Predictions for the 2018 Grammys

Predictions for the 2018 Grammys

Every year I get excited when the nominees for the Grammys come out. Every year I yearn for my favorite artist to get his/her chance in the spotlight. Every year I get my hopes up with the Grammys but almost every year the celebration just proves how the Recording Academy is barely holding on to their relevance. To be fair they do usually have redeeming nominations every year that makes me wonder if this is the year the Grammys do good. My fantasy is seldom realized (still salty about Meghan Trainor winning best new artist over Courtney Barnett) and validates my assumption of the Recording Academy being your slightly hip but still cringey uncle.


Regardless of my somewhat dissatisfaction with the Grammys, the great representation of hip-hop this year has me excited. Will the Recording Academy finally open their eyes to the changing music landscape and take advantage of it. Only time will tell, but in the meantime here are my picks for this year’s Grammys. As in every All-Star game and EGOT award show alike, there will be snuffs and they will be discussed. Also, there is a giant amount of categories so I will only comment on ones I feel are important enough.


General Field


1. Record of the Year

  • Childish Gambino: “Redbone”

  • Luis Fonsi & Daddy Yankee: “Despacito” [ft. Justin Bieber]

  • JAY-Z: “The Story of O.J”’

  • Kendrick Lamar: “HUMBLE”

  • Bruno Mars: “24k Magic”


Prediction: “HUMBLE”

Sleeper: “The Story of O.J”

"24k Magic" is a pretty safe bet as it encompasses the widest range of age groups and has a pretty killer vocoder rift, "The Story of O.J." could win on artistic integrity alone but the unstoppable cultural force of Kendrick Lamar’s "HUMBLE" will win the day. The massive first single from Lamar’s new album gave him his first solo number one and was a chart force this year. Like "The Story of O.J.", "HUMBLE" brought great lyrics along with a killer beat to millions of ears. Kendrick has had a great year and "HUMBLE" is first proof.


Snuff: Lorde: “Liability”

Some of the best-produced songs I heard this year were very minimal. They played hard towards our emotions and really brought the feels. Many songs could fit this snuff. "Pure Comedy' by Father John Misty and "Real Death" by Mount Eerie were sonically and thematically two of my favorite tracks. Despite this, trends on the charts (which is what the Grammys feed on) gave Lorde a gargantuan year. For this reason, "Liability" is my top snuff for this category.


2. Album of the Year

  • Childish Gambino: "Awaken, My Love!”

  • JAY-Z: 4:44

  • Kendrick Lamar: DAMN

  • Lorde: Melodrama

  • Bruno Mars: 24k Magic


Prediction: DAMN

Sleeper: Melodrama

Quite a stacked showing this year for the album of the year category but it is hard to pick anything over DAMN. I would pick Lorde’s Melodrama as a close second to take this category but it is so hard to tell. JAY-Z/Bruno Mars are both Grammy favorites so I wouldn’t be too surprised by their win but I still would put my money on Kendrick’s monolith of music. Kendrick owned 2017 and the fact that he is one of the most popular artists in the most popular genre of music today gives DAMN a big advantage for the biggest award of the night.


Snuff: Migos: Culture

My heart tells me that Father John Misty (my aoty) got royally snuffed to all hell. My brain tells me there was little to no chance that Pure Comedy would take up one of the precious Album of the Year slots. The one snuff I was really surprised about was Migos’ Culture. 2017 saw an explosion of trap into the mainstream spearheaded by Migos (specifically ‘Bad and Boujee’ memes). Although I didn’t love Culture it is hard to deny the culture that Migos employed in 2017.


3. Song of the Year

  • Luis Fonsi & Daddy Yankee: “Despacito” [ft. Justin Bieber]

  • JAY-Z: “4:44”

  • Julia Michaels: “Issues”

  • Logic: “1-800-273-8255” [ft. Alessia Cara and Khalid]

  • Bruno Mars: “That’s What I Like”


Prediction: “That’s What I Like”

Sleeper: “Issues”


I know Logic’s track has a good chance of taking this (as he is performing it during the show) but I think the crowd-pleasing “That’s What I Like” has a better chance of taking it home. The song is a pretty spectacular jam that you can dance your pants off to. Given that this category is more based on songwriting I would have picked “The Story of O.J.” over “4:44” but JAY-Z could potentially be a sleeper. My ultimate sleeper for this category is the infectious “Issues” by Julia Michaels. While the main refrain seems a bit like lame pop, the overall tone of the song is amazing.


