JAY-Z, Kendrick Lamar, Bruno Mars Lead 2018 Grammy Nominations

A year after Beyoncé topped the 2017 Grammy Awards nominations, her hubby is following suit. 

JAY-Z leads this year's pack with eight nods, including album of the year for 4:44, his critically acclaimed meditation on success, marriage and being black in America. He is joined in the Recording Academy's top category by Childish Gambino (Awaken! My Love), Kendrick Lamar (DAMN.), Lorde (Melodrama) and Bruno Mars (24K Magic).

It's the first album-of-the-year nod for JAY-Z (real name: Shawn Carter) as a lead artist, after being nominated as featured on Lamar's good kid, m.A.A.d city, Lil Wayne's Tha Carter III and Beyoncé's self-titled effort. With 21 wins and 74 nominations, the 47-year-old rap titan now ties Stevie Wonder and Georg Solti as the third most-nominated artist in Grammys history, behind Quincy Jones (79) and Paul McCartney (74). 

JAY-Z's dominance is reflective of a more diverse slate across major categories, with hip-hop and R&B artists eclipsing pop, rock and country. In record of the year, his The Story of O.J. is nominated alongside Gambino's Redbone, Lamar's HUMBLE., Mars' 24K Magic and Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee's Despacito featuring Justin Bieber. The latter is also nominated for song of the year with JAY-Z's 4:44, Mars' That's What I Like, Julia Michaels' Issues and Logic's 1-800-273-8255 featuring Alessia Cara and Khalid. 

Michaels, Cara and Khalid all scored nominations in the best new artist category, which is rounded out by R&B chanteuse SZA and rapper Lil Uzi Vert, both of whom scored streaming summer hits in The Weekend and XO Tour Llif3, respectively. 

This year's nominees represent "a great statement about diversity: not only in terms of the artists, but the membership that makes those choices," says Recording Academy president Neil Portnow. "It also shows that hip hop and urban music is so prevalent. It pervades society to an extent where it really is reflective of the times, and that's how we would wish to be presenting our nominations in any given year. In some respects, it may be historic and that's something we're very proud of."

Lamar, with seven nominations, and Mars, with six, also made strong showings in below-the-line categories. DAMN., Lamar's third album-of-the-year contender after good kid and To Pimp a Butterfly, is in the running for best rap album, while its explosive lead single, HUMBLE., is up for best rap song, performance and music video. Mars, fresh off a 2016 win for record of the year (Mark Ronson's Uptown Funk) is vying for R&B album against Gambino, another major player with five nods. 

Grammy nominations are voted on by 13,000 industry professionals, with more than 22,000 entries submitted to the Recording Academy. In order to be eligible this year, recordings must have been released between Oct. 1, 2016, and Sept. 30. 

The 60th annual Grammy Awards will be broadcast live on CBS on Jan. 28 (7:30 ET / 4:30 PT) from New York's Madison Square Garden. The ceremony, which has been held at Los Angeles' Staples Center in recent years, returns to the East Coast for the first time since 2003. 

© Gannett Co., Inc. 2017. All Rights Reserved


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