Best Urban Contemporary Album
Will Win/Should Win - Beyonce "Beyonce"
Could Win - Pharrell Williams "G I R L"
Commentary - Two Album of the Year nominees coming out of R&B this year is great news for a genre that has had trouble in the general categories for a while. It also makes for an interesting battle in this race. First, let me say, Grammy voters, the title of this category is insulting, and just go back to Contemporary and Traditional R&B. It makes sense, and is not such a desperate attempt to look hip. That rant now being over, let me say that I would be shocked if Beyonce lost here. I know that Grammy voters have fallen in love with Pharrell (how else do you explain that undeserved Album of the Year nomination?), but her album was the biggest of the year, and has a real shot at the top prize. I think she wins pretty easily.
Best R&B Album
Will Win/Should Win - Toni Braxton and Babyface "Love, Marriage & Divorce"
Could Win - Robert Glasper Experiment "Black Radio 2" or Aloe Blacc "Lift Your Spirit"
Commentary - Robert Glasper won R&B album for the first Black Radio, and could easily win again, and Aloe Blacc is the new R&B superstar who has had two major radio hits this past year. But I think that the dynamic duo of Toni Braxton and Babyface, both multiple Grammy winners, will be hard for voters to pass up. Plus, their album is fantastic, got great reviews, and they are legends. Once again, hard to pass up on a ballot.
Best R&B Performance
Will Win - Beyonce feat. Jay-Z "Drunk in Love"
Could Win - Jennifer Hudson feat. R. Kelly "It's Your World"
Should Win - Ledisi "Like This"
Commentary - I have never been a big fan of Drunk in Love, it is just not that great of a record, in my opinion, but Beyonce and Jay-Z are mega stars, the album is fantastic as a whole, and of the bunch it is the most recognizable hit, with the most exposure. Queen B continues her dominance.
Best Traditional R&B Performance
Will Win/Should Win - Marsha Ambrosius and Anthony Hamilton "As"
Could Win - Robert Glasper Experiment feat. Lalah Hathaway and Malcolm-Jamal Warner "Jesus Children"
Commentary - Not really sure where to go here, as Robert Glasper could get a consolation prize if he loses R&B album, but I think that Marsha Ambrosius and Anthony Hamilton, both Grammy favorites, will win here. Like I said, both are well-liked by these voters, and their rendition of Stevie Wonder's As (one of my favorite Stevie Wonder songs by the way), is stunning.
Best R&B Song
Will Win - Shawn Carter, Rasool Diaz, Noel Fisher, Jerome Harmon, Beyonce Knowles, Timothy Mosely, Andre Eric Proctor & Brian Soko "Drunk in Love"
Could Win - Ronald “Flip” Colson, Warren “Oak” Felder, Usher Raymond IV, Jameel Roberts, Terry “Tru” Sneed & Andrew “Pop” Wansel "Good Kisser" or Eric Bellinger, Chris Brown, James Chambers, Malissa Hunter, Justin Booth Johnson, Mark Pitts, Usher Raymond IV, William Roberts, Maurice "Verse" Simmonds & Keith Thomas "New Flame"
Should Win - Good Kisser
Commentary - Once again, I think that Drunk in Love and Queen B conquer the R&B categories this year, although, Good Kisser and New Flame would be a good way to honor a lot of songwriters in the business that do a lot of great work.