Snuff: Kesha: “Praying”

What is a more moving and  powerful message in 2017 then Kesha’s return to the scene, “Praying.” Although personally “Bastards” is my favorite new Kesha song, there is no doubting the force that Kesha came back within “Praying.” The message is great, the song is great, it’s a snuff.


4. Best New Artist

  • Alessia Cara

  • Khalid

  • Lil Uzi Vert

  • Julia Michaels

  • SZA

Prediction: SZA

Sleeper: Alessia Cara

If we are going off of who made the best music this year, it is not even close. SZA by far had the best album with CTRL but the popularity of all of these artist makes it a bit more difficult to envision her with the award. Julia Michaels did some great writing, Khalid was just kinda Twitter famous, but my super sleeper is Alessia Cara. The number of features she landed this year led her to be all over television. She was on the voice countless times and this could be a safe pick if they are going for someone recognizable to suburban moms.

Snuff: Cardi B

Cardi B is technically ineligible for this award because she had a mixtape in 2016, (“Awaken, My Love!” came out when???) but her enormous impact gestating from a single song deserves some form of recognition. “Bodak Yellow” catapulted Cardi B into the spotlight where she shows no signs of stopping in 2018 and if she was nominated in this category it would be an auto win.



5. 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:

Prediction: “Shape Of You”

Sleeper: “Praying/Million Reasons”

Sadly Ed Sheeran was a behemoth of an artist in 2017 and “Shape Of You” is the most likely choice here. The song spent the most weeks on the Billboard top ten and was the middle school song of the year. The two icons, Lady Gaga and Kesha, both have a slim shot at dethroning the redhead with their two respective emotional performances.

Snuff: Selena Gomez “Bad Liar”

By far one of my favorite pop songs of the year, “Bad Liar” brought outstanding lyrics (courtesy of Julia Michaels) and an incredible bassline. The star power of Selena Gomez makes me wonder how this song got snuffed but it remains a great testament to pop.


6. Best Pop Duo/Group Performance

  • The Chainsmokers & Coldplay: “Something Just Like This”

  • Luis Fonsi & Daddy Yankee: “Despacito” [ft. Justin Bieber]

  • Imagine Dragons: “Thunder”

  • Portugal, The Man: “Feel It Still”

  • Zedd & Alessia Cara: “Stay”

Prediction: “Despacito”

Sleeper: “Feel It Still”

When a song gets played on the radio so much that it entrenches its dismay into our brains there has to be some good quality that got it there right? No, just a Justin Bieber feature alright. Still “Despacito” is too big a song to fail. Chainsmokers could easily swipe this from Biebs and co. but Portugal, The Man’s insatiable “Feel It Still” is my sleeper pick. The balance between the heavy clappy nature of pop songs and raw vocal/instrumental talent is perfect for this great summer jam.


8. Best Pop Vocal Album

  • Coldplay: Kaleidoscope EP

  • Lana Del Rey: Lust For Life

  • Imagine Dragons: Evolve

  • Kesha: Rainbow

  • Lady Gaga: Joanne

  • Ed Sheeran: (Divide)

Prediction: Rainbow

Sleeper: Lust For Life

I’m honestly just crossing my fingers for Mr. Ed Sheeran not to win but that is a large possibility. Rainbow is by far the best album of the bunch (barring maybe Joanne) as Kesha not only drops come back anthems but explores a wide array of the pop landscape. From country to hard rock to ballads, Kesha does all these different sub-genres beautifully. Lust For Life may be a longshot but I think Lana Del Rey has the star power to pull off an upset. Although her album was bloated and back heavy, Lust For Life showed a different, more diverse side of Lana Del Rey.

Snuff: Is Melodrama pop?

Dance/Electronic Music

9. Best Dance Recording

  • Bonobo: “Bambro Koyo Ganda” [ft. Innov Gnawa]

  • CamelPhat & Elderbrook: “Cola”

  • Gorillaz: “Andromeda” [ft. DRAM]

  • LCD Soundsystem: “tonite”

  • ODESZA: “Line Of Sight” [ft. WYNNE]

Prediction: “tonite”

Sleeper: “Andromeda”

LCD Soundsystem’s come back material was fantastic and “tonite” was a highlight. The irony of a dance song criticizing dance songs (up for the best dance recording) isn’t lost on me but it still is a great, glitzy track. The only other solid song from this bunch is one of the lead singles from Gorillaz, “Andromeda.” The DRAM feature I hope would carry the song's popularity but it didn’t make as big of a splash as I had anticipated. The lackluster album from Gorillaz might have worsened my opinion of this song slightly but it still a standout from their new material.



