Atlanta Music Scene

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Grammy 2018 nominations: rap leads with Jay-Z, Kendrick Lamar, Childish Gambino, Migos and more

The Grammy days of rap being relegated to genre-specific categories is history.

This year’s class is led by Jay-Z – already a 21-time winner – with eight nominations, including the major trio of album of the year (“4:44”), its widely dissected title track for song of the year and record of the year (“The Story of O.J.”).

Kendrick Lamar topped out with seven nods, including album of the year (“Damn”) and record of the year (“Humble”).

Atlanta’s Migos arrived in a couple of high-profile rap categories – best rap performance (“Bad and Boujee”) and best rap album (“Culture”).

Also garnering notice was the inescapable hit of the summer, “Despacito,” which placed Luis Fonsi, Daddy Yankee and Justin Bieber in the record and song of the year categories, and the important suicide prevention anthem, “1-800-273-8255” from Logic, Alessia Cara and Khalid, which earned its writers song of the year notice.

The 60th annual Grammy Awards, which will air live from New York on Jan. 28 on CBS, will spotlight a male-dominated year of nominees, including Bruno Mars (with six, including album and record of the year for “24K Magic”); Stone Mountain native Donald Glover, nominated as his rap alter ego Childish Gambino (with five, including album of the year for “Awaken, My Love!” and record of the year for “Redbone”); Khalid (five, including best new artist); and Chicago producer No I.D. (five).

Of the primary vote-getters, only upstart New Jersey R&B singer SZA represented with multiple nominations (five) among female artists.

The “Love Galore” singer will vie for best new artist against Alessia Cara, Khalid, Atlanta-based Lil Uzi Vert and Julia Michaels, as well as best urban contemporary album with Atlanta's 6lack, Childish Gambino, Khalid and The Weeknd.

The eligibility period for the 2017 awards was Oct. 1, 2016-Sept. 30, 2017, which eliminated Taylor Swift’s newly arrived “Reputation” from contention this cycle. Still, the mega-selling singer was expected to garner attention for earlier-released single “Look What You Made Me Do,” or her songwriting work on Little Big Town’s “Better Man,” which earned the band a nod for best country duo/group performance, an artist award.

Swift is nominated for co-writing “I Don't Wanna Live Forever” from “Fifty Shades Darker” with Jack Antonoff in best song written for visual media.

For a complete list of nominees, visit

The fertile Georgia music industry spawned its usual crop of nominees, with homegrown talent represented in more than two dozen categories.

Of them, the most bittersweet is a pair of posthumous nominations for Allman Brothers Band legend Gregg Allman, whose final album, “Southern Blood,” is up for best Americana album and the heartbreaking song, “My Only True Friend,” co-written with longtime band leader Scott Sharrard , for best American roots song.

Don Was, who produced “Southern Blood,” said in an earlier interview that , “Despite the heavy overtones, we actually had a great time (recording); there was a lot of fun and lot of laughing…It’s sweet that (Gregg) got to complete this farewell statement to his satisfaction. He told me he felt we had exceeded his expectations.”

Death did not prevent nominations for other artists, including Leonard Cohen (“You Want it Darker” for best rock performance and “Steer Your Way” for best American roots performance); Chris Cornell (“The Promise” for best rock performance), Glen Campbell (“Arkansas Farmboy” for best American roots performance); and Carrie Fisher (“The Princess Diarist” for best spoken word album).

Other Georgia-rooted artists notching some acclaim include Atlanta’s Mastodon, the Zac Brown Band and Christian music mainstays Casting Crowns.

Here is a list of area nominees:

Best new artist - Lil Uzi Vert

Best rock album – Mastodon, “Emperor of Sand”

Best metal performance – Mastodon, “Sultan’s Curse”

Best R&B album – Musiq Soulchild, “Feel the Real”

Best rap performance – Migos, “Bad and Boujee”

Best rap performance - Big Sean, "Bounce Back"

Best rap song – Danger Mouse with Run the Jewels and Big Boi , “Chase Me”

Best rap song - Asheton Hogan and Mike Will Made-It, songwriters, "Humble" (Kendrick Lamar)

Best rap album – Migos, “Culture”

Best country solo performance – Sam Hunt, “Body Like a Back Road”

Best country duo/group performance – Zac Brown Band, “My Old Man”; Lady Antebellum, “You Look Good”; Little Big Town, “Better Man”

Best country song – Sam Hunt, “Body Like a Back Road”

Best country album – Lady Antebellum, “Heart Break”; Little Big Town, “The Breaker”; Thomas Rhett, “Life Changes”

Best dance recording - Gorillaz featuring DRAM, "Andromeda"

Best New Age album - India.Arie, "SongVersation: Medicine"

Best contemporary Christian music performance/song – Casting Crowns, “Oh My Soul.”

Best American roots song – Gregg Allman (and Scott Sharrard), “My Only True Friend”

Best Americana album - Gregg Allman, “Southern Blood”

Best Americana album - Brent Cobb, "Shine on Rainy Day"

Best album notes – Otis Redding, “Live At The Whisky A Go Go: The Complete Recordings”

Best album notes - Ted Olson, "Big Bend Killing: The Appalachian Ballad Tradition"

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About the Author

Atlanta Journal-Constitution staff writer Melissa Ruggieri covers the Atlanta Music Scene and entertainment news for print and online.