Another year, another Grammy Awards ceremony. From the hip-hop and R&B side of things, this time of year is always a rocky one. When inspecting the history of the coveted prize program, artists who work within genres that don’t fall into conventionally respected territories—classical, rock, Americana, etc.—tend to not be awarded in a way that makes sense. (The Grammys will never be able to live down the fact that they awarded Macklemore over Kendrick Lamar for Best Rap Album in 2014.)
To put it frankly: Do we really trust the Recording Academy to do the right thing? By all accounts, it seems that, especially in the past year, they’ve been trying to change gears. First, they assembled a “diversity and inclusion task force,” to examine “barriers and biases affecting women and other underrepresented voices in the music industry.” Then they trotted out beloved performers like Cardi B and Travis Scott at this year’s show.
That said, the Academy’s concerted efforts might be too little, too late: It was just announced this week that Kendrick Lamar, Drake, and Childish Gambino all turned down opportunities to perform this coming Sunday. But none of that takes away from the fact that winning Grammys still equals success in the music industry. Period.
So, who will the lucky winners be at the Grammys in 2019? Read on to see who we think will win, who we think should win, and who we think could defy all odds and take home the hardware.