One of the big surprises at last month’s BET Awards was hearing Jazmine Sullivan“Heaux Tales” was announced as Album of the Year. The album certainly gets the high praise for earning the title, but the category often goes to bigger albums, with past winners including Beyonce‘s “Lemonade” and Roddy Ricch‘s “Please excuse me for being antisocial.” So it seemed The weekend‘s “After Hours” or Megan you stallionThe “good news” of s would hit the jackpot. Could this upheaval have implications for the Grammys? I think so.
The BET Awards aren’t necessarily a precursor to the Grammys, but they’re one of the few peer-voted awards that remains in music. So many of their award winners indicate where the wind is blowing in the industry, especially in rap and R&B. The relatively new category of Album of the Year (it was introduced in 2017) can tell us a lot. Of the previous four winners, three have won Grammys: Beyoncé’s “Lemonade” won the award for best contemporary urban album, while Kendrick Lamar‘s “Shit” and Cardi B“Invasion of Privacy” won the award for best rap album. Last year’s winner, Ricch’s aforementioned “Antisocial,” was set to take home the award for best rap album at the Grammys, but was ruthlessly snubbed by the nominations review board (likely to pave the way for a delay. Nas to earn); Either way, Ricch still has six names.
Nominees can paint a bigger picture as well. Of the 25 BET nominees who have already been entered for the Grammys (this year’s “Good News” and “Heaux Tales” will compete at the 2022 Grammys, while DaBaby“Blame It On Baby” was eligible in 2021 but was not submitted), 20 received Grammy names either for the albums themselves or for their singles. And 10 of the BET nominees were Grammy winners, which is a solid track record considering many of them have faced off at the Grammys. So, it’s safe to say that BET voters can show us what’s on the industry’s radar.
So can “Heaux Tales” win the recording academy, especially without signs to block her like Roddy Ricch last year? It is certainly possible. For now, the album must be considered the favorite of the best R&B album. Its biggest competitor is probably the Sonic Silk project from Grammy darlings Anderson Paak and Bruno Mars. The album will likely be another hit for them, knowing their Grammy history and how well the single “Leave the Door Open” performed, but no release date has been announced yet.
That said, R&B voters are not always in tune with our expectations. Few users predicted Robert glasper“Better Than I Imagined” won the award for Best R&B Song last year, let alone thought Thunder cat‘s “This is what it is” was going to upset Jhené Aiko (“Chilombo”) and Chloe x Halle (“Ungodly Hour”) for Best Progressive R&B Album. R&B voters can be quite unpredictable at times.
But maybe an even bigger win for Sullivan at the BET Awards puts his album back in the limelight. While at first it seemed like “Heaux Tales” was a must have for an album of the year at the Grammys, its buzz faded over time, and getting rid of the signs certainly didn’t help for an album. who could be in danger of flying under the radar for the mass of voters. This BET win could send an important signal to Grammy voters that it’s finally Sullivan’s year after more than a decade of trying.
Sullivan has been nominated and lost 12 times at the Grammys, making her one of the 20 most nominated artists without a win. Now, it seems likely that “Heaux Tales” will sweep away the R&B nominations, but if Sullivan doesn’t win this time around either, she could set a questionable record as a female artist with the most unsuccessful nominations, and there’s no reason to let her do this. Additionally, we have seen the overdue narrative work in R&B; just look at what was not rewarded before LedisiThis year’s winner for best traditional R&B performance on his 13th try.
Sullivan’s team must play their cards well. Her “Tiny Desk Concert” performance was a great starting point, especially since it went viral. The lead single, “Pick Up Your Feelings,” also worked well for her, hitting the Billboard Hot 100 for several weeks and topping the R&B charts. If she stops by other places of attention like “Saturday Night Live” and “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert,” or performs at the Grammy Museum, she might get away with it, even against Silk Sonic. . The ball is now in the court of the voters of the Soul Train Awards; wins there could further increase the momentum it needs for a win.
I am personally delighted to see how “Heaux Tales” works; Hopefully the BET victory was the first in a long streak to come, concluding at the Grammy Awards next year. And who knows, maybe Grammy voters already agree with that sentiment. After all, who doesn’t love an outsider story?
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