The NeighbourHOOD Grammys Committee brings you the most hotly anticipated awards show of the year, #HOODGrammys2019
Album of the Year | DAYTONA, Pusha T
“It was written like Nas but it came from Quentin”
Nominations | ASTROWORLD, Travis Scott | Invasion of Privacy, Cardi B | Black Panther, Various Artists | FM!, Vince Staples | Victory Lap, Nipsey Hussle | Book of Ryan, Royce da 5’9’’
ASTROWORLD marked Travis’ Graduation moment – when his music transcends hip-hop and receives mainstream recognition. However, for all the stellar curation that Travis offers, what this album lacks in bars will always prevent it from taking home Album of the Year. Invasion of Privacy represented an impressive debut and her Best Rap Album victory at the Grammys represents the latest fascinating development in her remarkable career. However, much like ASTROWORLD, what the album lacks in bars and pure lyrical, rapping ability prevents it from taking home the HOOD Grammy. Book of Ryan is an autobiographical masterpiece. The album is by no means perfect but Royce makes up for the shortcomings by weaving an introspective story of his life into every song.
With Daytona, Pusha T delivers a collection of timeless luxury raps, living up to the album’s name. It does what all the other albums in the seven-track G.O.O.D. Music roll out failed to do – making you want to re-up the album like your local Pusha re-ups on the pack. Production on the album has been crafted with the precision and brilliance we’ve seen from Kanye in the past. Here it’s displayed in a continuous uniform state of one sample-based instrumental after the other. This, with Pusha’s lyricism on the topic of the inner-workings and tribulations of drug dealing represent the essence of hip-hop, spanning from the Big Daddy Kane’s to the Jay-Z’s. Despite its brevity, Daytona is a worthy winner of Album of the Year
Honourable Shoutouts | Swimming, Mac Miller | Nasir, Nas
Swimming represented the latest development in Mac Miller’s musical journey of maturing, which we had been following with each albums. It is a cruel shame that this journey was cut short by his tragic, untimely death. R.I.P. Mac. Nasir is a testament to Nas’ longevity within the rap game. Although he has been rapping for a considerable amount of time, he is still able to deliver a solid project. The lyrics are deep and meaningful, resonating with the audience as he delivers his message.
Song of the Year | ‘SICKO MODE’, Travis Scott ft. Drake
“I did half a Xan, 13 hours ‘til I land / Had me out like a light”
Nominations | ‘Mo Bamba’, Sheck Wes | ‘God’s Plan’, Drake | ‘I Like It’, Cardi B
Although Cardi B’s infectious party tune ‘I Like It’ and Sheck Wes’ ubiquitous white boy mosh pit anthem, ‘Mo Bamba’ were both solid tunes, this category came down to two standout smash hits – Drake’s ‘God’s Plan’ and the Drake-assisted Travis Scott number one, ‘SICKO MODE’. Deciding between these two got pretty heated but in the end, since the Grammys awarded Drake with Best Rap Song ‘God’s Plan’ and it’s still fuck the Grammys all day, the committee decided to award Young La Flame. ‘SICKO MODE’ is a Drake and Travis-infused banger of epic proportions. Drake comes through with a new flow, fresh out of the OVO sweatshop. The use of distorted organs serves to give the track an eerie feel and the beat change adds to the track’s unique flavour. Travis Scott serves as the orchestrator behind this track, bringing Drake and Swae Lee in with perfect timing.
Honourable Shoutouts | ‘Mob Ties’, Drake
‘Mob Ties’ is Drake’s love letter to the cruddy lifestyle he wishes to embrace. He tried it with ‘Headlines’ and failed but, with ‘Mob Ties’, he has succeeded in adding a lavish touch to a lifestyle that few would understand.
R&B Album of the Year | My Dear Melancholy, The Weeknd
“And I know right now that we’re not talkin’ / I hope you know this dick is still an option”
Nominations | East Atlanta Love Letter, 6LACK | Lost & Found, Jorja Smith | Isolation, Kali Uchis
Kali Uchis’ Isolation is a certified bop, however its pop-leaning sound meant it was difficult to categorise as R&B and even more difficult to justify as R&B Album of the Year. Jorja Smith’s Lost & Found is another excellent debut and would probably take home Debut Album of the Year, if not for Cardi B. This category ultimately came down to 6LACK and The Weeknd and, despite The Weeknd’s offering only being an EP, the committee had to go with the lightskin sensei supreme, Abel.
