Few years are as packed for the R&B categories at the Grammys as this one. With releases from some of the top artists in the genre and in music in general, as well as plenty of Grammy darlings in the mix, it looks like plenty of artists will be in for a really lucky one. Let’s take a look at some of the top contenders this year.
You can’t talk about R&B without first talking about Queen Bey. This year Beyonce could compete in the best progressive R&B album with his latest release, “Renaissance”. The album is acclaimed and will easily be the favorite if submitted in R&B (it could be inserted into pop instead). As for song choices, Beyoncé might go for the groovy “Cuff It” or the urban-leaning “Church Girl” for Best R&B Performance, while “Plastic Off The Sofa” seems better suited for Best R&B Performance. traditional. Where and whatever she submits, she is likely to be a great candidate.
Another big contender this year is summer walker. With her latest album, Walker was surprisingly snubbed all over the place, a decision we could perhaps attribute to the R&B Nominations Review Board and not necessarily voters at large. With those signs now gone, Walker will see if voters support her as much as the general public. His second album, “Still Over It”, was acclaimed and a huge commercial success, topping the Billboard 200 album chart.
Walker could compete in Best Progressive R&B Album, or maybe voters will deem this new album a little less hip-hop influenced and put it in Best R&B Album. His SZA collab “No Love” or her city girls-attended “Ex For A Reason” were both R&B radio hits and could serve as excellent submissions for best R&B performance, while Urban AC hit “Unloyal” (alongside Ari Lennox) might just be his ticket to a nomination for Best Traditional R&B Performance. And speaking of SZA, she’ll also be up for grabs with her number one R&B radio hit, “I Hate U.”
Of course, if anyone can sweep this year aside from Beyoncé or Walker, it’s Sonic Silk. As their album “An Evening With Silk Sonic” has drifted somewhat away from public consciousness, the duo of Bruno Mars and Anderson Paak are still big Grammy favorites, and the song’s lead single “Leave the Door Open” swept through the R&B categories earlier this year. Along with an obvious nomination for Best R&B Album and possibly a win, the duo could earn nominations for “Smokin Out the Window” and “Love’s Train,” both major hits on Urban and Urban AC radio.
Another great player who could be in the winning conversation is last year’s champion Lucky Daye. His “Over” became a huge R&B hit and will surely earn a nomination or two. “Candrydrip,” Daye’s latest album, will likely continue its streak of album nominations as well, though it could feature in both Best Progressive R&B Album (like his Grammy-winning effort, “Table for Two “) and in the best R&B album (as his nominated album, “Painted”).
But what about the new faces? Muni long hit it big this year with their top 20 hit “Hrs and Hrs,” which might be one of the most nominated R&B songs of the year. Long is also a renowned songwriter, so perhaps voters will feel inclined to reward her for pursuing her own solo project. “Public Displays of Affection”, Muni’s second EP, could also be nominated. While she is a former candidate with her sister Halle Bailey, Chloe is another new artist making solo music. Her hit “Treat Me” could earn a nomination for Best R&B Performance, especially after being one of the most visible stars of the year. Finally, there’s the famous R&B girl group on TikTok FLOwho caused a sensation with their song “Cardboard Box”.
A number of returning nominees could give big players a hard time. Overlook was one of the most nominated artists last year and may be back with his latest album, ‘Give Or Take’, led by the hit ‘For Tonight’. In the same way, Brent Faiyaz, who has previously been nominated for rap, could earn a nomination for Best Progressive R&B Album for his hit record, “Wasteland.” There is also Steve Lacy, who could compete in Alternative or Progressive R&B. His album, “Gemini Rights”, created a lot of initial buzz and launched the top 10 hit “Bad Habit”, although this song could also be placed in another genre. Lacy will probably send something R&B, maybe the windy “Sunshine” featuring Foushee or “Static”.
Three-time Grammy winner Lizzo is in similar territory, swinging between Pop and Progressive R&B with its “Special” release. Grammy winner Chris Brown may also return this year, with the release of his latest album “Breezy,” which includes the hit “WE” and the HER-assisted “Closure.” Finally there is a winner Ella Maywho achieved great success on R&B radio with his hit “DFMU”, off his album “Heart on My Sleeve”, a possible contender for best R&B album.
Always keep the field favorites in mind. Robert Glasper has been a regular nominee for several years now, so his latest album, “Black Radio III”, could easily be in the top R&B album. Previous editions of “Black Radio” have been nominated, and the first even won. Another light is PJ Morton, whose “Watch The Sun” is one to watch in the best R&B album. keep an eye on john legend as well, which recently won Best R&B Album of 2021. This year, he’s rising for his brand new record, “Legend,” a two-disc album. Last but not least, last year’s double winner Jazmine Sullivan is eligible for the R&B hit “Hurt Me So Good,” as well as his cover of the standard “Sometimes I Feel Like A Motherless Child.”
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