12. Best Rock Performance

  • Leonard Cohen: “You Want It Darker”

  • Chris Cornell: “The Promise”

  • Foo Fighters: “Run”

  • Kaleo: “No Good”

  • Nothing More: “Go To War”

Prediction: “Run”

Sleeper: “You Want It Darker”

Do not doubt the power of the suburban dad. Foo Fighters always have a fighting chance at the Grammys and it would be unwise to underestimate their popularity. Since they just about put out new material every year I find it hard to get fully immersed in it but “Run” was one of the tracks I remember from their latest. What should win by a mile is Leonard Cohen’s chilling performance on “You Want It Darker.” It is becoming a pattern that artist seems to come up with such great material on death’s door and I love seeing both Leonard Cohen and Chris Cornell be recognized for their latest works.

Snuff: Roger Waters: “Deja Vu”

If Cohen gets in for “You Want It Darker” being rock, Roger Water’s anthem against 2017 deserves a spot. The lyrics and Floydian instrumentation on this song is the stuff of legends. The topical/political is what probably made it get snuffed but alas it is a fantastic track.


14. Best Rock Song

  • Metallica: “Atlas, Rise!”

  • K.Flay: “Blood In The Cut”

  • Nothing More: “Go To War”

  • Foo Fighters: “Run”

  • Avenged Sevenfold: “The Stage”

Prediction: I guess Metallica is Rock?

Sleeper: “Run”

Metallica enjoys is part of the Grammys sea of tokens that appear every year to give validity to our lame uncle so “Atlas, Rise!” it is a pretty safe bet. Did I just underestimate suburban dads? Maybe, but it is hard to sweep the rock category I hear so maybe Foo Fighters need to sit this one out. The Grammys have weirdly defined “rock” is the past few years and it gives us lineups like this with almost always Metallica and Foo Fighters.


15. 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

Prediction: Metallica again

Sleeper: A Deeper Understanding

Metallica had quite a successful year and their album, Hardwired… To Self-Destruct, contributed greatly to this. Despite this, it still feels like Metallica is a little out of style but the weird form of rock that the Grammys recognize play perfectly towards legacy hardcore/rock or metal. My sleeper is the best album out of the bunch, A Deeper Understanding, but since I have no idea how The War On Drugs is considered rock, it probably won’t win.

Snuff: Any King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard album

The rock band with the fantastic name of King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard were prolific this year releasing five full-length albums. Many of these could have been nominated in this category. Specifically, Flying Microtonal Banana is a very interesting album and should be recognized.



16. Best Alternative Music Album

  • Arcade Fire: Everything Now

  • Gorillaz: Humanz

  • LCD Soundsystem: American Dream

  • Father John Misty: Pure Comedy

  • The National: Sleep Well Beast

Prediction: Pure Comedy

Sleeper: Everything Now

One of the more competitive categories this year with Grammy favorites like Arcade Fire and LCD Soundsystem. There is no secret how much I love Pure Comedy with its amazing sound and lyrics so I am obviously rooting for it. The stacked nature of the category might lend it more towards a more popular artist like LCD Soundsystem but the Grammy love that Arcade Fire always enjoys makes them my sleeper pick.

Snuff: The xx: I See You

Coming out early in 2017, I See You by The xx, is in every sense of the world alternative. The album creates such a spacious sound with its beautifully done instrumentation that definitely is an egregious snuff.



17. Best R&B Performance

  • Daniel Caesar: “Get You” [ft. Kali Uchis]

  • Kehlani: “Distraction”

  • Ledisi: “High”

  • Bruno Mars: “That’s What I Like”

  • SZA: “The Weekend”

Prediction: “That’s What I Like”

Sleeper: “The Weekend”

Luck for Bruno that is exactly what the Recording Academy likes. There is still an obvious competition between Bruno and SZA and I would love for the academy to give some love to the up and comer. “The Weekend” is a great hoe song or whatever but the mass appeal of Bruno Mars just can’t be beaten.


19. Best R&B Song

  • PJ Morton: “First Began”

  • Khalid: “Location”

  • Childish Gambino: “Redbone”

  • SZA: “Supermodel”

  • Bruno Mars: “That’s What I Like”

Prediction “Supermodel”

Sleeper: “Redbone”

If there is anything that can swipe the Grammy away from Bruno it is my favorite SZA song, “Supermodel.” The droning rift that emanates throughout this song, along with crushing lyrics makes “Supermodel” a stellar song. Bruno is still threatening but popularity/meme power of “Redbone” could push Childish Gambino to a Grammy.


