Grammy Predictions: The R&B Field
Beyonce is vying for her 17th Grammy, which would put her just one behind Aretha Franklin for the most by an African American woman in Grammy history. B is nominated for Best Traditional R&B Performance for “Love On Top,” the fourth single from her 2011 album 4. (It would be Beyonce’s first win since her six-Grammy sweep three years ago.)
Miguel, a Song of the Year finalist for “Adorn,” is likely to win two Grammys in the R&B field.
Best R&B Album
The nominees: Robert Glasper Experiment’s Black Radio, Anthony Hamilton’s Back To Love, R. Kelly’s Write Me Back, Tamia’s Beautiful Surprise, Tyrese’s Open Invitation
The discussion: This is R. Kelly’s 11th studio album. These are the fifth studio albums for the other four finalists.
None of these albums has sold 500K copies. The Tyrese, Hamilton and R. Kelly albums have come the closest.
R. Kelly won three Grammys for his 1997 smash “I Believe I Can Fly,” but hasn’t won since then. Hamilton shared the 2008 award for Best Traditional R&B Vocal Performance for “You’ve Got The Love I Need,” a collaboration with Al Green.
Black Radio features contributions from Erykah Badu, Lalah Hathaway, Lupe Fiasco, Musiq Soulchild, Chrisette Michele, Ledisi and Meshell Ndegeocello, among others. If enough Grammy voters have heard the album, it will probably win. But it has yet to sell 100K copies, which raises the possibility that too many voters have yet to discover it.
Here’s a point in its favor: Glasper is the only one of the R&B Album finalists who is also nominated for Best R&B Performance.
Grammy favorite Babyface co-wrote and co-produced three tracks on Back To Love, which features Keri Hilson. Open Invitation features Ludacris, Rick Ross and R. Kelly. (So R. Kelly is, in effect, competing with himself in this category.)
As the only woman in the finals, Tamia may have an edge. As the biggest name in the finals, R. Kelly may have an edge. As the artist with the best-selling album in the finals, Tyrese may have an edge. This is one of those categories where any of the nominees can conceivably win. So I’m going to circle back to my original choice.
The pick: Robert Glasper Experiment.
Best Urban Contemporary Album
The nominees: Chris Brown’s Fortune, Miguel’s Kaleidoscope Dream, Frank Ocean’s Channel Orange.