13 Grammy 2018 facts as hip hop leads the nominations, and Taylor Swift and Ed Sheeran miss out

13 Grammy 2018 facts as hip hop leads the nominations, and Taylor Swift and Ed Sheeran miss out

Get up to speed on the major stories and surprises as we head towards the music industry's biggest annual bash

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Jay-Z leads nominations this year, as hip hop dominates the nods.
Photo: AP

The nominations for the 2018 Grammy Awards were announced yesterday, and the Recording Academy seems to be making up for lost time, giving a majority of nods to hip hop acts. Jay-Z led the Grammy race Tuesday with eight nominations, followed closely by fellow rapper Kendrick Lamar with seven, in a striking embrace of hip-hop for the music industry’s top prizes.

Here are 13 things to know about the latest nominations.

1. This is not #OscarsSoWhite

The Recording Academy is ensuring black or Latino artists will win big at the show next year: only three white acts are nominated in the top four categories.

Black and Latino artists often lose in the top categories, including album of the year and song of the year. This year, those categories are dominated by Jay-Z, Bruno Mars, Childish Gambino, Luis Fonsi, Daddy Yankee and Kendrick Lamar.

Lorde is the only white nominee for album of the year, while Justin Bieber is the only white nominee for record of the year (for his appearance on Despacito). Bieber is nominated again for song of the year, where singer-songwriter Julia Michaels is nominated. Michaels is also the only white nominee in best new artist.

2. Rock ’n’ no

Rock and country acts were shut out of the top four categories of the Grammys, though they have won those top honours in the past.

Two country artists were nominated for best new artist at the 2017 Grammys, and the 2016 show featured a country and rock act nominated for album of the year with Chris Stapleton and Alabama Shakes.


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3. Long live the dear departed

Actress Carrie Fisher and singers Leonard Cohen, Chris Cornell, Glen Campbell and Gregg Allman are among the deceased nominees.

Cohen, who died last year, is up for best rock performance, where Cornell is a nominee, and best American Roots performance, where Campbell is nominated. Allman also scored two nods, including best Americana album and best American Roots song.

Fisher is nominated for best spoken word album, pitting her against Bruce Springsteen.

Linkin Park, which lost its lead singer Chester Bennington, surprisingly didn’t earn a nomination.

4. Maybe next year

Katy Perry's Witness album didn't do as well as expected and she didn't receive a nomination this year.

Katy Perry has scored Grammy nominations consecutively from 2009 to 2015, but this year marks the first album from Perry’s catalogue not to receive a nomination. Witness was released in June and underperformed compared to her previous releases. Though she has yet to win a Grammy, she’s earned 13 career nominations.

Harry Styles, Miley Cyrus and John Mayer also released albums eligible for nominations but didn’t score any.

DJ Khaled, who had a No. 1 album and hit songs this year, didn’t earn a single nomination. J. Cole and Future were also shut out of the rap categories.

Ed Sheeran was snubbed in the top three categories, though he earned nominations for best pop vocal album and best pop solo performance.

Sam Hunt, who set a record for the longest-running No. 1 song on Billboard’s Hot country songs chart with Body Like a Back Road, wasn’t nominated for song or record of the year. He earned nominations for best country song and best country solo performance, though.

Miranda Lambert’s double album, The Weight of These Wings, was snubbed in best country album and album of the year. And though Taylor Swift received two nods, including one for writing a country song, she didn’t receive nominations in song of the year, record of the year and best pop solo performance for her No. 1 hit, Look What You Made Me Do.

Grammy favorites Mary J. Blige, Alicia Keys and John Legend all were shut out of the R&B categories.


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5. Cardi B: the Grammy nominee (poetry!)

Stripper-turned-reality-star-turned-rapper Cardi B is now a Grammy nominee.

The former Love & Hip Hop cast member, who had a No. 1 pop hit this year with Bodak Yellow (Money Moves), is nominated for best rap song and best rap performance.

Female rappers are well-represented this year: Rapsody, who appeared on Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp a Butterfly, is nominated for best rap album and best rap song.

6. Tik Tok: It is Kesha’s time

Despite a plethora of pop hits, Kesha had never earned a Grammy nomination – until now.

The singer, who this year released her first album in five years, has been at war with former mentor and producer Dr Luke, claiming he drugged, sexually abused and psychologically tormented her. Dr Luke denies the allegations.

Rainbow, nominated for best pop vocal album, marks the first time Kesha has created music commercially without Dr Luke.

Kesha is also nominated for best pop solo performance for the piano tune Praying, which includes the lyrics “no more monsters, I can breathe again”.

7. Habla Espanol?

If Despacito were to win the Grammy for song of the year, it would be in extremely rare company. And it could make history as the first Spanish-language song to do so. The last time a non-English-language tune took home the award for that category was at the very first Grammys in 1959, when Domenico Modugno and Franco Migliacci won for Volare, sung in Italian by Modugno.

So a win for Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee's Despacito would send a powerful message that Spanish-language pop songs – not just Latin music in general are a force to be reckoned with. (It’s also nominated for record of the year.)

Now there’s even less of an excuse for Justin Bieber not to know the words.

8. Oh Lorde

Though she earned an album of the year nomination for her sophomore effort, Melodrama, Lorde didn’t earn any other nominations at the Grammys. Most album of the year nominees also earn nods in their genre categories, which would be best pop vocal album for Lorde. She also was shut out of best pop solo performance – her debut single Royals won this category in 2014.


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9. Still rockin n’ rollin

Despite being one of the most celebrated acts in music history, The Rolling Stones have only won two Grammy Awards. The veteran act is nominated this year for best traditional blues album for Blue & Lonesome.

10. Pharrell: The Grammy Phavourite

Pharrell didn’t release a new album, but he’s nominated for three awards.

He’s up for best R&B song for co-writing SZA’s Supermodel and earned two nods for his work on the Hidden Figures soundtrack.

11. Famous faces

Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda got two nominations for his work on Moana.
Photo: AP

Two-time Grammy winner and Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda is nominated twice this year for his work on the Moana soundtrack.

Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane is up for best traditional pop vocal album, where he will compete against Bob Dylan. Bernie Sanders and Mark Ruffalo share a nomination for best spoken word album.

Even Russian President Vladimir Putin’s name is attached to the Grammys: though he’s not nominated, Randy Newman’s satirical ode to him, titled Putin, earned a nomination.


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12. Rockers who pop

Rock band Imagine Dragons, favourites on pop radio, earned nominations for best pop duo/group performance and best pop vocal album.

In the latter category, Coldplay is also a nominee, surprising for a five-song EP.

Alternative rock group Portugal. The Man, who had a huge pop hit this year with Feel It Still, is nominated for best pop duo/group performance.

13. La La Land

Composer Justin Hurwitz, who won two Oscars this year, is nominated for four Grammys thanks to his work on La La Land.

Songwriters Benj Pasek and Justin Paul – who both won the best original song Oscar for City of Stars with Hurwitz – are nominated for two Grammys: one for La La Land and another for best musical theatre album for the Tony Award-winning musical, Dear Evan Hansen. Due to low submissions, the best musical theatre album category only includes three nominees (the other two are Hello, Dolly! and Come From Away).

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