If you tune into the BET Awards on June 23, there are numerous storylines that you may want to follow. Here are nine of the most intriguing ones.
Cardi B Defends Two Titles
Cardi B is defending two titles that she won last year — best female hip-hip artist and the Coca-Cola viewers’ choice award. Her competition for best female hip-hop artist includes two other past winners in the category, Nicki Minaj (a seven-time category champ) and Remy Ma (a two-time winner), as well as Kash Doll, Lizzo and Megan Thee Stallion.
Cardi B won the viewers’ choice award last year for “Bodak Yellow,” which was her first No. 1 hit on the Hot 100. She’s nominated this year for “I Like It,” a collabo with Bad Bunny and J Balvin, which became her second. If she wins again, she’ll tie Beyoncé and Rihanna for most wins in the category by a female artist. Drake, who has won twice in this category, has two nominees this year, “In My Feelings” and Travis Scott‘s “Sicko Mode,” on which he is featured. The other nominees are Childish Gambino‘s “This Is America,” Ella Mai‘s “Trip” and J. Cole‘s “Middle Child.”
Cardi B vs. Travis Scott, the Rematch
At the 61st annual Grammy Awards on Feb. 10, Cardi B’s Invasion of Privacy beat Scott’s Astroworld for best rap album. The two albums are competing again for album of the year. Also nominated: The Carters’ Everything Is Love (which won a Grammy as best urban contemporary album) and two albums that were released after the Sept. 30, 2018 eligibility cut-off for last year’s Grammys — Mai’s Ella Mai and Meek Mill‘s Championships.
Childish Gambino vs. The Carters, the Rematch
Also at the Grammys, Gambino’s video for the topical “This Is America” beat The Carters’ “Apeshit,” which they shot in the Louvre, for best music video. They are competing again for video of the year. Beyoncé is a six-time winner in this category; Jay-Z won in 2012 for “Otis,” a collabo with Kanye West. They face two other past winners in this category, Drake (for “Nice for What”) and Bruno Mars (for “Please Me,” a collabo with Cardi B). Drake won last year for “God’s Plan.” The other nominees are a second Cardi B video, “Money,” and 21 Savage‘s “A Lot” (featuring J. Cole).
Drake Seeks to Surpass Kendrick Lamar
Drake is vying to become the first artist to win best male hip-hop artist five times. He’s currently tied with Kendrick Lamar with four wins each in the category. Drake faces two of this year’s nominees for album of the year, Scott and Meek Mill, as well as 21 Savage, J. Cole and the late Nipsey Hussle. Note: Drake’s Scorpion was passed over for an album of the year nom.
Beyoncé Goes For Her 10th Win in Her Category
Beyoncé is vying to win best female R&B/pop artist for the 10th time; the sixth year in a row. Her competition includes her sister, Solange; Mai, who is the only female solo artist nominated for album of the year; SZA, last year’s winner for best new artist; H.E.R., a nominee last year for best new artist; and Teyana Taylor, who is signed to West’s GOOD Music label. Note: Beyoncé’s Homecoming: The Live Album was released after the March 31 close of eligibility for this year’s awards.
Will Bruno Mars’ Winning Streak End?
Mars has won best male R&B/pop artist the last two years running. He’s vying to become the first artist to win in this category three years in a row. But Khalid, who landed his first No. 1 album on the Billboard 200 with his sophomore release, Free Spirit, is a strong challenger. So is Anderson .Paak, whose fourth album, Ventura, reached No. 4 on the Billboard 200. (Both albums were released too late to qualify for album of the year noms.) The other nominees are Chris Brown, who has won a record four times in this category; John Legend, who completed his EGOT last September; and Gambino, who won four Grammys in February.
Will The Carters Take Best Group?
As album of the year nominees, The Carters have an excellent chance of winning best group. Both members of the duo have won in this category in the past. Beyoncé won twice as part of Destiny’s Child. Jay-Z won seven years ago for The Throne, his collaboration with West. But to win, they’ll have to unseat Migos, which has won in this category the last two years running. If the trio wins again this year, they’ll tie OutKast for the most wins ever in the category. The other nominees are Chloe x Halle, City Girls and a collab — Lil Baby and Gunna.
Will the BETs Make Up For the Grammys’ Snub Of Juice Wrld?
Juice Wrld is nominated for best new artist, six months after being overlooked for a nom in that same category in the Grammy Award process. Juice Wrld topped the Billboard 200 in March for the first time with his sophomore album Death Race for Love (which was passed over for an album of the year nom). He faces Blueface, City Girls, Lil Baby and Queen Naija. City Girls are hoping to make a little history of their own. The female rap duo would become the first group or duo to win in this category.
Will Kirk Franklin Tie Yolanda Adams?
Kirk Franklin has two noms for the best gospel/inspirational award (which is named in honor of gospel singer Dr. Bobby Jones). Franklin is nominated for “Love Theory” and as a featured artist on Tori Kelly‘s “Never Alone.” If either wins, Franklin will tie Yolanda Adams for most wins in the category’s history (four). Kelly won in this category last year as a featured artist on Lecrae‘s “I’ll Find You.” The other nominees are Snoop Dogg‘s “Blessing Me Again” (featuring Rance Allen), Erica Campbell‘s “All of My Life” (featuring her husband, Warryn Campbell) and Fred Hammond‘s “Tell Me Where It Hurts.”