My 2021 GRAMMY Picks

Updated: May 12

Before I dive into this blog post and make my picks, I need to preface this by saying that I feel very strongly that this year's GRAMMY awards are a farce. By simply omitting The Weeknd, After Hours, and "Blinding Lights," I cannot take them completely seriously. In the 60+ years of the Billboard Hot 100's existence, "Blinding Lights" is the only song to spend a full year (52 weeks) in the Top 10. That's an incredible milestone that deserves every award that it's nominated for. As I write this sentence, it's currently up two spots at No. 3 (with "Save Your Tears" at No. 6). So it looks like it's going to be the song to beat for a very long time. I do think it's still an honor to receive a gramophone for one's hard work and dedication to music, but it needs to be presented to the right people. The Weeknd would've swept the GRAMMYs had he been nominated. That's a fact.

In the bizarre year that was 2020, many projects were getting delayed and postponed due to COVID-19. Major blockbuster movies (Fast & Furious 9, Black Widow, No Time To Die) were pushing their release dates to 2021. TV shows had to figure out a way to film their new seasons to avoid cancelation and keep viewership up. Luckily for us, music is vocal recording, beat making, and engineering that can be done in a basement and emailed to a collaborator. There was no shortage of chart-topping hits in 2020. Dua Lipa quickly became the year's favorite pop star, women dominated rock and roll, and songs about racial injustice and the Black Lives Matter movement were at the forefront of hip-hop. It was a weird year, but a year worth celebrating.

Record of the Year
  • “BLACK PARADE” by Beyoncé

  • “Colors” by Black Pumas

  • “ROCKSTAR” by DaBaby (feat. Roddy Ricch)

  • “Say So” by Doja Cat

  • “everything i wanted” by Billie Eilish

  • “Don’t Start Now” by Dua Lipa

  • “Circles” by Post Malone

  • “Savage (Remix)” by Megan Thee Stallion (feat. Beyoncé)

Who should win? "Don't Start Now" by Dua Lipa (Caroline Ailin & Ian Kirkpatrick, producers; Josh Gudwin, Drew Jurecka & Ian Kirkpatrick, engineers/mixers; Chris Gehringer, mastering engineer)


Who will win? "Don't Start Now" by Dua Lipa (Caroline Ailin & Ian Kirkpatrick, producers; Josh Gudwin, Drew Jurecka & Ian Kirkpatrick, engineers/mixers; Chris Gehringer, mastering engineer)


"Don't Start Now" is a perfect song, period. I'd love to see Lipa win big this weekend. She seems to be the most deserving of all the nominees. Her and her team were able to craft a track that flawlessly blends elements from the 1970s and today into three upbeat minutes. That bassline. Those strings. That artificial crowd noise in the background. Simply immaculate.

Album of the Year
  • Chilombo by Jhené Aiko

  • Black Pumas (Deluxe Edition) by Black Pumas

  • Everyday Life by Coldplay

  • Djesse Vol.3 by Jacob Collier

  • Women in Music Pt. III by HAIM

  • Future Nostalgia by Dua Lipa

  • Hollywood’s Bleeding by Post Malone

  • folklore by Taylor Swift

Who should win? Future Nostalgia by Dua Lipa (Lorna Blackwood & Koz, producers; Josh Gudwin & Cameron Gower Poole, engineers/mixers; Clarence Coffee Jr. & Dua Lipa, songwriters; Chris Gehringer, mastering engineer)


Who will win? folklore by Taylor Swift (Jack Antonoff, Aaron Dessner & Taylor Swift, producers; Jack Antonoff, Aaron Dessner, Serban Ghenea, John Hanes, Jonathan Low & Laura Sisk, engineers/mixers; Aaron Dessner & Taylor Swift, songwriters; Randy Merrill, mastering engineer)


Future Nostalgia was my second favorite album to come out of 2020 and I think it's the only one on this list that lives up to its title (OK, and I guess HAIM's). It's a cohesive collection of music that does a fantastic job at balancing sounds of the past with sounds of the future. It's the dance album we needed to listen to in order to escape the reality of a global pandemic. There's just one obstacle in Lipa's way: GRAMMY sweetheart Taylor Swift. The Recoridng Academy loves including Swift in this category and it's looking like they're on track to make her the first female solo act to have three Album of the Year GRAMMYs. If anyone but her wins this one, I will be pleasantly surprised.

