Feelin’

Ledisi — All the Way

Mali Music — Still

What I Want: “Redbone.” Hands down.

What I Think: “Redbone.” Hands down.

Best R&B Song

PJ Morton — First Began

Alfredo Gonzalez, Olatunji Ige, Samuel David Jiminez, Christopher McClenney, Khalid Robinson & Joshua Scruggs — Location (Khalid)

Donald Glover & Ludwig Goransson — Redbone (Childish Gambino)

Tyran Donaldson, Terrence Henderson, Greg Landfair Jr., Solana Rowe & Pharrell Williams — Supermodel (SZA)

Christopher Brody Brown, James Fauntleroy, Philip Lawrence, Bruno Mars, Ray Charles McCullough II, Jeremy Reeves, Ray Romulus & Jonathan Yip — That’s What I Like (Bruno Mars)

What I Want: I want “Redbone.” I really cannot get enough of that song. Even though “That’s What I Like,” “Location” and “Supermodel” are bops, “Redbone” is really just a timeless tune. I will be jamming out to it in the years to come and I know others will also.

What I Think: I think that it will either be Bruno Mars or Childish Gambino. I can see it as really going both ways on this one, but I’m leaning more to Childish, though. He’s just so much a part of the industry in music and film that he’s likely to get a lot of votes based on that.

Best Urban Contemporary Album

6LACK — Free 6LACK

Childish Gambino — “Awaken, My Love!”

Khalid — American Teen


The Weeknd — Starboy

What I Want: Here we are, at the most racist category. Where black artists are thrown into a category regardless of sound, but just based on their skin tone. That being said, I am hoping that SZA wins mostly because I want to see her win at least one of her nominations, even though I like “‘Awaken, My Love!’” more, SZA really deserves one.

What I Think: I think that the GRAMMYS are going to throw a bone to The Weeknd. He isn’t nominated for anything else but he is a very popular and very loved artist. I’m actually shocked that “Starboy” wasn’t nominated for more. I wasn’t a fan of that album but it was definitely successful sales-wise.

Best R&B Album

Daniel Caesar — Freudian

Ledisi — Let Love Rule

Bruno Mars — 24K Magic

PJ Morton — Gumbo

Musiq Soulchild — Feel the Real

What I Want: I’m hoping that the up and coming Daniel Caesar wins an award. “Freudian” is a great debut record and it would be cool if the GRAMMYS acknowledge that. He’s only 22 and I’m excited to see what the future holds for him.

What I Think: Again, Bruno Mars is most likely to win this based on the quality of the album and his fame.

Best Dance Recording

Bonobo — Bambro Koyo Ganda

Camelphat & Elderbrook — Cola

Gorillaz — Andromeda ft. DRAM

LCD Soundsystem — tonite

Odesza — Line of Sight

What I Want: Yes, Gorillaz and Odesza both made good songs, but this LCD song is just amazing. One of the best off their new album and deserves all the love it gets. Shameless self promotion: read more about my thoughts on that song and LCD’s whole album in my review of “american dream.”

What I Think: This was such a high-profile year for LCD Soundsystem that it’s hard to imagine this award not going to “tonite.”

Best Dance/Electronic Album

Bonobo — Migration

Kraftwerk — 3-D the Catalogue

Mura Masa — Mura Masa

Odesza — A Moment Apart

Sylvan Esso — What Now

What I Want: This is a pretty weak group of nominations, but an obvious choice for me. I want Odesza to win. Seeing Sylvan Esso win would be cool since I like some of their stuff but overall I definitely vibe with Odesza more. “A Moment Apart” was nothing amazing, but still a good dance album.

What I Think: Mura Masa will most likely win after his big year he had. Even though I do not like his self-titled album much, it caused a lot of waves and I know other people liked it a lot more than I did.