On Tuesday morning (Nov. 15), the nominations for the 2023 Grammy Awards were announced. Unsurprisingly, Beyoncé leads the charge with nine nominations for her dance-rooted album Renaissance, and awaits her blockbuster showdown against Adele’s 30 and eight other nominees for the coveted album of the year award. Other notable names in the R&B and hip-hop space that enjoyed a career day on the nominations front alongside the venerable megastar include Kendrick Lamar, Mary J. Blige, and DJ Khaled.
After releasing his first album in five years with Mr. Morale and The Big Steppers, Kendrick Lamar hopes to increase his win tally next January via his eight nominations. Mary J Blige, who delivered her riveting album Good Morning Gorgeous last November, reeled in six nods, including two in the Big Four categories. Regular collaborators Future and DJ Khaled also took home six nods apiece, and will square off in multiple rap categories — most notably best melodic rap performance, where their song “Beautiful” alongside SZA will compete against Future’s “Wait for You.”
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There were also notable snubs, as Summer Walker’s Still Over It and Ari Lennox’s age/sex/location failed to receive any nominations after garnering acclaim for their respective efforts. Stunningly, Brent Faiyaz also failed to receive any looks from the Recording Academy this year, after Wasteland proved to be an R&B darkhorse, nearly dethroning Bad Bunny from the Billboard 200 albums chart back in July.
Check out the rest of our takeaways below.
Khaled’s Drive for Five
Khaled’s poignant chants and godly affirmations did more than push his 12th studio album, God Did, to No. 1 on the Billboard 200 last August — it secured him five nominations for next year’s ceremony. Anchored by the starry line-up of Jay-Z, Rick Ross, Lil Wayne, and Fridayy, “God Did” received nominations for best rap performance and best rap song. Khaled’s crowning moment of the day came when “God Did” was nominated for song of the year.
The Return of Kendrick Lamar
Following his blistering Grammy run in 2018, where he won five awards, including a clean sweep in the rap categories for his seminal album DAMN, Kendrick Lamar looks to return to the winner’s circle with his 2022 effort, Mr. Morale & The Bigger Steppers. And though Lamar has remained active on the Grammy circuit in recent years (he spearheaded the album of the year-nominated Various Artists set Black Panther: The Album in 2018, and won two awards last year as a feature on Baby Keem’s “Family Ties”), this go-round, he competes as a solo star, eying more trophies. With a stacked AOTY battle against pop titans Adele, Beyonce, and Harry Styles, Lamar sits as the lone rapper in the category, ready to settle the score after losing out in 2018 and 2019.
Make Room for the Ladies
The female side of the rap game was also well-represented, as GloRilla and Latto both earned recognition for their hard work. The former had the summer on tilt with her club-driven single “FNF,” which clawed its way into top 40 on the Billboard Hot 100 and earned a nomination for best rap performance. As for the self-proclaimed “Queen of Da Souf,” Latto enjoyed her crossover success with her bubbly No. 3-peaking Hot 100 smash “Big Energy,” scoring nods for best new artist and best melodic rap performance, the latter for a live version of her breakthrough hit.
Elsewhere, Doja Cat also gnawed her way into the conversation after “Vegas” from the ELVIS soundtrack scored her a look the best rap performance category, while her Post Malone collab “I Like You (A Happier Song)” also earned recognition in best pop duo/group performance, and her Planet Her single “Woman” scored a trio of nods, for best music video, best pop solo performance and even record of the year. But amidst all the female MCs recognized, there was one glaring omission: Megan Thee Stallion, who previously netted three awards (including best new artist) in 2021, was missing out. She released her project Trauamzine last August and showcased vulnerability as she grappled with personal issues. Despite her candor, it wasn’t enough to secure a best rap album look.
Good Morning, Mary
Mary J. Blige, Muni Long and Jazmine Sullivan are among the R&B artists making Grammy headlines this morning. After winning an Emmy in September as one of the headliners of outstanding variety special (live) winner, the Pepsi Super Bowl LVI Halftime Show, Blige continues her banner year. She scored six Grammy nominations today — four of them in the R&B field: best R&B performance for “Here With Me” featuring Anderson .Paak (who with Silk Sonic partner Bruno Mars declined to submit An Evening With Silk Sonic for Grammy contention); best traditional R&B performance for “Good Morning Gorgeous”; best R&B song for “Good Morning Gorgeous”; and best R&B album for Good Morning Gorgeous. Rounding out Blige’s total count are nods for her album and its title track in the album of the year and record of the year categories.
Perfect Timing For “Hrs & Hrs” Star Muni Long
With today’s announcement, Muni Long came into her own as a solo artist with nods for best R&B performance and best R&B song for her hit single “Hrs & Hrs,” as well as for best new artist. Prior to adopting her Muni Long moniker, songwriter Priscilla Renea had garnered notice as the co-writer of songs for Rihanna (“California King Bed”), Fifth Harmony (“Worth It”) and Ariana Grande (“Imagine”), among others. In 2021, Renea received a Grammy nomination for album of the year, via her writing contributions to H.E.R.’s Back of My Mind project.
Jazmine Sullivan Is Back for More
Jazmine Sullivan, who took home her first two Grammys earlier this year for best R&B performance (“Pick Up Your Feelings”) and best R&B album (Heaux Tales), returns to the derby with three nominations, including best R&B performance and best R&B song (both for “Hurt Me So Good”) plus best traditional R&B performance through her featured turn on Adam Blackstone’s “’Round Midnight.”
All Hail the Queen
With her nine nominations leading all artists for 2022, Beyoncé’s nods — beyond those for record, song and album of the year and two more in the dance/electronic categories (all for either for Renaissance or its Hot 100-topping lead single “Break My Soul”) — also covered three bases in R&B. In that field, she’s up for best R&B performance for “Virgo’s Groove,” best traditional R&B performance for “Plastic Off the Sofa” and best R&B song for “Cuff It.”
Also of note in the R&B field: Steve Lacy picks up a nod in best progressive R&B album for Gemini Rights, while that critically acclaimed album’s breakout single “Bad Habit” garners nods for record and song of year. Grammy-winning R&B/pop icon Babyface returns to Grammy recognition alongside Ella Mai with “Keeps on Fallin’,” vying for best traditional R&B performance. And Robert Glasper celebrates the 10th anniversary of his Grammy-winning 2012 Black Radio album with another best R&B album nomination for that series’ latest installment, Black Radio III.