Grammys 2014: R&B and Rap Nominations Feature Genre Mainstays and Left-Field Surprises

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Kendrick Lamar performs at the Austin City Limits Music Festival Day Two at Zilker Park on October 5, 2013 in Austin, Texas.

An overview of the Grammy nominees in R&B and rap reveals several left-field surprises and snubs alongside such genre mainstays as Alicia Keys, Rihanna, Fantasia, Anthony Hamilton and John Legend, plus Jay Z (who leads all nominees with nine nods), Drake, Kanye West and Eminem.

One of the big R&B surprises was Tamar Braxton, who picked up three nominations for best R&B performance, best R&B song (both for the title track of her Epic debut Love and War) and best urban contemporary album. Also picking up three nominations was Fantasia for best R&B song, best traditional R&B performance and best urban contemporary album.

Among other R&B surprises: a best R&B performance nod for Melbourne, Australia soul group Hiatus Kaiyote for “Nakamarra” featuring Q-Tip and best urban contemporary album nods for producer/Sony A&R exec Salaam Remi (One: in the Chamber compilation) and Mack Wilds (New York: A Love Story). Glaring snubs include Janelle Monae’s work on The Electric Lady; Chris Brown’s “Fine China” and nothing from Weeknd’s "Kiss Land" (though he got a nod for best rap/sung collaboration on Wiz Khalifa’s “Remember You”). Justin Timberlake picked up a sole R&B nod for best R&B song (“Pusher Love Girl”) while soulster Robin Thicke’s three nods were all in pop categories.

This year’s rap darling -- and deservedly so -- is Kendrick Lamar with two marquee nods (album of year and best new artist) plus five additional nods in the R&B and rap fields including best R&B performance on Miguel’s “How Many Drinks?” And three of Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’ seven nominations are in the rap field for best rap performance, best rap song (both for “Thrift Shop”) and best rap album—a hot category this year that includes West, Jay Z, Drake and Lamar. But what happened to J. Cole and Born Sinner? His only nod: best rap/sung collaboration for “Power Trip” featuring Miguel. 

THE GRAMMYS | Full List of Nominees
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