Saturday, January 22, 2011

GRAMMY WATCH - Rap Music Categories - Picks & Predictions

I remember when the rap category emerged in the late 1980s and everybody in the industry was thinking it may not last, but a few years. Well, guess what? It is it's own field now with five categories and a lot of the nominees in this field have crossed over into many other fields, including the top four general categories. Eminem is definitely one to watch this year, as he leads all artists with the most nominations (with 10). He has already won a career 11 Grammy Awards in the past and could make a bit of history by getting into the over 20 club. Even if he wins five awards Grammy night, he will be in the elite top ten all-time artists with the most Grammy Award wins. For more on this, check out the article on it at Wikipedia.

Best Rap Solo Performance

My Pick: OVER - Drake (Track from: Thank Me Later) [Cash Money/Young Money/Universal Motown]

My Prediction: NOT AFRAID - Eminem (Track from: Recovery) [Aftermath/Shady Records/Interscope]

Best Rap Performance By A Duo Or Group

My Pick & Prediction: ON TO THE NEXT ONE - Jay-Z & Swizz Beatz (Track from: The Blueprint 3) [Roc Nation]
Best Rap/Sung Collaboration

THREE of the nominees in this category are also nominated for Record of the Year. That has to be historical somehow. This one is so hard to call. I know which one I would vote for, but as to who will actually win - it is a toss up. I based my prediction on how a 'General' voting body of the recording academy may vote. See, voting members of the recording academy vote in the four general categories and can vote in up to no more than eight (8) of the 29 fields of music. So, let's say I were a voting member of the Academy. My field of expertise is Spoken Word, but I have also dabbled in a bit of music theory and know a thing or two about other fields of music. So I would vote for the top four general categories and my field of Spoken Word, but I would also be able to vote in Pop, Rap, R&B, Classical, Production, etc. up to seven more fields. So, honey, someone from Streisand to Swizz Beatz could vote from Pop to Rap to Country to Gospel in two seconds flat - so, I had to really think that process through when predicting this category (and some other ones too) . So, keep that in mind before complaining, if one of your favorite artists doesn't win come Awards night.

My Pick: EMPIRE STATE OF MIND - Jay-Z & Alicia Keys (Track from: The Blueprint 3
[Roc Nation]

My Prediction: LOVE THE WAY YOU LIE - Eminem & Rihanna (Track from: Recovery)
[Aftermath/Shady Records/Interscope]
BUT, part of me thinks Nothin' On You, too...ugh... lol - see what I mean? Ha!

Best Rap Song

My Pick: EMPIRE STATE OF MIND - Shawn Carter, Angela Hunte, Burt Keyes, Alicia Keys, Jane't "Jnay" Sewell-Ulepic & Alexander Shuckburgh, songwriters
(Sylvia Robinson, songwriter) (Jay-Z & Alicia Keys) (Track from: The Blueprint 3)
[Roc Nation; Publishers: Carter Boys Music/Al Shuckburgh/Global Talent Publishing/Foray Music/Masani Elshabazz Music/EMI April Music/J Sewell Publishing/Lellow
Productions/Twenty Nine Black Music/Gambi Music]

My Prediction: LOVE THE WAY YOU LIE - Alexander Grant, Holly Hafferman & Marshall Mathers, songwriters (Eminem & Rihanna) (Track from: Recovery) [Aftermath/Shady Records/Interscope; Publishers: Songs of Universal/Shroom Shady Music/Universal Music
Publishing/Universal Music-Z Songs/Hotel Bravo Music/M. Shop Publishing]
Love the Way You Lie is the only song in this category nominated for Song of the Year, so it seems logical to think it will win here. However, two songs by Eminem from his Recover album are nominated in this category. He may cancel himself out. It is too bad because Not Afraid seems like such an anthem to me. Nothin' On You could also rain on his parade here too. Something about the pop feel to that tune makes me think it will resonate with more Academy voters. These rap cats will be close though, throughout - and I love it. It says a lot about a music genre that so many were so against early on.

