Nominees: Ingrid Andress, Phoebe Bridgers, Chika, Noah Cyrus, D Smoke, Doja Cat, Kaytranada, Megan Thee Stallion
Who will win: Megan Thee Stallion
The Best New Artist award is going to cap off Megan Thee Stallion’s incredible breakthrough run. This is a category that’s held a clear frontrunner in year’s past. Dua Lipa’s 2019 win was a lock and while Billie’s crazy haul in 2020 was semi-surprising, her winning Best New Artist was assumed. Megan is this year’s frontrunner. With her Suga tape, her Houston linkup hit with Beyonce “Savage (Remix),” and the massive numbers put up with “WAP,” it’s tough to see this award going to anyone else. It’s fair to categorize Good News as a misstep, but lucky (at least in this context) for Megan, it was released well after the eligibility cutoff date so voters will choose to ignore it. The only other act in this category that’s in Megan’s sphere commercially (and for what it’s worth, actually surpasses her in Spotify monthly listeners) is Doja Cat. You might be thinking that the Grammys has a history of snubbing a popular artist for someone more unknown (see: Beck) and you’d be right—but not with this category. Over the past decade, the winners have been, for the most part, artists with sizable hits to their name and often the most popular artist in the category (2018 and 2012 are big exceptions here). Sunday night continues the trend.
Who should win: Megan Thee Stallion
There are plenty of deserving people in this category and the decision to increase the amount of nominees to eight is a good one, if only to allow more talented musicians to be recognized for their work. As mentioned, Doja Cat has hits that are everywhere you go and is probably the closest to upsetting Megan on Sunday. Phoebe Bridgers will almost certainly pick up some hardware in rock and alternative categories after a breakout 2020 in which she released the masterful Punisher. Alabama rapper Chika’s debut album Industry Games is bold and creative, flipping old tropes to talk about matters like imposter syndrome. I could go on and on. However, Megan’s been a force to be reckoned with ever since Tina Snow and has proven her ability to both rap rap and deliver mainstream hits. She had two of the best songs of 2020. Her success should be, and will be, rewarded. —Waiss Aramesh