• Avi Cantor

Opinion: The Grammy nominations have been announced, here are the snubs

The Recording Academy announced the nominations for the 63rd Grammy Awards yesterday. Here are the songs and albums that we think deserved a nomination:

Record of the Year

The Weeknd - Blinding Lights

"Blinding Lights" is the ninth track off Canadian singer The Weeknd's critically acclaimed album After Hours. The track became a smash hit thanks to a jaw-dropping visual directed by Swedish director Anton Tammi, a viral tik tok trend, and of course the high-intensity, 80s pop inspired sound that has propelled The Weeknd from a master of eerie, sensual r&b to a full-blown superstar. "Blinding Lights" has over 1 billion streams on Spotify and was certified RIAA platinum back in March.

Album of the Year

The Weeknd - After Hours

One of the most controversial snubs of the year came with the decision not to nominate After Hours over claims that The Weeknd was given an ultimatum between performing at the Super Bowl and being nominated for awards this year at The Grammys. After Hours is a masterpiece of R&B infused 80s synth-pop with diverse vocal performances from the Republic Records signee. The album has two platinum-certified singles with "Heartless" and "Blinding Lights" and 12 of the 14 songs have over 60 million streams on Spotify.

Best Rap Album

Lil Baby - My Turn

Arguably the biggest snub of this year's Grammy Awards was Lil Baby's My Turn, a critically acclaimed album that serves as a benchmark of the current rap climate. The album has been certified RIAA double platinum, was the highest-selling album of the year, peaked at #1 on the Billboard 200 chart, and has spent 38 weeks and counting on the chart and dipped below the top 10 for the first time this week. The album also has eight RIAA platinum plaques and two gold plaques with songs like "Sum 2 Prove," "Commercial" ft. Lil Uzi Vert, "Woah," and "We Paid" ft. 42 Dugg among several other standout tracks.

Lil Uzi Vert - Eternal Atake

One of the year's most highly anticipated releases was Lil Uzi Vert's Eternal Atake, an album he teased for over three years. The Philadelphia native certainly didn't disappoint and was rewarded for his effort with an RIAA platinum certification for the album as well as spending 37 weeks and counting on the Billboard 200, peaking at #1. The album features the platinum cut "Futsal Shuffle 2020" as well as five gold-selling singles including "Myron," "P2," "Lo Mein," and "That Way," among many others.

Pop Smoke - Shoot For the Stars, Aim For The Moon

The late great Pop Smoke's project Shoot For the Stars, Aim For The Moon peaked at #1 on Billboard Hot 100 and has been in the top 10 for 20 weeks. The album features tracks like "For the Night" ft. Lil Baby & DaBaby which is platinum, "Mood Swings" ft. Lil Tjay which is platinum, "Dior" which is double-platinum, and "The Woo" ft. 50 Cent & Roddy Ricch has over 213 Million streams on Spotify, among many other incredible tracks.

Best Melodic Rap Performance

Rod Wave - Rags2Riches ft. ATR Son Son

Florida native Rod Wave had a spectacular year with the success of his album Pray 4 Love which garnered two RIAA certified gold tracks in "The Greatest" and "Dark Conversations". However, the standout off of the project was Rags2Riches, a motivational anthem detailing Rod's ascension from his poverty-stricken neighborhood of St. Petersburgh, FL. The track peaked at #63 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, has a combination of over 152 million streams on Spotify between the original song and its remix featuring Lil Baby.

Don Toliver - No Idea

Cactus Jack signee Don Toliver was one of the year's most prominent up and coming acts with his album Heaven or Hell. Toliver had several standouts from the year but the one that started it all off for him was "No Idea", a spacy yet high-octane cut that went from a Tik Tok trend to a global smash. The track has nearly 335 million streams on Spotify and is RIAA certified platinum.

Internet Money - Lemonade ft. Don Toliver, NAV, & Gunna

"Lemonade" was a late-bloomer standout off of Internet Money's compilation album B4 The Storm. Don Toliver's catchy, drug-fueled hook compliments NAV and Gunna's laid back verses. The track is closing in on 360 million streams in just four months, has a platinum plaque under its belt, and another 60 million views on Lyrical Lemonade's Youtube page.

Best R&B Performance

Summer Walker - Playing Games

"Playing Games" is peak Summer Walker. Plain and simple. Her sweet yet heartfelt vocals with excellently crafted lyrics about struggling to get a love interest to stop toying with her emotions. The track is certified double-platinum, peaked at #16 on the Billboard Hot 100, #1 on the R&B Streaming Songs chart, and has combined for over 200 Million streams on Spotify between the original song and the remix with Bryson Tiller.

Ari Lennox - Bussit

Since releasing her critically acclaimed album Shea Butter Baby back in May of 2019, the Washington D.C. native has dropped a string of excellent singles throughout the year including the highly anticipated cut "Bussit.” The track was teased on Dreamville's documentary Revenge, which detailed the creative process behind the label's collaborative project Revenge of the Dreamers 3. The track has over 15 million plays on Spotify and another 3.7 million streams from the Tajana B. Williams directed video.

Best R&B Album

Summer Walker - Over It

Atlanta native Summer Walker's debut album Over It flexed every talent the singer posses from writing to singing ability to her ear for good production. Over It featured bedroom bangers like "Girls Need Love," "Nobody Else," "I'll Kill You" with Jhene Aiko, and "Stretch You Out" with A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie that had every girl on Instagram singing along emphatically. There were also more personal songs like "Fun Girl" a song stripped down to sound like a live performance that cuts deep into the heart of the listener. However, at the end of the day, numbers don't lie. The album went platinum and five songs off of the project sold either gold or platinum.

Kehlani - It Was Good Until It Wasn't

Kehlani's second studio album It Was Good Until It Wasn't is a blend of tracks that are deeply personal, sensual, and sonically rich. Despite having three charting singles with "Toxic,” "Can I" featuring Tory Lanez, and "Change Your Life,” the album's highlights are when the singer gets personal. Songs like "Hate the Club" with Masego and "Everybody's Business" are highly underrated and serve as the pinnacle of what R&B should look like in today's scene.

Teyana Taylor - The Album

Singer, songwriter, dancer, mogul, and entrepreneur Teyana Taylor's "The Album" is a soulful and sultry array of tracks that show off Taylor's vocal chops and her appreciation for several sects of music. The album features everyone from Quavo to Ms. Lauryn Hill and Taylor makes sure to utilize these features to create experiences rather than just songs. Songs like "We Got Love" with Ms. Lauryn Hill, "How You Want It?" ft. King Combs, and "Ever Ever" are vastly different in pace, tempo, and subject matter without sacrificing creativity or vocal prowess. The album peaked at #8 on the Billboard 200 chart and her collab with King Combs was RIAA certified Gold back in July.