Best Rap Album

My Pick: HOW I GOT OVER - The Roots [Def Jam Recordings]

Hey, what can I say? Jimmy Fallon's late night gab fest is one of my favorite shows and The Roots do so well as his band. I gotta show them some love. Just plain, good BAND music. Love them for their style. They truly have their own sound that sets them apart from their contemporaries, but let;s face it... We know there is a shoo-in in this category hands down...

My Prediction: RECOVERY - Eminem [Aftermath/Shady Records/Interscope]

Only Jay-Z could pull an upset here, and it would be deservedly so.
The 53rd Annual Grammy Awards will be telecast live on Sunday, February 13, 2011 on CBS at 8pm, EST. For complete coverage and a full list of nominees, please visit the Grammy website.

GRAMMY WATCH - New Age & Jazz Music Categories

My pre- Grammy Award coverage gets jazzed up! Ha. Some fine, fabulous and beloved artists are always in these categories. Again, very competitive this year, but with all the veteran musicians in this field of music, I would expect nothing less. So, grab a nice glass of wine and check out some of these recordings - and chill out!

Best New Age Album

Kitaro's music is just about as close to heaven one can get, musically.

My Pick & Prediction: SACRED JOURNEY OF KU-KAI, VOLUME 4 - Kitaro
[Domo Records] (pictured, CREDIT TO THE PHOTOGRAPHER)

Best Contemporary Jazz Album

My Pick & Prediction: THE STANLEY CLARKE BAND - The Stanley Clarke Band
[Heads Up International]
FYI - Jeff Lorber Fusion may give Stanley a run for his money though.

Best Jazz Vocal Album

My Pick & Prediction: ELEANORA FAGAN (1915-1959): TO BILLIE WITH LOVE
FROM DEE DEE - Dee Dee Bridgewater [Emarcy]

Ms. Bridgewater has kinda owned this category in recent years, after many years of being nominated without wins. Now that she has been winning, I think she has this one in the bag - and deservedly so.

Best Improvised Jazz Solo

What a battle we are in for! Just sayin'.

My Pick: A CHANGE IS GONNA COME - Herbie Hancock, soloist Track from: The Imagine Project [Hancock Records]

My Prediction: VAN GOGH - Wynton Marsalis, soloist Track from: Portrait In Seven Shades (Jazz At Lincoln Center Orchestra) [Jazz At Lincoln Center]

Best Jazz Instrumental Album, Individual or Group

My Pick & Prediction: MOODY 4B - James Moody [IPO Recordings]

Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album

My Pick & Prediction: 54 - Metropole Orkest, John Scofield & Vince Mendoza

Best Latin Jazz Album

My Pick & Prediction: CHUCHO'S STEPS - Chucho Valdés And The Afro-Cuban Messengers
[Four Quarters Entertainment]

The 53rd Annual Grammy Awards will be telecast live on Sunday, February 13, 2011 on CBS at 8pm, EST. For complete coverage and a full list of nominees, please visit the Grammy website.

GRAMMY WATCH: Gospel Categories - Picks & Predictions

Traditionally crossover artists have fared very well in the Gospel categories like Amy Grant, Bebe & Cece Winans, Shirley Caesar, Ricky Skaggs and Lalah Hathaway - all nominees this year (some multiple times) and all with storied, well traveled careers. It should be a big night for these and other Gospel music artists. Praise God, it was a banner year!

Best Gospel Performance

My Pick: HE'S BEEN JUST THAT GOOD - Kirk Whalum & Lalah Hathaway Track from: The Gospel According To Jazz Chapter III [Rendezvous Music/ Mack Avenue Records]

My Prediction: GRACE - BeBe & CeCe Winans Track from: Still [B&C/Malaco]

Best Gospel Song

My Pick: IT'S WHAT I DO - Jerry Peters & Kirk Whalum, songwriters (Kirk Whalum &
Lalah Hathaway) Track from: The Gospel According To Jazz Chapter III [Rendezvous Music/ Mack Avenue Records; Publishers: Whalumusic/Jerry Peters Music]

My Prediction: RETURN TO SENDER - Gordon Kennedy, songwriter (Ricky Skaggs)
Track from: Mosaic [Skaggs Family Records; Publishers]

Best Rock Or Rap Gospel Album

My Pick: CHURCH MUSIC - David Crowder Band [Sparrow Records / Sixstepsrecords]

My Prediction: BEAUTIFUL THINGS - Gungor [Brash Music]

Best Pop/Contemporary Gospel Album

My Pick & Prediction: MOSAIC - Ricky Skaggs [Skaggs Family Records]

Best Southern, Country, Or Bluegrass Gospel Album

My Pick & Prediction: THE REASON - Diamond Rio [Word]

Although I liked Ty Herndon's Journey On too - it will be very close I think.

