Dissecting the 51st Annual Grammy Award Nominations: Who ‘Should’ Win? Who ‘Will’ Win?

jhud-neyo-jaz-weezy.jpgThe Grammy Awards are like a family reunion, complete with party crashing
cousins who no one really wanted to invite anyway, embittered elders
who smile condescendingly at all their good-for-nothing progeny, and
people make fools of themselves but no one says it to their faces but gossip relentlessly the next day. With statuettes. It is that
time for us SoulBounce Editors to momentarily put aside our
ambivalence about the Grammy Awards and give you our predictions on
the categories most relevant to us. Ha. Grammys...relevant. Check out our
predictions about who should and will win this weekend after the bounce. And be sure to come back to SoulBounce on Sunday night at 8 pm EST when Butta takes one for the team and live blogs all the joy and pain of the Grammy Awards on Twitter with the live feed also filtering in right here.

jennifer_hudson_derek_blanks.jpgBest Female R&B Vocal Performance

  • "Me, Myself and I" Beyoncé
  • "Heaven Sent" Keyshia Cole
  • "Spotlight" Jennifer Hudson
  • "Superwoman" Alicia Keys
  • "Need U Bad" Jazmine Sullivan

Butta says: Why is Beyoncé nominated for "Me, Myself and I"? Good Lord.
As far as the best performance is concerned, Jazmine should win no
doubt. However, I think that this is Jennifer Hudson's year to sweep,
whether deserved or not. 
Harlem says: There was too much hype around Jenny's album for her not
to get this award. And the combination of her and Ne-Yo might be too
much to ignore. In a perfect world, it'd be Jazzy.
ill Mami says: I love "Me, Myself and I," but they need to stop with
this nomination. It's eons old. I'm hoping Jazmine wins only because
she was nominated for several awards and should win over Alicia Keys,
Keyshia, and Jennifer.
nOva says: Jazmine should win. The Grammys have taught us that Alicia will win, but J-Hud might get it.
Ro says: I am...Sasha's Seconds. This category belongs to Jazmine
Sullivan. I wouldn't be surprised if either Alicia or Jennifer walked
away with it, though.

eric_benet_headshot.jpgBest Male R&B Vocal Performance

  • "You're The Only One" Eric Benét
  • "Take You Down" Chris Brown
  • "Miss Independent" Ne-Yo
  • "Can't Help But Wait" Trey Songz
  • "Here I Stand" Usher

Butta says: Yes, Eric Benét, "You're the Only One" who should win this
award. Couldn't resist. But methinks Ne-Yo or Usher will win.
Harlem says: Not sure the Academy can resist a sweeping ballad, especially one by Usher. My vote would be for Eric Benet.
ill Mami says: I liked this Eric Benét song, but someone who irritates me like Ne-Yo will probably win.
nOva says: "Here I Stand," out of all the songs on Usher's last
release, is the most Grammy-worthy. But I have feeling a Ne-Yo will win.
Ro says: "You're The Only One" is the best out of the bunch, but Ne-Yo will win.

anthony_david_headshot.jpgBest R&B Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocals

  • "Ribbon In The Sky" Boyz II Men
  • "Words" Anthony David feat. India.Arie
  • "Stay With Me (By The Sea)" Al Green feat. John Legend
  • "I'm His Only Woman" Jennifer Hudson feat. Fantasia
  • "Never Give You Up" Raphael Saadiq feat. Stevie Wonder and CJ Hilton

Butta says: I would be cool if four of these songs took the award, but
would lose my Sunday brunch if that mess of a song by Jennifer Hudson and Fantasia won, which they probably will. Blech! As far as who
should win, I'm going with Anthony David and India.Arie or Raphael et
al. Both songs are pure perfection. If there's any justice in the
world, that will be the outcome.
Harlem says: Saadiq and Stevie should win, but I really wouldn't be mad
if our homeslices Anthony and India walked away with a statuette.
ill Mami says: I love this Al Green song and had it on repeat pretty steadily. "Stay With Me (By The Sea)" gets my vote.
nOva says: This category is unreasonably difficult because all deserve
to win, except for that shouty J-Hud and Fanty song which, based on my
luck with popular music appreciation, will take the award. There's no
Ro says: The three I think most deserve to win here probably won't, and
I'm going to say "Words" just as a dream. This one is going to Jennifer
and Fantasia just to spite me.

chrisette_michele_headshot.jpgBest Urban/Alternative Performance

  • "Say Goodbye To Love" Kenna
  • "Wanna Be" Maiysha
  • "Be OK" Chrisette Michelle feat.
  • "Many Moons" Janelle Monae
  • "Loving You (Music)" Wayna feat. Kokayi

