We’re a week into February, which means it’s due time for the 2019 Grammy Awards. This year’s edition, it’s 61st, will take place in Los Angeles once again, after celebrating its 60th year at New York City’s Madison Square Gardens. Although in many ways the Grammys have lost their prestige, and one could argue that no one really cares about them anymore, it is undoubtedly still a milestone event that we’ll all be paying attention to. At the very least, there are sure to be some iconic fits, case in point Tyler, the Creator’s leopard print hair and Ushanka hat at last year’s awards.

When the nominees were revealed, it was heartening to see that in many categories, the Academy seemed like it experienced the same year in music that most of us did, unlike some past editions. SOPHIE’s debut album got nominated in the electronic category, while Drake, Cardi B, and Kendrick Lamar led the nominations, which makes a whole lot of sense.

Just like we did last year, we’re weighing in on who we’d like to see win in each category, and our predictions for who will actually win. We had to make some near-impossible choices – between “King’s Dead” and “SICKO MODE,” for example – and as much as we loved A Star is Born, the Grammys will be pretty dull if Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper win every category they’re nominated in. After being twice nominated last year, will Cardi B finally actually walk away with an award? Will Drake clean up? Who the heck will win best rap album of the year between Cardi, Mac Miller, Nipsey Hustle, Pusha-T, and Travis Scott? Dig into our picks and predictions below, let us know your thoughts, and tune into the 2019 Grammy Awards this Sunday, February 10th at 8 p.m. EST.

Cardi B – “I Like It”
Brandi Carlile – “The Joke”
Childish Gambino – “This Is America”
Lady Gaga & Bradley Cooper – “Shallow”
Drake – “God’s Plan” – dark horse
Kendrick Lamar & SZA – “All the Stars”
Post Malone & 21 Savage – “Rockstar”
Zedd & Maren Morris – “The Middle”

We’ve got a pretty stacked lineup of contenders on our hands if we do say so ourselves. Childish Gambino’s “This Is America” was an absolute moment when it came out and Post Malone and 21 Savage’s “rockstar” was also an undeniable jam. While Cardi B’s “I Like It” was a ubiquitous hit all summer long, we hope Drake’s “God’s Plan” takes the cake here.

Our pick: Drake – “God’s Plan”

As much as the Academy has seemed to open their eyes a little more to the
ever-widening music industry, there’s no way Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper are walking away from the Grammys empty-handed. Music Editor Jake Boyer had a premonition, seeing the two of them with an armful of trophies, and I think we’re onto something here. A Star is Born is a great movie, and “Shallow” is the kind of song that doesn’t ruffle anyone’s feathers, perfect for a Record of the Year win à la Bruno Mars last year with “24K Magic.”

Our prediction: Lady Gaga & Bradley Cooper – “Shallow”

H.E.R. – H.E.R.
Brandi Carlile – By the Way, I Forgive You
Drake – Scorpion
Various Artists – Black Panther: The Album
Kacey Musgraves – Golden Hour
Post Malone – Beerbongs & Bentleys
Cardi B – Invasion of Privacy
Janelle Monáe – Dirty Computer

The newly expanded pool of nominees for Album of the Year is certainly reflected in this offbeat selection of 2018 records. As well-crafted and important the albums by the likes of Janelle Monáe and H.E.R. were, we feel safe in saying the only one of this bunch that truly deserves the title is Cardi B’s Invasion of Privacy. It broke records, it plays like a greatest hits collection, and few celebrities so accurately channeled the zeitgeist of these zany times like Cardi. She has truly earned this.

Our pick: Cardi B – Invasion of Privacy

Drake has a decent chance here, he’s an industry titan who has yet to claim the big prize, but considering half of the past decade’s Album of the Year winners went to bleeding heart pop records by Taylor Swift and Adele, the safer (and perhaps more likely) bet would be on Kacey Musgraves’ Golden Hour, an album that has redefined the country album as we know it – the exact sort of narrative the Grammys love.

Our prediction: Kacey Musgraves – Golden Hour

Kendrick Lamar & SZA – “All the Stars”
Ella Mai – “Boo’d Up”
Drake – “God’s Plan”
Shawn Mendes – “In My Blood”
Brandy Carlile – “The Joke”
Zedd & Maren Morris – “The Middle”
Lady Gaga & Bradley Cooper – “Shallow”
Childish Gambino – “This Is America”

The distinction between “Record” and “Song” of the Year is a bit confusing, allow me to attempt to explain. Song of the Year goes to the songwriter, and is more about the actual composition of the song, while Record of the Year is more about the recording of the song, and the award goes to the performing artist, the producer, recording engineer and/or mixer for that song.