Best Traditional Gospel Album

This is a very competitive category this year, probably one of the most competitive one's in this category. Back in the day, Shirley Caesar was unbeatable and she is always my favorite. That being said, I think she may be sitting this one out.

My Pick: A CITY CALLED HEAVEN - Shirley Caesar [Light Records]

My Prediction: HERE I AM - Marvin Sapp [Verity]

Best Contemporary R&B Gospel Album

My Pick & Prediction: STILL - BeBe & CeCe Winans [B&C/Malaco]

The 53rd Annual Grammy Awards will be telecast live on Sunday, February 13, 2011 on CBS at 8pm, EST. For complete coverage and a full list of nominees, please visit the Grammy website.

GRAMMY WATCH - Latin Music Categories - Picks & Predictions

While I personally don't understand, or perhaps do not agree with NARAS continuous inclusion of the Latin music categories for the regular Grammy Awards (since they have a Latin wing to the recording academy now that also present the Latin Grammy Awards), the fact remains these categories still exist. So, here goes with my picks and predictions in these categories. It just seems like the Latin artists get to double dip every year now and I don't understand why they branched off in the first place, other than to pull more money out of it's membership and advertisers to have a separate awards show for this particular wing.

Best Latin Pop Album

My Pick & Prediction:

PARAISO EXPRESS - Alejandro Sanz [Warner Music Latina] (pictured)

Best Latin Rock, Alternative Or Urban Album

My Pick: 1977 - Ana Tijoux [Nacional Redcords]

My Prediction: BULEVAR 2000 - Nortec Collective Presents: Bostich+Fussible
[Nacional Records]

Best Tropical Latin Album

My Pick: VIVA LA TRADICIÓN - Spanish Harlem Orchestra [Concord Picante]

My Prediction: IRREPETIBLE - Gilberto Santa Rosa [Sony Music Latin]

Best Tejano Album

My Pick: COOKIN - Tortilla Factory [Tortilla Records]

My Prediction: RECUERDOS - Little Joe & La Familia [TDI Records]

Best Norteño Album

My Pick: CLASSIC - Intocable [Sony Music Latin]

My Prediction: INDISPENSABLE - Angel Fresnillo [Disa Universal Music]

Best Banda Album

My Pick & Prediction: CON LA FUERZA DEL CORRIDO - El Chapo [Disa Universal]

The 53rd Annual Grammy Awards will be broadcast live on Sunday, February 13, 2011 on CBS at 8pm, EST. For complete coverage and full list of nominees, please visit the Grammy website.

Friday, January 21, 2011

GRAMMY WATCH: Americana and Bluegrass Categories (American Roots) - Picks & Predictions

This weekend, I will be resuming my pre-Grammy Awards coverage with my picks and predictions in ALL categories. I have done this for many years and am finally doing it on my blog. Last year, I waited till the last minute, got the flu day of the Awards and totally could not finish the task. There is so much music out there and I embrace it all. This year's Americana category has five great nominees Rosanne Cash, Los Lobos, Willie Nelson, Robert Plant and Mavis Staples. It has to be one of the most competitive categories this year. Holy canoli!

Best Americana Album

My Pick: COUNTRY MUSIC - Willie Nelson [Rounder]

My Prediction: BAND OF JOY - Robert Plant [Rounder]

Best Bluegrass Album

My Pick & Prediction:
MOUNTAIN SOUL II - Patty Loveless [Saguaro Road]

The 53rd Annual Grammy Awards will be telecast live on CBS on Sunday, February 13 at 8pm, EST. For complete coverage and list of nominees, please visit the Grammy website.