Courtesy of The Recording Academy

Chance the Rapper celebrates a Grammy win.

February 7, 2019

What You Need to Know for the 61st Grammy Awards

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If there’s one thing that we can agree on, it’s that the Grammys suck. Even if we don’t consider all of the controversies that have surrounded the politics of the awards show, the award itself has lost its value over the years.

It has become clear the Recording Academy cares very little for artistic value and was willing to let Macklemore’s The Heist beat out Kanye West’s Yeezus and Kendrick Lamar’s good kid, m.A.A.d city in the 2013 Grammys. They even allowed Drake’s Scorpion to get an album of the year nod . . . seriously, that was the not even a top 50 album this year.

Despite our best efforts to boycott the award show once and for all, your arts editors have succumbed to their most primal urges yet again and have gathered facts and their predictions together in hoping that this year will mark a return to Grammy greatness.


How to watch:

You can watch the 61st Grammy Awards on Sunday, February 10 at 8 p.m. EST on CBS. Expect the big awards to be given out closer to 10 p.m. So, if you aren’t in the mood to watch the whole thing unfold, tune in around then.


Things to Know:

Ariana Grande Backs Out of Performing. Following differences in creative direction, Ariana Grande will no longer be performing at the 61st Grammy Awards. In fact, Ariana Grande accused Grammys producer Ken Ehrlich of lying about her backing out, disputing his claim that she didn’t have time to pull together a performance. Travis Scott, however, will be performing. Following a decidedly not good performance at the Super Bowl, Travis Scott will perform hits off of his Grammy-nominated album Astroworld.


Our Predictions:

* symbolizes our winner


Record of the Year:


It’s hard to imagine the Grammys snubbing “This is America” . . . then again, this is the Grammys. “The Middle” is a dark-horse contender here, but only because I don’t know anyone who goes out of their way to listen to Zedd.

This is America | Childish Gambino*

I Like It | Cardi B, J Balvin and Bad Bunny

The Joke | Brandi Carlile

God’s Plan | Drake

Shallow | Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper

All the Stars | Kendrick Lamar and SZA

Rockstar | Post Malone and 21 Savage

The Middle | Zedd, Maren Morris and Grey


Album of the Year:


2018 was Cardi B’s year, from charting over 20 times to becoming the first female rapper with two number one songs on the Billboard Hot 100, all while having her first child. In a field without a clear favorite, Cardi’s impact should give her the edge.

Invasion of Privacy | Cardi B*

By the Way, I Forgive You | Brandi Carlile

Scorpion | Drake

H.E.R | H.E.R

Beerbongs & Bentleys | Post Malone

Dirty Computer | Janelle Monae

Golden Hour | Kacey Musgraves

Black Panther: The Album | Kendrick et al.


Song of the Year:


Once again, it’s impossible to undersell the impact of “This is America.” Childish Gambino combined one of the most political songs with the most cinematic music video of the year, all while delivering his message with masterful execution.

This is America | Childish Gambino*

All the Stars | Kendrick Lamar and SZA

Boo’d Up | Ella Mai

God’s Plan | Drake

In My Blood | Shawn Mendes

The Joke | Brandi Carlile

The Middle | Zedd, Maren Morris, and Grey

Shallow by Lady Gaga | Bradley Cooper


Best New Artist:




Dua Lipa

Chloe X Halle

Luke Combs

Greta Van Fleet

Margo Price

Bebe Rexha

Jorja Smith


Best Rap Album:


There are four legitimate candidates in this field, plus the Nipsey Hussle album (sorry Nipsey). We predict Swimming wins this category, as Mac Miller took his artistic evolution to another level, culminating his career with a masterpiece in jazz-funk-rap before his unfortunate passing. Daytona is a likely close second but its brevity gives Swimming the edge.

Swimming | Mac Miller*

Invasion of Privacy | Cardi B

Victory Lap | Nipsey Hussle

Astroworld | Travis Scott

Daytona | Pusha T


Best Alternative Album:


Masseducation | St. Vincent*

Tranquility Base Hotel + Casino | Arctic Monkeys

Colors | Beck

Utopia | Bjork

American Utopia | David Byrne


Best Pop Album: Shawn Mendes by Shawn Mendes*

Best Rap/Sung Performance: Pretty Little Fears | 6lack & J. Cole*

Best Rap Song: Sicko Mode | Travis Scott*

Producer of the Year: Boi-1Da*


Think you know the Grammys better than the arts editors? Submit a document containing your picks for the categories listed above to [email protected]. The submission with the most correct predictions will win a $10 Collegetown Bagels gift card and their name in the esteemed arts section of The Cornell Daily Sun #ArtsCares.