Butta says: First of all, Chrisette is in the wrong category, but
whatev. For a true Urban/Alternative performance, I think that Maiysha
should win. But Chrisette will take this one home.
Harlem says: Maiysha, Maiysha, Maiysha! With that said, Congratulations, Chrisette! Heh.
ill Mami says: I kind of wish there was a bit more variety in this
category, although these are some good picks, but not my favorites.
I'll go with Janelle Monae. Maybe Diddy will pull some strings for her.
nOva says: I think Chrisette should and will. I love all the other nominations but Chrisette is a beast.
Ro says: Janelle Monae or Maiysha would be acceptable winners here,
with more likelihood that the former could take it home. But I agree
that Chrisette should and will win.

ne-yo_headshot.jpgBest R&B Song (A Songwriter(s) Award)

  • "Bust Your Windows" Salaam Remi & Jazmine Sullivan, songwriters (Deandre Way, songwriter) (Jazmine Sullivan)
  • "Customer" I.Barias, Raheem DeVaughn, C. Haggins, K. Oliver & Johnnie Smith, songwriters (Raheem DeVaughn)
  • "Heaven Sent" Keyshia Cole, Jason Farmer & Alex Francis, songwriters (Keyshia Cole)
  • "Miss Independent" Mikkel S. Eriksen, T.E. Hermansen & S. Smith, songwriters (Ne-Yo)
  • "Spotlight" Mikkel S. Eriksen, T.E. Hermansen & S. Smith, songwriters (Jennifer Hudson)

Butta says: Should win? "Bust Your Windows" or "Customer." Loved those
two tracks. Will win? I'm thinking "Spotlight," which I totally
wouldn't be mad at.
Harlem says: Since I really feel that Usher will win for performance,
this is where Ne-Yo gets his. And since he's a writer first and
foremost anyway, this fits. Ladies, stand up! "Miss Independent" for
the win.
ill Mami says: I have no idea what these songs even are. I'll close my
eyes and pick "Miss Independent" only because Ne-Yo is loved by the
industry and Pop radio.
nOva says: How funny would it be if a song that promotes destroying
someone's property wins? But "Bust Your Windows" should. I have a
feeling "Spotlight" will take it.
Ro says: Ne-Yo rules this category. Maybe "Spotlight" should take this, but I'm going with "Miss Independent."

jazmine_sullivan_headshot.jpgBest Traditional R&B Vocal Performance

  • "A Change Is Gonna Come" Wayne Brady
  • "You've Got The Love I Need" Al Green feat. Anthony Hamilton
  • "Baby I Know" Linda Jones with Helen Bruner & Terry Jones
  • "Love That Girl" Raphael Saadiq
  • "In Love With Another Man" Jazmine Sullivan

Butta says: Real talk, don't sleep on that Wayne Brady album. I
have to say that his version of "A Change Is Gonna Come" is one of the
best I've heard. Props for WB aside, I think that Jazmine should win,
but Al Green will get the nostalgic vote.
Harlem says: My gut says Wayne Brady. And while I love, love, love Jazmine, my vote would go for Al and Ant.
ill Mami says: This is a hard pick. This category is split between those
who the industry loves and those who deserve to win. I vote for Al
Green & Anthony Hamilton mainly because they sounded "traditonal"
on this track.
nOva says: Thank GOD for this anti-bubblegum category! Randomly,
Jazmine should and Wayne will. I'll be happy however this turns out.
Ro says: I think Raphael Saadiq will win here because he won't (but
should) win for best R&B Album and this is the concession. Should
win? Jazmine.

al_green_headshot.jpgBest R&B Album

  • Love & Life Eric Benét
  • Motown: A Journey Through Hitsville USA Boyz II Men
  • Lay It Down Al Green
  • Jennifer Hudson Jennifer Hudson
  • The Way I See It Raphael Saadiq

Butta says: This category gives me fever! Either Eric or Raphael should
take this home, but ultimately I think that Al Green will. Although it
wouldn't shock me if Jennifer got the sympathy vote.
Harlem says: I think this goes to Al Green. That's all I got.
ill Mami saysBest
R&B Album should be chosen between Al Green and Raphael Saadiq.
That's a tough call. Raphael might have a shot, but those voting on
these awards stan for Al. Plus, he's a living legend, and his album was
a great mix of contemporary and vintage, as was Raphael's. I vote for

nOva says: I would love to see Ray win this, but I can see Jennifer taking it home. 
Ro says: Either Jennifer Hudson or Al Green will probably win this even
though I'm uncertain about Jennifer's inclusion here. Boyz II Men did a
bang up job on that album and get my nostaligic vote.

