Courtesy of the Recording Academy

January 26, 2020

The Sun’s 2020 Grammys Predictions

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Another year, another round of Grammys criticism. There truly is no lower hanging fruit in the music-journalism industry, except maybe criticizing the critics themselves. There’s really no new argument to be made here, so we’re just going to make our predictions and move on. These aren’t necessarily who we think is the best, just who we think is going to win — and that’s exactly in the spirit of the Grammys, isn’t it?

Record of the Year:
Bon Iver — “Hey Ma”
Billie Eilish — “Bad Guy”
Ariana Grande — “7 Rings”
H.E.R. — “Hard Place”
Khalid — “Talk”
Lil Nas X featuring Billy Ray Cyrus — “Old Town Road”
Lizzo — “Truth Hurts”
Post Malone and Swae Lee — “Sunflower”

Our Prediction: Lil Nas X featuring Billy Ray Cyrus — “Old Town Road”
This is the obvious one here, but Lizzo is a potential sleeper choice. It wouldn’t surprise me if Billie Eilish sweeps every category she’s nominated for because the Recording Academy doesn’t understand her. It also wouldn’t surprise me if Billie Eilish wins nothing because the Recording Academy doesn’t really understand her.

Album of the Year
Bon Iver — I, I
Lana Del Rey — Norman Fucking Rockwell!
Ariana Grande — thank u, next
H.E.R. — I Used to Know Her
Lil Nas X — 7
Lizzo — Cuz I Love You
Vampire Weekend — Father of the Bride

Our Prediction: Lana Del Rey — Norman Fucking Rockwell!
After hours of careful debate and analysis, we decided to use a random number generator to select the winner. This also seems to be how the field was selected. I mean, this is like a who’s who of pop albums we’ll have forgotten about by this time next year.

Song of the Year
Lady Gaga — “Always Remember Us This Way”
Billie Eilish — “Bad Guy”
Tanya Tucker — “Bring My Flowers Now”
H.E.R. — “Hard Place”
Taylor Swift — “Lover”
Lana Del Rey — “Norman Fucking Rockwell”
Lewis Capaldi — “Someone You Loved”
Lizzo — “Truth Hurts”

Our Prediction: Billie Eilish — “Bad Guy”
This is a tough call — H.E.R. has the best song, but it’s easy to see her being passed over. Lizzo is also due for a Grammy, so it would hardly be surprising if she runs this category.

Best New Artist
Black Pumas
Billie Eilish
Lil Nas X
Maggie Rogers
Tank and the Bangas

Our Prediction: Billie Eilish
It’s pretty much a three-way tie here between Billie Eilish, Lil Nas X and Rosalía, but Billie’s larger, more consistent body of work should give her the edge here.

Best Pop Solo Performance
Beyoncé — “Spirit”
Billie Eilish — “Bad Guy”
Ariana Grande — “7 Rings”
Lizzo — “Truth Hurts”
Taylor Swift — “You Need To Calm Down”

Our Prediction: Lizzo — “Truth Hurts”
This song is perfect for the Grammys. Why, you might ask? Because it’s a smash hit that can light up a club or party while still being safe enough for your mom to bang in her 2007 Toyota Highlander. But maybe they’ll give another one to Billie. Who knows.

Best Pop Duo Performance
Ariana Grande and Social House — “Boyfriend”
Jonas Brothers — “Sucker”
Lil Nas X and Billy Ray Cyrus — “Old Town Road”
Post Malone and Swae Lee — “Sunflower”
Shawn Mendes and Camila Cabello — “Señorita”

Our Prediction: Lil Nas X and Billy Ray Cyrus — “Old Town Road”
The Jonas Brothers managing to get a Grammy nomination is proof that our nostalgia has gone too far: “Sucker” is not good. Their return to creating mind-numbing pop music off the strength of nostalgia is nothing if not predictable, a lack of creativity which should not be rewarded with a Grammy. Anyway, “Old Town Road” undeniably took the world by storm, and we can’t downplay that.

Best Rap Performance
J. Cole — “Middle Child”
DaBaby — “Suge”
Dreamville — “Down Bad”
Nipsey Hussle featuring Roddy Ricch and Hit-Boy — “Racks in the Middle”
Offset featuring Cardi B — “Clout”

Our Prediction: DaBaby — “Suge”
This is where I disclose that I’m from Charlotte, North Carolina, and DaBaby is our first real star, so I will protect him at all costs. DaBaby sounds like he was born for this. He had 2019 on lock like no other artist and it all started with “Suge.” In a fairly weak category, he should win his first Grammy here.

Best Rap/Sung Performance
DJ Khaled featuring Nipsey Hussle and John Legend — “Higher”
Lil Baby and Gunna — “Drip Too Hard”
Lil Nas X — “Panini”
Mustard featuring Roddy Ricch — “Ballin”
Young Thug featuring J. Cole and Travis Scott — “The London”

Our Prediction: Young Thug featuring J. Cole and Travis Scott — “The London”
This is another category of lukewarm pop rap songs that remind us of how the Recording Academy is out of touch. The inclusion of “Drip Too Hard” feels funny, as though they can’t tell the difference between melodic rap and R&B. Additionally, I’m genuinely surprised that “Highest in the Room” didn’t get a nomination here, if for no reason other than the strength of Mike Dean’s synths at the end of the song. “The London” seems likely to win in this category, which would give both J. Cole and Travis Scott their first Grammys.

Best Rap Song
YBN Cordae featuring Chance the Rapper — “Bad Idea”
Rick Ross featuring Drake — “Gold Roses”
21 Savage featuring J. Cole — “a lot”
Nipsey Hussle featuring Roddy Ricch and Hit-Boy — “Racks in the Middle”
DaBaby — “Suge”

Our Prediction: DaBaby — “Suge”
“a lot” is a dark horse in this category: It’s very easy to see the Recording Academy eating up J. Cole’s verse. “Suge” is the best song in this category, but the Grammys never fail to remind us that quality doesn’t mean a whole lot in choosing the winner.

Best Rap Album
Dreamville — Revenge of the Dreamers III
Meek Mill — Championships
21 Savage — I Am > I Was
Tyler, the Creator — Igor
YBN Cordae — The Lost Boy

Our Prediction: Tyler, the Creator — Igor
It’s almost criminal that Igor didn’t get a nomination for the Album of the Year category, but it should win in this field. It’s the album that Tyler, the Creator’s whole career has led up to, and every song is a joy to listen to. Hopefully this undeniably high watermark of quality in his career will be enough to convince the Recording Academy to give Tyler his well deserved props.


Dan Moran is a junior in the College of Human Ecology. He currently serves as the assistant arts editor on The Sun’s editorial board. He can be reached at [email protected].