20. Best Urban Contemporary Album

  • 6LACK: Free 6LACK

  • Childish Gambino: “Awaken, My Love!”

  • Khalid: American Teen

  • SZA: Ctrl

  • The Weeknd: Starboy

Prediction: "Awaken, My Love!”

Sleeper: Ctrl

Childish Gambino being in the public eye more than most other artist gives him an advantage in competitions like this. To be fair “Awaken, My Love!” is a great album, but it doesn’t exactly have the power that SZA delivered on Ctrl. Taking stylistic choices from Beyoncé’s Lemonade, SZA creates an anthem of love for the internet age.



22. Best Rap Performance

  • Big Sean: “Bounce Back”

  • Cardi B: “Bodak Yellow”

  • JAY-Z: “4:44”

  • Kendrick Lamar: “HUMBLE”

  • Migos: “Bad and Boujee” [ft. Lil Uzi Vert]

Prediction: “Bodak Yellow”

Sleeper: “Bad and Boujee”

If we are grading songs holistically, “HUMBLE” obviously wins this category, but since we are talking about rap “performance,” it is hard to choose anything but “Bodak Yellow.” Although I think the song is just a tad overrated, Cardi B’s amazing performance created waves throughout the industry. Besides the fact that Lamar and JAY-Z always have a good chance of winning, the meme power and Culture of “Bad and Boujee” could take it. The song launched Migos from rapping the word Versace a million times to international superstars.

Snuff: Tyler, The Creator “Who Dat Boy” [ft. A$AP Rocky]

Besides best rap album, Tyler, The Creator has gotten viciously snubbed in the rap category. His best rap performance has to be his grimy bars on “Who Dat Boy,” the lead single from Flower Boy.


23. Best Rap/Sung Performance


  • Goldlink: “Crew” [ft. Brent Faiyaz & Shy Glizzy]

  • JAY-Z: “Family Feud” [ft. Beyoncé]

  • Kendrick Lamar: “LOYALTY” [ft. Rihanna]

  • SZA: “Love Galore” [ft. Travis Scott]

Prediction: “Family Feud”

Sleeper: “LOYALTY”

The JAY-Z, Beyoncé saga surely won over fans and “Family Feud” seems like a safe pick for this category because of that. Although Ctrl is fantastic I am not a huge fan of “Love Galore” but I could still potentially see it being a dark horse pick. Part of Kendrick Lamar’s journey towards pop rap leads him to a Rihanna feature that blew people away. “LOYALTY” is a DAMN standout and could easily take the award as well.


24. Best Rap Song

  • Cardi B: “Bodak Yellow”

  • Danger Mouse: “Chase Me” [ft. Run The Jewels & Big Boi]

  • Kendrick Lamar: “HUMBLE”

  • Rapsody: “Sassy”

  • JAY-Z: “The Story Of O.J”

Prediction: “HUMBLE”

Ultimate Sleeper: “Chase Me”

Two titans of the Record of the Year duke it out here but once again I think Lamar has the edge. “HUMBLE” was just that good of a song. More interesting is the ultimate sleeper: “Chase Me” the song from Baby Driver would be a hilariously huge upset. It would probably be the first instance of a soundtrack song winning in this category.

Snuff: Tyler, The Creator: “911/Mr. Lonely” [ft. Frank Ocean and Steve Lacy]

The Flower Boy standout, “911/Mr. Lonely” is one of the best rap songs of the year. The lyrics, instrumentation, transition are all done masterfully. What pushes this song above and beyond is that it exemplifies many facets of rap music. Being cocky and introspective at the same time makes for a touching song.


25. Best Rap Album

  • JAY-Z: 4:44

  • Kendrick Lamar: DAMN

  • Migos: Culture

  • Rapsody: Laila’s Wisdom

  • Tyler, The Creator: Flower Boy

Prediction: More hot DAMN

Sleeper: Flower Boy

It is almost too easy for DAMN this year. Receiving universal critical acclaim and having a giant cultural impact, DAMN will win a lot. Migos may swipe this away with Culture but Tyler, The Creator is my sleeper pick. Flower Boy was such a great album and a surprise from Tyler. The instrumentation alone deserve a Grammy but on top of Tyler’s cheeky lyrics, the album is pure gold.

Snuff: Vince Staples: Big Fish Theory

I really don’t know if this would be counted as “51% time of new rap recordings” as Vince Staples is not only advancing rap but dance and house music on his latest. Big Fish Theory still contained tons of bangers like “Yeah Right” while laying a foundation for a future where house rap is a thing.


Happy Jamming!

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2018 Midyear List

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