My Dear Melancholy, is The Weeknd in one of his rawest and most exposed forms to date. We see Abel’s growth, not only as an artist, but as a person as he transitions from making music about partying, drugs etc. to having an EP solely dedicated to dealing with his feelings of heartbreak. It’s a bittersweet moment to see one’s sensei go through such feelings of turmoil, however it gives us an opportunity to view The Weeknd through a different lens, one that allows us to see his compassion and vulnerability, whilst also dissecting the negative aspects of how he deals with such emotion.
Honourable Shoutouts | K.T.S.E., Teyana Taylor | Suncity, Khalid | November, SiR | Lady Lady, Masego
SiR’s November is another smooth offering from TDE’s resident male R&B afficianado. It is a real shame that Teyana Taylor let Kanye West get his hands on her album because we suspect her vision for the project was far greater and her creativity was stifled by G.O.O.D. Music’s strict seven-track regime. Masego’s Lady Lady is by far the smoothest listen of the year and, if it weren’t for its neo-soul/ jazzy instrumentation taking it out of the conversation for R&B Album of the Year, it would easily have swept up an award.
UK Song of the Year | ‘Homerton B’, Unknown T
“Baby, bend ya’ back and then dig it”
Nominations | ‘Jumpy (Remix)’, Ambush Buzzworl ft. Chip & Skepta | ‘Funky Friday’, Dave & Fredo | ‘Know Better’, Headie One ft. RV | ‘Options’, NSG
This year has been a stellar year for singles in the UK, with the seemingly ancient art of crafting an album being almost wholly abandoned by the scene in lieu of infectious drill and afro swing tunes. Headie One led the drill charge with ‘Know Better’. Dave & Fredo had a massive achievement with their ‘Funky Friday’ banger, which made it to number one.
This category ultimately came down to a decision between Ambush Buzzworl’s ‘Jumpy (Remix) and Unknown T. Although the award almost went to Ambush for his hypnotic “sweet one” ad-lib, Unknown T emerged victorious. ‘Homerton B’ is the only drill tune that you’re allowed to catch a whine to at carnival and it not be weird.
Honourable Shoutouts | ‘Boasy’, Avelino | ‘Money Right’, Dizzee Rascal ft. Skepta | ‘Dancing Man’, J Hus
Free J Hus. J Hus needs to be free so that Summer can officially begin – the sun won’t shine until the Bouff Daddy is free.
R&B Song of the Year | ‘Call Out My Name’, The Weeknd
“Girl, why can’t you wait ‘til I fall out of love?”
Nominations | ‘February 3rd’, Jorja Smith | ‘After The Storm’, Kali Uchis ft. Tyler, The Creator & Bootsy Collins | ‘Better’, Khalid | ‘Sorry’, 6LACK
‘Call Out My Name’ represented an anthem marking the return of The Weeknd that we have been missing. Who knew all it needed was for Abel to have his heart broken for him to really enter his bag and give us the music that we deserve from him? It might sound selfish, but we’re really hoping Gigi Hadid breaks his heart so he can give us a classic R&B album for the ages.
Collab Track of the Year | ‘Drip Too Hard’, Gunna & Lil Baby
“Drip too hard, don’t stand too close / You gon’ fuck around and drown off this wave”
Nominations | ‘Potato Salad’, A$AP Rocky & Tyler, The Creator | ‘Wow Freestyle’, Jay Rock ft. Kendrick Lamar | ‘Reborn’, KIDS SEE GHOSTS | ‘OTW’, Khalid ft. Ty Dolla $ign & 6LACK
This was the most hotly-contested category and proved the most difficult for us to reach a decision. To be honest, the winner of this category changes depending on mood. A$AP and Tyler together create magic. We’ve seen it time and time again, they truly are a dream team and ‘Potato Salad’ is the latest proof of that. Let’s hope the rumoured collab album provs to be true. Jay Rock and Kendrick Lamar effortlessly swap bars on ‘Wow Frestlye’ and their chemistry is evident from start to finish. Of this category, ‘OTW’ could be described as the only truly collaborative effort since it is the only track with more than two contributors. The three R&B crooners join forces to craft some magic here.
Ultimately, the award had to go to Gunna and Lil Baby. The dynamic duo and direct descendants of Young Thug join forces almost as well as Gohan and Trunks following the fusion dance in Dragonball Z to create one of the year’s most infectious trap bangers. The two have seemingly learnt from the mistakes of Future and Young Thug before them and have made sure to join forces at the start of their careers, as their buzz is about to enter its most feverish hype. This union can only serve to improve their respective careers.