Song of the Year
  • “BLACK PARADE” by Beyoncé

  • “The Box” by Roddy Ricch

  • “cardigan” by Taylor Swift

  • “Circles” by Post Malone

  • “Don’t Start Now” by Dua Lipa

  • “everything i wanted” by Billie Eilish

  • “I Can’t Breathe” by H.E.R.

  • “If The World Was Ending” by JP Saxe (feat. Julia Michaels)

Who should win? "Don't Start Now" by Dua Lipa (Caroline Ailin, Ian Kirkpatrick, Dua Lipa & Emily Warren, songwriters)


Who will win? “cardigan” by Taylor Swift (Aaron Dessner & Taylor Swift, songwriters)


I'm keeping my hopes up that Record and Song of the Year go hand in hand this year (like they usually do), so I'm optimistic that Lipa will win if she can lock down the former. However, this is another easy Swift-blocker category and "cardigan" is a worthy contender that could scoop up the gramophone here.

Best New Artist
  • Ingrid Andress

  • Phoebe Bridgers

  • Chika

  • Noah Cyrus

  • D Smoke

  • Kaytranada

  • Doja Cat

  • Megan Thee Stallion

Who should win? Megan Thee Stallion


Who will win? Megan Thee Stallion


For a third consecutive year, it's six female acts versus two male acts in this category. And for a third consecutive year, a female is going to win, and it will be Megan Thee Stallion. Who knows? Bridgers could pull through with the upset (maybe even Doja Cat), but there was no escaping Megan's flaming hot bars in 2020. "Hot Girl Summer," "Savage," and "WAP" dominated the charts and she quickly made a name for herself.

Best Pop Solo Performance
  • “Yummy” by Justin Bieber

  • “Say So” by Doja Cat

  • “Everything I Wanted” by Billie Eilish

  • “Don’t Start Now” by Dua Lipa

  • “Watermelon Sugar” by Harry Styles

  • “cardigan” by Taylor Swift

Who should win? “everything i wanted” by Billie Eilish


Who will win? “Don’t Start Now” by Dua Lipa


If Eilish can continue her momentum from last year into this year, then I think this is the category she can take. Her vocal work paired with her brother, FINNEAS', arrangement is beautiful on "eveything i wanted." The line where she sings, "but my head was under water" is award-worthy in itself. However, if this really is Lipa's big night, then I wouldn't complain about a win for her here.

Best Pop/Duo Group Performance
  • “Un Dia (One Day)” by J Balvin, Dua Lipa, Bad Bunny & Tainy

  • “Intentions” by Justin Bieber (feat. Quavo)

  • “Dynamite” by BTS

  • “Rain On Me” by Lady Gaga with Ariana Grande

  • “Exile” by Taylor Swift (feat. Bon Iver)

Who should win? "Rain on Me" by Lady Gaga with Ariana Grande


Who will win? "Rain on Me" by Lady Gaga with Ariana Grande


When you combine two of the biggest voices in today's pop music, you get the best pop duo performance. That's it. No Swift-blocking here, please.

Best Pop Vocal Album
  • Changes by Justin Bieber

  • Chromatica by Lady Gaga

  • Future Nostalgia by Dua Lipa

  • Fine Line by Harry Styles

  • folklore by Taylor Swift

Who should win? Future Nostalgia by Dua Lipa


Who will win? folklore by Taylor Swift


Realistically, this category is only going to come down to either Future Nostalgia or folklore as they're already AOTY contenders. A nomination up there means at least a win down here. That's just how it is. I clearly want a Dua Lipa Sweep Night, but it might not happen because of...you know. It's also worth mentioning that this is a stacked category as I'm a big fan of Chromatica and Fine Line. Changes was ok.

Best Rock Performance
  • “Shameika” by Fiona Apple

  • “Not” by Big Thief

  • “Kyoto” by Phoebe Bridgers

  • "The Steps” by HAIM

  • "Stay High” by Brittany Howard

  • “Daylight” by Grace Potter

Who should win? “Kyoto” by Phoebe Bridgers


Who will win? “Shameika” by Fiona Apple


Let's just take a moment to appreciate the fact that every nominated act in a rock category is either a woman, a band of women, or a band fronted by a woman. This has never happened in GRAMMYs history, so that's already a win for everyone. With that said, I don't really care who wins here, but I can see them awarding Fiona Apple's comeback in this category with "Shameika." Though "Kyoto" was one of my favorite songs from 2020.

