NEW YORK — Here at The Associated Press, we've written stories for years about how the Grammys have dissed rap, R&B and other evolving genres before others wrote about the hot topic after Beyoncé lost to Adele last year. Check our records.
So you could imagine how vindicated and excited we felt when the nominations rolled out late last year with Jay-Z, Kendrick Lamar, Bruno Mars, Luis Fonsi and Childish Gambino dominating in the top three categories, where rap, R&B and Latin music almost never win.
But because of our expertise in this Grammy game, we know what's obvious: The Recording Academy is unpredictable.
What follows is our predictions for who will go home with a trophy on Sunday.
ALBUM OF THE YEAR
The nominees: "Awaken, My Love!," Childish Gambino; "4:44," Jay-Z; "DAMN.," Kendrick Lamar; "Melodrama," Lorde; "24K Magic," Bruno Mars.
Predicted winner: "24K Magic," Bruno Mars
Moody: Grammy voters will more than likely be charmed by an act with huge commercial appeal, an amazing live act, top-notch songwriting capabilities, a multi-instrumentalist — who hails from Hawaii. This is Mars' for the taking.
RECORD OF THE YEAR
The nominees: "Redbone," Childish Gambino; "Despacito," Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee featuring Justin Bieber; "The Story of O.J.," Jay-Z; "HUMBLE.," Kendrick Lamar; "24K Magic," Bruno Mars.
Predicted winner: "24K Magic," Bruno Mars, but don't count out "Despacito."
Fekadu: "Despacito" was much more than your average pop hit of the year. It broke several records on Spotify and YouTube, and opened more doors for Latin music to be integrated on pop radio without watering down or Americanizing its songs. That's enough for Luis Fonsi and friends to take home the prize.
SONG OF THE YEAR (songwriter's award)
The nominees: "Despacito"; "4:44"; "Issues"; "1-800-273-8255"; "That's What I Like"
Predicted winner: "That's What I Like," but JAY-Z and No I.D. could win for "4:44."
Fekadu: I would say that Bruno would automatically win this, but do we really think the Academy is going to give this award to eight songwriters? Nah. That gives the edge to Jay-Z, who wrote "4:44" with just No I.D. He'll make history and become the first rapper to win song of the year — appropriately a year after he was the first rapper inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame.
BEST NEW ARTIST
The nominees: Alessia Cara; Khalid; Lil Uzi Vert; Julia Michaels; SZA
Predicted winner: Julia Michaels
Moody: SZA is the most nominated woman of this year's Grammys and had crossover success, but something tells me voters may have an easier time gelling with the PG-rated verses of some of her counterparts. Between Cara, Khalid and Michaels, I say Michaels has the edge, particularly because the "Issues" singer has written plenty of hits for others. Voters may want to reward her for that as well.
BEST POP VOCAL ALBUM
The nominees: "Kaleidoscope EP," Coldplay; "Lust for Life," Lana Del Rey; "Evolve," Imagine Dragons; "Rainbow," Kesha; "Joanne," Lady Gaga; "÷," Ed Sheeran
Predicted winner: "÷," Ed Sheeran
Fekadu: Ed Sheeran, here is your consolation prize.
BEST RAP PERFORMANCE
The nominees: "Bounce Back," Big Sean; "Bodak Yellow," Cardi B; "4:44," Jay-Z; "HUMBLE.," Kendrick Lamar; "Bad and Boujee," Migos featuring Lil Uzi Vert.
Predicted winner: "HUMBLE.," Kendrick Lamar
Moody: Cardi B's "Bodak Yellow" was the sensation of the year, but her inclusion will likely be seen as honor enough. Plus, anyone trying to beat "HUMBLE." should really sit down.
BEST COUNTRY SONG (songwriter's award)
The nominees: "Better Man"; "Body Like a Back Road"; "Broken Halos"; "Drinkin' Problem"; "Tin Man"
Predicted winner: "Better Man," written by Taylor Swift
Moody: While Swift's departure for pop likely still stings for some country voters, she remains one of the genre's top boosters of other acts, and the fact that she wrote such a straightforward country song for one of its biggest acts goes a long way. Swift gets another country trophy for her mantel.