Grammys 2013: Breaking Down Some Of The Lesser Known Categories

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All week long here on VH1 Tuner, we’ve been outlining the 2013 Grammys favorites in the four major categories: Best New Artist, Record Of The Year, Song Of The Year and Album Of The Year. With tomorrow night’s broadcast of the 55th Annual Grammy Awards just over 24 hours away, we thought we’d take a look at some incredibly compelling races in some of the lesser known categories: Best Rap Song, Best Rap ALbum, Best Pop Solo Performance and Best Album Notes.


Choosing between Nas’s “Daughters,” Jay-Z and Kanye West’s “N***** In Paris” and G.O.O.D. Music’s “Mercy” just isn’t fair, but somebody’s got to do it. Also nominated are Wale ft. Miguel’s “Lotus Flower Bomb” (a huge record in its own right) and Wiz Khalifa and Snoop Dogg ft. Bruno Mars’s “Young, Wild & Free” (a song that barely made any waves). “Mercy” was the summer’s anthem and we’re sure even grandmas across America know the refrain “Lamborghini, mercy.” Meanwhile, “N***as in Paris” was a global phenom that had concertgoers everywhere going bonkers for up to 11 performances of the song in one show. But the storytelling of “Daughters,” a song any man raising a baby girl could relate to, had the hardest of grown men rapping and nodding their heads.—Bene Viera


Of the six competitors for Best Rap Album, the Academy will likely lean toward the more wholesome albums than not, meaning 2 Chainz and Rick Ross will have a seat Sunday night, and stay seated. Considering both of their albums weren’t as good as the mixtapes they released during this Grammy cycle, them taking that L shouldn’t put a bee in anyone’s bonnet. With four solid albums remaining in contention, there’s no doubt that Drake’s Take Care and Nas’ Life Is Good lead the pack, but Lupe and The Roots have that less-mainstream appeal that often gets “chose” in these situations. If life was actually fair, Queens’ own Nasir Jones would emerge victorious in this category; Drake still has time to win Grammys, and Nas —whose mantle remains Grammy-free after 11 solo LPs— pulled off an almost flawless, topical, grown-man record, and should be handsomely rewarded for his efforts.—Lacey Seidman


For me, this category is a two-way race between Carly Rae Jepsen and Rihanna. Kelly Clarkson is back and better than ever, but “Stronger” continues an unfortunate trend of crafting pop songs around overused idioms (“Mr. Know It All” before that!). Katy Perry’s “Wide Awake” may have been an important product of her divorce papers <em>emotionally</em> speaking, but it’s stunted and choppy in a “E.T.”-reject pile sort of way, and while seeing Adele with ANYTHING is always a joy, it feels a little cheap that she snuck in there with a “live” nomination. But then again, she is the reigning Grammy queen… Simply acknowledging last year’s full-blown phenomenon should be enough for Carly Rae Jepsen, and—without knocking her talent—the song is pure pop perfection largely because of its giddy structure and surprisingly lovely lyrics. Rihanna’s “Where Have You Been” is arguably the second best song on <em>Talk That Talk</em> with its different movements and her tantalizing Barbadian patois throughout.—Emily Exton

Best Album Notes

Apparently there’s a Grammy for Best Album Notes. You know that booklet with the pictures of half-naked Rihanna stuffed in your physical CD (what’s that) package? People actually get nominated for writing the liner notes snaked around RiRi’s underboob. This year’s nominees include album note authors of The Beatles’ “50th Anniversary Edition Hans Olof Gottfridsson,” Janis Joplin’s “The Pearl Sessions,” and Ray Charles’ “Singular Genius: The Complete ABC Singles.” Notably absent from the list is Taylor Swift’s “Red.” Full disclosure, I haven’t seen liners for the nominated albums. But, you can’t tell me Taylor’s hand-written, coded messages hidden in the lyrics of each song naming which boyfriend she’s burning don’t deserve a statue. Do better, Academy! Lucky for Swifties out there, Taylor might still get to make her patented surprised “I won!” face for Record of The Year, Best Country Duo/Group Performance and Best Song Written for Visual Media.—Felicia Daniels

[Photo: Getty Images]