Best Rock Song
  • “Kyoto” by Phoebe Bridgers

  • “Lost in Yesterday” by Tame Impala

  • “Not” by Big Thief

  • “Shameika” by Fiona Apple

  • “Stay High” by Brittany Howard

Who should win? "Kyoto" by Phoebe Bridgers (Phoebe Bridgers, Morgan Nagler & Marshall Vore, songwriters)


Who will win? “Shameika” by Fiona Apple (Fiona Apple, songwriter)


I have a strong adoration of the storytelling done on "Kyoto," but "Shameika" has a great message. I appreciate the background of the song, which is that it's based on a real person from Apple's childhood and that an 11 year old Shameika told her that she had "potential." Look at her now.

Best Alternative Music Album
  • Fetch the Bolt Cutters by Fiona Apple

  • Hyperspace by Beck

  • Punisher by Phoebe Bridgers

  • Jamie by Brittany Howard

  • The Slow Rush by Tame Impala

Who should win? Fetch the Bolt Cutters by Fiona Apple


Who will win? Fetch the Bolt Cutters by Fiona Apple


Fiona Apple set the bar way up high for rock music of the 2020s. Bolt Cutters was one of the best albums of last year (it received a rare perfect 10 from Pitchfork), so it's only fitting that it earns this GRAMMY. There's nothing else that quite sounds like it and anyone that tries to immitate it will fail miserably. The only thing that doesn't make sense is why it isn't nominated for Album of the Year.

Best R&B Song
  • “Better Than I Imagined” by Robert Glasper (feat. H.E.R. & Meshell Ndegeocello)

  • “BLACK PARADE” by Beyoncé

  • “Collide” by Tiana Major9 & EARTHGANG

  • “Do It” by Chloe x Halle

  • “Slow Down” by Skip Marley & H.E.R.

Who should win? "BLACK PARADE" by Beyoncé (Denisia Andrews, Beyoncé, Stephen Bray, Shawn Carter, Brittany Coney, Derek James Dixie, Akil King, Kim "Kaydence" Krysiuk & Rickie "Caso" Tice, songwriters)


Who will win? "BLACK PARADE" by Beyoncé (Denisia Andrews, Beyoncé, Stephen Bray, Shawn Carter, Brittany Coney, Derek James Dixie, Akil King, Kim "Kaydence" Krysiuk & Rickie "Caso" Tice, songwriters)


I think it's great that Beyoncé's protégés (Chloe x Halle) are nominated alongside her in this category, which just goes to show that she knows how to mentor. Even though "Do It" slaps hard, "BLACK PARADE" is the perfect anthem for celebrating ones own blackness and being proud of where you come from. There's no way Bey loses here.

Best Progressive R&B Album
  • Chilombo by Jhené Aiko

  • Ungodly Hour by Chloe x Halle

  • Free Nationals by Free Nationals

  • Fuck Yo Feelings by Robert Glasper

  • It Is What It Is by Thundercat

Who should win? Ungodly Hour by Chloe x Halle


Who will win? Chilombo by Jhené Aiko


Love Jhené. Chilombo is a great album and it's going to win this category, but Chloe x Halle's Ungodly Hour is one of the best sophomore albums I've listened to in a long time. I just need to put that out there. But congrats, Jhené, on your first GRAMMY ever! Happy for you!

Best Rap Performance
  • “Deep Reverence” by Big Sean (feat. Nipsey Hussle)

  • “BOP” by DaBaby

  • “What’s Poppin” by Jack Harlow

  • “The Bigger Picture” by Lil Baby

  • “Savage (Remix)” by Megan Thee Stallion (feat. Beyoncé)

  • “Dior” by Pop Smoke

Who should win? “Savage (Remix)” by Megan Thee Stallion (feat. Beyoncé)


Who will win? “Savage (Remix)” by Megan Thee Stallion (feat. Beyoncé)


I can definitely see Pop Smoke receiving a posthmous award to honor his contributions to rap music and I think we'd all be fine with that. However, for the first time in this category, two women can (and will) win this award. And one of them is Beyoncé. We love to see it.

Best Melodic Rap Performance
  • “ROCKSTAR” by DaBaby (feat. Roddy Ricch)

  • “Laugh Now Cry Later” by Drake (feat. Lil Durk)

  • “Lockdown” by Anderson .Paak

  • “The Box” by Roddy Ricch

  • “Highest in the Room” by Travis Scott

Who should win? “The Box” by Roddy Ricch or “Lockdown” by Anderson .Paak


Who will win? “Laugh Now Cry Later” by Drake (feat. Lil Durk)


The name change of this category is hilarious to me. It shouldn't be, but it is. Anyway, I like that Roddy Ricch has a 40% chance of winning here and "The Box" was a breakthrough hit. I feel it deserves a GRAMMY. The same goes for .Paak's "Lockdown" due to its lyrical content and the fact that I think it's the closest to "melodic rap" out of all the nominees. My gut is telling me that Drake is taking this one, though. I don't know why. (But remember when "Hotline Bling" won over Kanye's "Famous" and "Ultralight Beam" in 2017? "Hotline Bling!")

