Chance the Rapper took home three well deserved trophies without being signed to a record label. In the process, he beat established artists like Kanye West and Drake for Best Rap Album. This he pulled off with The Coloring Book, a streaming exclusive that would not have been eligible for consideration in previous years. He also overcame bias against hip-hop in the general field by winning Best New Artist – feats that even Kendrick Lamar or Kanye West could not claim.
David Bowie swept all his nominations and being given more would still not be an overkill. It’s easy to become sentimental and emotional over the death of a legend. But it would be a tragedy to deprive his record of glory it already merited prior to his passing. The academy still made three mistakes related to David Bowie – that was overlooking Blackstar for Album of the Year and the title track for Record of the Year and Song of the Year.
Solange had the odds stacked against her and decimating odds might be in the Knowles gene. Her victory in Best R&B Performance was a pleasant surprise. She released her best effort in the same year her sister rewrote music history. The members saw through this obstruction and ended up rewarding a worthy winner.
Adele destroyed everything in her way and it wasn’t pretty. 25 is no 21. At best, it will be forgotten. At worst, this decision will be regretted.
Rihanna came in with six nominations and walked away with zero wins. Looking at artists who prevailed in her categories, all of them I could find a justifiable reason to reward. That’s the sad part – Needed Me, Kiss It Better and Work are brilliant but so are Cranes in the Sky, Lake by the Ocean and Stressed Out. Yes, even after Twenty One Pilots stripped to their underwear, this fact holds true.
Kanye West is crazy but his record was damn brilliant. It’s not difficult to comprehend why the reception to his album was lukewarm. But if any other artist came out and released The Life of Pablo, there would be a big outcry by now for its lack of recognition.
Beyonce delivered the best album of 2016 and one of the best this lifetime will ever come across, but I guess that is never enough. After Brexit and Trump, I should’ve seen this coming. Expecting Adele might pull off a repeat of 21’s winning streak did not reduce the stinging pain, not even a little bit. It’s that moment when you start to hope and reality slaps you in the face.
A 9 for 9 for Beyonce would not have been warranted. For one second, I never thought Don’t Hurt Yourself with Jack White deserved Best Rock Performance or that Daddy Lessons being snubbed from country categories was an injustice. But Album of the Year hurts. It still does.