Feature Verse of the Year | Jay Z – ‘What’s Free’, Meek Mill [Championships]
“On God, it’s off the head, this improv but it’s no comedy / Sign I fail? Hell nah / (Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha)”
Nominations | Don Toliver – ‘CAN’T SAY’, Travis Scott [ASTROWORLD] | J. Cole – ‘Off Deez’, J.I.D. [DiCaprio 2] | Cardi B – ‘Backin’ It Up’, Pardison Fontaine |Drake – ‘Look Alive’, Blocboy JB | Joyner Lucas – ‘Lucky You’, Eminem [Kamikaze] | 2 Chainz – ‘X’ [Black Panther]
This was by far the easiest category to decide. If it weren’t for Jay-Z dropping one of the best and most important verses of his career, trap newcomer Don Toliver (who has been described as as Trap Michael Jackson, would have swept this category with his unique and almost disrespectfully hard verse on Travis Scott’s ‘CAN’T SAY’. When someone is giving you a look with a guest spot on their album, you are not meant to come this hard. Especially if you are relativeley unknown. Don Toliver doesn’t care. Drake had arguably the best feature run in 2018 and this was launched by his verse on Blocboy JB’s ‘Look Alive’ at the top of the year. Drake did what Drake does – he floated on the beat and stole the song for himself, whilst simultaneously putting Blocboy JB on and catapulting the song into the top five. This has become a tried-and-tested formula almost as old as time itself and it shows no signs of failing any time soon. J. Cole ran features in 2018, seemingly running a campaign to jump on every rapper’s tune and murder every beat. This is unprecedented behaviour from rap’s resident recluse but, after a lukewarm reception to his K.O.D. album, this was an easy way for him to remain relevant and keep his name in the conversation. Any number of J. Cole features could have been selected for this nomination but, in the end, it went to his verse on J.I.D.’s project. J. Cole impressed by keeping pace with the rapid spitter J.I.D. and dropping one of the bars of the year -“y’all n****s homonyms, sounding the same”. Mind blown.
Jay-Z’s verse provides an insight into the concept of freedom, viewed from multiple perspectives, whether it be from a historical viewpoint of the Black American struggle, or a look at the current plight of the Black community. However, he adds a personal aspect to it as he journeys from these perspectives to how it personally affects him, his family and his friends. He likens current machinations of the music industry to slavery, where artists are trapped in 360 deals which are not only difficult to get out of, but also take significant amounts of the artist’s revenue, leaving them trapped in what is almost a perpetual cycle. He ends his verse demonstrating his resolve to be and remain free, mentioning his past and current escapades.
Honourable Shoutouts | J. Cole – ‘a lot’, 21 Savage [i am > i was] | J. Cole – ‘My Boy’, Wale [Free Lunch – EP]
Newcomer of the Year | Lil Baby
“Wah-wah-wah, bitch I’m Lil Baby”
Nominations | Gunna | Blocboy JB | Sheck Wes
Blocboy JB and Sheck Wes both burst onto the scene with smash hits but their lack of sustained success through a debut project (Blocboy JB is yet to drop his debut and nobody was trying to hear Sheck Wes’ Mudboy ) meant it would be difficult to justify them winning this category.
Therefore, this category ultimately came down to frequent collaborators Gunna and Lil Baby. It feels weird to have the two compete, especially when they work so much better together. Although Gunna had a stellar year features-wise, the award has to go to Lil Baby, by virtue of the fact he dropped three solid projects in his breakthrough year.
Producer of the Year | Tay Keith
“Tay Keith, f*** these n****s up”
Nominations | Kanye West | Metro Boomin | Wheezy | Boi1da | Murda Beatz
Although Boi1da, Murda Beatz and Wheezy held it down with solid production this year, there were three clear frontrunners in this category – Metro Boomin, Kanye West and Tay Keith. Having had a stranglehold over the NeighbourHOOD Grammys Producer of the Year award since its inception four years ago, this year saw Metro Boomin’s dominance start to wane. In a quiet year for Young Metro, he still managed to deliver a solid, nomination-worthy album in November’s NOT ALL HEROES WEAR CAPES, which was enough to keep his name in the conversation. If we’re keeping it 100, Kanye West deserves to win this category for the immense feat of producing five albums this summer. However, it’s still fuck Donald Trump all day (word to YG) and Tay Keith is a worthy winner after fucking these n****s up all year.