Best Rap Song
  • “The Bigger Picture” by Lil Baby

  • “The Box” by Roddy Ricch

  • “Laugh Now Cry Later” by Drake (feat. Lil Durk)

  • “ROCKSTAR” by DaBaby (feat. Roddy Ricch)

  • “Savage (Remix)” by Megan Thee Stallion (feat. Beyoncé)

Who should win? “The Bigger Picture” by Lil Baby (Dominique Jones, Noah Pettigrew & Rai'shaun Williams, songwriters)


Who will win? “Savage (Remix)” by Megan Thee Stallion (feat. Beyoncé) (Beyoncé, Shawn Carter, Brittany Hazzard, Derrick Milano, Terius Nash, Megan Pete, Bobby Session Jr., Jordan Kyle Lanier Thorpe & Anthony White, songwriters)


This award is given to "quality rap songs," and Lil Baby's track about police brutality and systemic racism perfectly encapsulates what the U.S. was experiencing in 2020, so it's deserving purely based on his lyrics. On the other hand, it's hard to ignore the fact that "quality" of "Savage (Remix)" is sublime. Just look at how many people contributed to it! (Also, remember when "Hotline Bling" won over Kanye's "Famous" and "Ultralight Beam in 2017? Yes. It happened in this category, too!)

Best Rap Album
  • Black Habits by D Smoke

  • Alfredo by Freddie Gibbs & The Alchemist

  • A Written Testimony by Jay Electronica

  • King’s Disease by Nas

  • The Allegory by Royce 5’9”

Who should win? Alfredo by Freddie Gibbs & The Alchemist


Who will win? Alfredo by Freddie Gibbs & The Alchemist


Honestly, this is a pretty weak group of contenders, except for Alfredo. I don't even have an explanation or a reason other than it's a great album. They'll win. I just need someone to explain to me why RTJ4 by Run The Jewels isn't listed here.

Best Music Video
  • “Brown Skin Girl” by Beyonce, Blue Ivy & Wizkid

  • “Life is Good” by Future (feat. Drake)

  • “Lockdown” by Anderson .Paak

  • “Adore You” by Harry Styles

  • “Goliath” by Woodkid


Who should win? “Brown Skin Girl” by Beyonce, Blue Ivy & Wizkid (Beyoncé Knowles-Carter & Jenn Nkiru, video directors; Astrid Edwards, Aya Kaido, Jean Mougin, Nathan Scherrer & Erinn Williams, video producers)


Who will win? “Brown Skin Girl” by Beyonce, Blue Ivy & Wizkid (Beyoncé Knowles-Carter & Jenn Nkiru, video directors; Astrid Edwards, Aya Kaido, Jean Mougin, Nathan Scherrer & Erinn Williams, video producers)


"Life is Good" is amusing, "Adore You" is odd (in a good way), and "Lockdown" is powerful (and the only strong contender here). However, "Brown Skin Girl" hits all the right marks. The creativity, direction, art direction, and overall concept is stunning.

Best Music Film
  • Beastie Boys Story by Beastie Boys

  • Black is King by Beyoncé

  • We Are Freestyle Love Supreme by Freestyle Love Supreme

  • Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice by Linda Rondstadt

  • The Little Ol’ Band From Texas by ZZ Top

Who should win? Black is King by Beyoncé


Who will win? Black is King by Beyoncé


I will riot if it's not Black is King. It's the perfect anthology of The Lion King: The Gift and parallels very nicely with the 2019 Disney film.

Best Contemporary Christian Music Album
  • Run to the Father by Cody Carnes

  • All of My Best Friends by Hillsong Young & Free

  • Holy Water by We The Kingdom

  • Citizen of Heaven by Tauren Wells

  • Jesus is King by Kanye West

Who should win? Jesus is King by Kanye West


Who will win? I have no idea, but I hope it's Jesus is King by Kanye West


I have never cared about this category until now. How incredible would it be to see Kanye West go one for one at this years GRAMMYs in a category that he's never been a part of? And for Jesus is King, arguably his weakest body of work to date. I need to see that happen.

Who do you want to see win on Music's Biggest Night?