All that being said, “This Is America” by Childish Gambino deserves ALL the accolades for songwriter, in our humble opinion. The lyrics! The changes in melody! It’s all absolutely incredible. If our boy Donald Glover walks away without one of those gramophones, we will be extremely bummed.

Our pick: Childish Gambino – “This Is America”

Again, if we’re going with how the Academy usually operates with their “safe” bets for the big four categories, Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper will probably also take this one. Bruno Mars took both the Record and Song categories last year, so if the status quo is anything to go by, “Shallow” will be the winner here.

Our prediction: Lady Gaga & Bradley Cooper – “Shallow”

Chloe x Halle
Luke Combs
Greta Van Fleet
Dua Lipa
Margo Price
Bebe Rexha
Jorja Smith

I will admit, i had to look up a couple of names on this list. But one that certainly stood out was H.E.R. She’s been on her grind for a while now, and her 2017 self-titled album was a sleeper hit. She might not win any of the four other categories she’s been nominated for, so our R&B queen deserves this one!

Our pick: H.E.R.

Judging by last year’s winner, Alessia Cara, the Academy might favor a commercially successful pop star yet again. In this year’s batch, that’s Dua Lipa, who had an explosive 2018 with singles like “One Kiss,” “Electricity” and “New Rules.”

Our prediction: Dua Lipa

Drake – “God’s Plan”
Kendrick Lamar, Jay Rock, Future, & James Blake – “King’s Dead”
Eminem – “Lucky You”
Travis Scott, Drake, Big Hawk, & Swae Lee – “Sicko Mode”
Jay Rock ft. Kendrick Lamar – “Win”

Every song on this list is pretty great, and major shoutouts to Kendrick Lamar and Jay Rock for appearing twice in this category. Yes “God’s Plan” is an earworm, and “King’s Dead” is absolutely unreal and includes our favorite sensitive soul James Blake, but “SICKO MODE”…. I mean…. I think Jake told me he once listened to it 43 times in a row, and I’m sure some of you have similar tales to tell. That song absolutely slaps.

Our pick: Travis Scott, Drake, Big Hawk, & Swae Lee – “Sicko Mode”

We really, really hope we’re wrong, but Jake pointed out to be that the Academy absolutely loves to give Eminem Grammys, and this is the only category he’s nominated in this year. Due to the fact that he sold more albums in 2018 than Drake and Taylor Swift combined thanks to his surprise album Kamikaze, it would not be shocking at all if the Academy wanted to recognize him for that feat alone.

Our prediction: Eminem – “Lucky You”

Cardi B – “Be Careful”
Drake – “Nice for What”
Kendrick Lamar, Jay Rock, Future, & James Blake – “King’s Dead”
Anderson .Paak – “Bubblin”
Travis Scott, Drake, Big Hawk, & Swae Lee – “Sicko Mode”

When assessing each of these on a technical level of performing, there is no way any of the nominees come close to the acrobatics on display on “King’s Dead.” It was 2018’s most essential posse cut, finding Kendrick, Jay Rock, and Future working at the peak of their powers. Each one manages to keep stealing the scene from the other while producing some of the year’s most memorable one-liners. If the Grammy voters weren’t as swayed as we were, Cardi remains a good option here.

Our pick: Kendrick Lamar, Jay Rock, Future, & James Blake – “King’s Dead”

This one’s really anybody’s game, a strong case can be made for either Drake or Cardi as the most mainstream options, but a lot of people loved both Black Panther and Astroworld, leaving “King’s Dead” or “SICKO MODE” viable options. Even Anderson .Paak is a contender, as he’s performed well with Grammy voters before. Just to follow our hearts, we’ll say this one’s going to Kendrick.

Our prediction: Kendrick Lamar, Jay Rock, Future, & James Blake – “King’s Dead”

Cardi B – Invasion of Privacy
Mac Miller- Swimming
Nipsey Hussle – Victory Lap
Travis Scott – Astroworld

This year’s nominee pool is pretty damn solid, and picking favorites here is like picking favorite children. While we can go to bat for either Cardi or Travis, we feel obliged to honor our editorial decision of naming Pusha-T’s DAYTONA the very best album of last year and giving it our love on this one.

Our pick: Pusha-T – DAYTONA

Again, this trophy could go any direction here. A strong case can be made for Mac Miller gaining a posthumous award for his final album, while if Grammy voters choose not to give Cardi the top prize of the night, they may honor her here instead. It would also make her the first ever solo female to take home this prize. While you shouldn’t count Travis out as a dark horse, we’re going to bet on Cardi.

Our prediction: Cardi B – Invasion of Privacy

Still can’t get enough of the Grammys? Check out our ranking of every winner of the Best Rap Album right here.

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