mary_j_blige_headshot.jpgBest Contemporary R&B Album

  • Growing Pains Mary J. Blige
  • Back of My Lac' J. Holiday
  • First Love Karina Pasian
  • Year Of The Gentleman Ne-Yo
  • Fearless Jazmine Sullivan

Butta says: Basically this is a three-way race between MJB, Ne-Yo and
Jazzy (sorry J. & Karina, thems the breaks). I think that Mary
should and will win; Growing Pains is the strongest album of the lot.
Harlem says: I think Ne-Yo has a shot here, but ultimately Mary J. will take it.
ill Mami says: I haven't
heard any of these albums in the Best Contemporary R&B Album
category. I will blame the alternative lane I tend to cruise in most of
the time. I'll pick Jazmine Sullivan mainly because everyone seems to
be saying great things about her album. Mary, industry darling that she
is, will be the one to beat.

nOva says: I want Mary to take this one. Ne-Yo will probably win. If J. holiday wins, I'm unplugging the Internet!
Ro says: I doubt Jazmine has a shot at this because Mary is so strong, but I'm going with Ne-Yo here. Mary should win.

lupe_fiasco_headshot.jpgBest Rap Solo Performance

  • "Roc Boys (And The Winner Is)..." Jay-Z
  • "A Milli" Lil Wayne
  • "Paris, Tokyo" Lupe Fiasco
  • "N.i.*.*.e.r. (The Slave And The Master)" Nas
  • "Sexual Eruption" Snoop Dogg

Butta says: I think that Jigga or Lupe should take it home. As far as who will, I'm thinking Lil Wayne. Le sigh.
Harlem says: I know Brooklyn goes hard. I just hope they don't have
hard feelings when Wayne takes the prize. Sorry, Jay. Nothing would
thrill me more than to read the transcript that says, "And the winner
is... Roc Boys (And The Winner Is)." It'd be classic.
ill Mami saysI
like Lupe for Best Rap Solo Performance for his "Paris, Tokyo" joint. I
don't really roll hard with him like that, but I feel that he may be
the viable candidate to actually win this category. Nas, however,
doesn't have chance in Hell.

nOva says: Ain't no way in HELL Nas is winning with that controversial
stuff! As far as sheer enjoyment and chops, my personal vote goes to
Hova, but I think Lil' Wayne will win because it's cool for Lil' Wayne
to win things these days.
Ro says: "Paris, Tokyo" annoys me the least on this list, so yeah. How could "A Milli" not win, though?

jay-z_headshot.jpgBest Rap Performance By A Duo Or Group

  • "Royal Flush" Big Boi feat. Raekown & Andre 3000
  • "Swagga Like Us" Jay-Z & T.I. feat. Kanye West & Lil Wayne
  • "Mr. Carter" Lil Wayne feat. Jay-Z
  • "Wish You Would" Ludacris feat. T.I.
  • "Put On" Young Jeezy feat. Kanye West

Butta says: So I've only heard three of these songs, and I'm fine with
that. I'd be surprised if "Royal Flush" won, but that's my personal fave
from this list. I think that "Swagga Like Us" got this, though.
Harlem says: No one at the Grammys got enough "swagga" to keep "Swagga" from winning this.
ill Mami saysBest Rap Solo Performance By A Duo needs to go to the folks who brought us "Royal Flush."
Outkast & Raekwon who once again show us that three is not a crowd
and can create musical gold once again after the loveliness that was
"Skew It On The Bar-B."

nOva says: "Swagga Like Us" should and will, played out as it is.
Ro says: I hope the acceptance speech for "Swagga Like Us" is as
hilarious as I envision it will be. Bonus laughs if Kanye is still
rocking the mullet and Jay-Z is still wearing the military-issue specs.

john_legend_headshot.jpgBest Rap/Sung Collaboration

  • "American Boy" Estelle feat. Kanye West
  • "Low" Flo Rida feat. T-Pain
  • "Green Light" John Legend & Andre 3000
  • "Got Money" Lil Wayne feat. T-Pain
  • "Superstar" Lupe Fiasco feat. Matthew Santos

