“This is an exciting year for music” is probably an oft-recycled and overly positive way to start this article because it’s true every year, but I’m going to do it anyway. This is an exciting year for music.
An entirely Spanish-language album is nominated for Album of the Year for the first time in history, several consistent and truly talented figures across Baile funk, pop, and R&B are nominated for Best New Artist, the greatest rapper of his generation returns triumphant with a shot at a sweep this year with eight noms, and votes are coming in from a more diversified body of Academy members. Plus, it’s hip-hop’s 50th anniversary this year, and a substantial tribute is in the works.
The Grammys haven’t always gotten it right, and it’s likely that there will be some missed again this year, but in an ideal world, who should take home a gramophone this weekend? And, in reality—based on past patterns—who actually will? Our opinions and predictions, below.