Replacement: Fetty Wap or Leon Bridges
Reasoning: Courtney Barnett and Leon Bridges can pretty much be mutually replaceable – both artists exploded onto the scene this year with huge critical acclaim off their debut albums. Reading the industry opinions and how hard some of the influential industry critics were pushing for Leon, it is surprising to see him not included in this category, and I feel he deserves it more.
Fetty Wap had one of the greatest years in recent memories for a brand new artist, smashing records left and right with numerous hit singles. While his overall music quality may not be in the same sphere as others on this list, there’s no reason he shouldn’t be included if Meghan Trainor is on here.
Best Rap Performance
Apparently – J. Cole
Back To Back – Drake
Trap Queen – Fetty Wap
Alright – Kendrick Lamar
Truffle Butter – Nicki Minaj (feat. Drake & Lil Wayne)
All Day – Kanye West (feat. Theophilus London, Allan Kingdom & Paul McCartney)
Replacement: Future – Where Ya At (Ft. Drake)
Reasoning: Let’s be honest, Future was completely snubbed this year. The man had one of the biggest runs in recent memory for any artist, let alone rappers, & he didn’t get one nomination. For rap performance, I think ‘Where Ya At’ fits better in the category, but the out of touch voters didn’t think so.
Best Rap Album
2014 Forest Hills Drive – J. Cole
Compton – Dr. Dre
If You’re Reading This Its Too Late – Drake
To Pimp A Butterfly – Kendrick Lamar
The Pinkprint – Nicki Minaj
Replacements: Future – DS2, Big Sean – Dark Sky Paradise or Rae Sremmurd – Sremmlife
Reasoning: Let’s get right to it – Nicki Minaj & Dr. Dre are were only nominated because of their names, not the quality of their albums. While the albums were certainly decent, there’s no reason that Future‘s DS2 shouldn’t be on the nominations list. To replace the other album, I’d put Big Sean‘s Magnus opus Dark Sky Paradise or Rae Sremmurd‘s hit-filled debut album Sremmlife up. They could go either way for different reasons, but these two albums, along with DS2, made bigger impacts and were arguably of better quality than Compton & The Pinkprint.
Best Urban Contemporary Album
Ego Death – The Internet
You Should Be Here – Kehlani
Blood – Lianne La Havas
Wildheart – Miguel
Beauty Behind The Madness – The Weeknd
Replacements: Tinashe – Aquarius & Elijah Blake – Shadows & Diamonds
Reasoning: Lets get this straight – every album nominated deserves to be on here, but there’s a few snubs that don’t add up compared to other albums that were snubbed. While Kehlani & Lianne La Havas had tremendous efforts, they don’t add up to the success of Tinashe‘s Aquarius, and for true Urban Contemporary albums, Elijah Blake‘s Shadows & Diamonds fits better into the category. Tinashe‘s album was powered by pop hits, but the rest of the album was filled with gooey R&B/Soul tracks that should have had her in the running to actually win this one. Elijah’s album flew under the radar a bit – thanks to the atrocious marketing done by Def Jam , but with No ID handling Elijah’s musical career, his work behind the scenes is enough to let the influential industry insiders let people know of the greatness of Elijah.
Best R&B Performance
If I Don’t Have You – Tamar Braxton
Rise Up – Andra Day
Breathing Underwater – Hiatus Kaiyote
Planes – Jeremih (feat. J. Cole)
Earned It – The Weeknd
Replacement: Omarion – Post To Be (Ft. Jhene Aiko & Chris Brown)
Reasoning: It doesn’t matter which song not named ‘Earned It’ is replaced by ‘Post To Be’ in the Best R&B Performance category, but it needs to happen. The song was hands down one of the best of the year, not to mention one of the biggest. It single handily revived Omarion‘s career. O went onto say on Twitter that the song is one of the best R&B collaborations of all time – I’m not sure about all that but I wouldn’t argue that hard if it was very high on that list.