Butta says: This is tough for me because two songs on my Best of 2008
playlist are going head to head ("American Boy" and "Green Light" lest
you got it twisted), but I'd love to see John & Andre 3000 take it
home. I think that "American Boy" will come out on top, though.
Harlem says: I'd love it if Dre and his rambling a** helps Legend win
this one. Although I'd love it if they televised this award and
"American Boy" won, leading Kanye to grab the mic during the acceptance
speech and wig out for not getting any nods for his own work. Can this
happen? Please?
ill Mami says: This is a category of songs that I am unfamiliar with. The "Green
Light" song was tolerable as was "Superstar" with Lupe Fiasco. I'll go
with Lupe's joint since it seemed to be everywhere. But this one will
likely go to "Low" Flo Rida feat. T-Pain. Ick.
nOva says: Yikes. Where do I begin? I enjoyed "American Boy" the most
out of these songs, but I like John Legend and Andre more as artists.
Toss up between those two. But one of the remaining garbagey songs in
this category will take it home, most likely.
Ro says: It's a definite toss up between "American Boy" and "Green
Light" for me. I predict that next year The Recording Academy will
officially add Best Ringtone as a category, which will be the perfect justification for nominating "Low" for anything.

Best Rap Song (A Songwriter(s) Award)

  • "Lollipop" D. Carter, S. Garrett, D. Harrison, J. Scheffer & R. Zamor, songwriters (Lil Wayne feat. Static Major)
  • "Low" Tramar Dillard, M. Humphrey, Faheem Najm, Korey Roberson & Howard Simmons, songwriters (Flo Rida feat. T-Pain)
  • "Sexual Eruption" Calvin Broadus, S. Lovejoy & D. Stewart, songwriters (Snoop Dogg)
  • "Superstar" Lupe Fiasco & Soundtrakk, songwriters (Lupe Fiasco Feat. Matthew Santos)
  • "Swagga Like Us" Jeff Bhaskev, D. Carter, S. Carter, Clifford Harris,
    Plain Pat & Kanye West, Songwriters (M. Arulpragasam, N. Headon, M.
    Jones, J. Mellor, T. Pentz & P. Simonon, songwriters) (Jay-Z &
    T.I. feat. Kanye West & Lil Wayne)

Butta says: From a lyrical standpoint, I think that Lupe's "Superstar"
should win. From an Academy-members-probably-drank-the-Kool-Aid
standpoint, "Swagga Like Us" will take it home. If "Low" wins I'm
moving to a different planet. How's the real estate on Mars?
Harlem says: OK, I'll go with "Superstar" for the win. I like that song.
ill Mami saysBest
Rap Song should undoubtedly go to "Sexual Eruption" which had me
feening for a Snoop album like it was 1994. Fortunately, the best cut
off the album was this gem. And the video?
Oh my God! Genius all the way down to the faux betamax skips on the
tape. This was also a great example of Auto-Tune used properly which I
can't say for the rest of the nominees. 

nOva says: "Swagga" should and will. Everyone shined on that track to some degree.
Ro says: Why is Snoop here? Boo, Calvin. "Swagga Like Us" should and will win.

lil_wayne_crop.jpgBest Rap Album

  • American Gangster Jay-Z
  • Tha Carter III Lil Wayne
  • The Cool Lupe Fiasco
  • Nas Nas
  • Paper Trail T.I.

Butta says: I haven't heard any of these albums in their entirety, so I
don't know who should win in that regard. It pains me that Lil Wayne
probably will win, though. Hobgoblins are the new black.
Harlem says: I'm pretty sure T.I. won't win, since they don't allow
statuettes in prison (the whole conjugal visit rule and all), so Tha
Carter III
it is. Um, yay.
ill Mami saysBest Rap Album should go to Jay-Z, point blank. Period. It was a great album, and the remixes it spawned were equally as great. Nigerian Gangster and Reasonable Gangster still get 'nuff play on the iPod.
nOva says: American Gangster should. Tha Carter III will.
Ro says: Weezy has this in the bag, but I think The Cool is my favorite out of this bunch. The only one who can give chase is T.I., so he might cause an upset.

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8 Responses

  1. I really thought I was gonna have to send a virus this way, LOL!

  2. good predictions...sadly, we all know that the commercial crap will supercede the good stuff, but hey miracles do happen...let's see Sunday

  3. LMaO at the ME MYSELF and I NOMINATION!!!!!!!!!!
    that is like five albums ago, eons ago.
    they need to do there research more and quit hanging on BEE's BOOTTY

  4. the perfect defintion: The Grammy Awards are like a family reunion, complete with party crashing cousins who no one really wanted to invite anyway, embittered elders who smile condescendingly at all their good-for-nothing progeny, and people make fools of themselves but no one says it to their faces but gossip relentlessly the next day

  5. if i'm not mistaken, the "Me, Myself & I" nomination comes from her live dvd, which makes a little bit more sense. a little. it was released in 2007.

  6. I'm holding out for Jazmine, Raphael and Lupe. Triple sigh at Low being nominated for best rap songwriting (:

  7. Grammies = the loose, so if they win they win loose and loose.