It is that time of year, the coveted Grammy Award nominations are set to be announced Wednesday, Dec. 3. Known for recognizing the artistry in music and not just the charts, the Grammy Awards have become the most important, if not defining, moment for recording stars in all genres. After all the Grammy Awards have crowned and pushed many R&B, Soul and Neo-Soul singers into mainstream audiences. Acts including Jill Scott, India.Aire, Outkast and Erykah Badu have enjoyed what may be called a ‘Grammy Boost’. Plus it is hard to forget Grammy winning moments for Usher (Confessions), Mariah Carey (The Emancipation of Mimi), Alicia Keys (Songs In A Minor) and Lauryn Hill, who set a record in 1999 for becoming the first woman to take home five awards in one sitting (The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill). With that said, let’s take a look at potential nominees for this years (51st Annual Grammy Awards) awards and stay clicked to Singersroom.com through Wednesday, Dec. 3 as we review 2008’s Grammy Row, a look at R&B and the Grammy’s including Best R&B Song. Today, Best R&B Album. Contenders (among others): Erykah Badu, Mary J. Blige, Al Green, Raheem DeVaughn, Jennifer Hudson, Jazmine Sullivan, Alicia Keys, and Raphael Saadiq In recent years the Best R&B album field has been occupied by some of the most classic, soulful and heart-wrenching albums. Nominees have included Chaka Khan, Ledisi, Jamie Foxx, Lionel Richie, Tank, India.Aire, and Erykah Badu. With the release of “New Amerykah Part One (4th World War),” earlier this year, Erykah Badu reminded us just how sweet soul is on “Honey,” the first single from the album. Following in the footsteps of three Best R&B Album nominations, including 2004s “Worldwide Underground,” Badu’s latest release was welcomed with opened arms. Critically acclaimed upon its release “New Amerykah Part One” picked up several near perfect reviews including an exceptional review from the UK’s Guardian. Calling the album “something special,” the Guardian says “Erykah Badu’s fourth studio album is as ambitious and insane as its title implies: part state-of-the-nation opus, part eye-opening trawl through the unexplored depths of Badu’s brain. She sketches her messages in startling lyrics that veer from oblique poetry to direct, full-force observational commentary, and transmits them in spectacular soul jams patched together with sampled chants and radio static.” If the Guardian’s review is similar to that of the Academy’s Erykah Badu is on track to pick up her fourth Grammy nod for Best R&B album. Following Erykah Badu in a year full of both exceptional and some less than desired albums is J Records recording star Alicia Keys. Unleashing what has become a mega-hit album of sorts, Alicia Keys’ “I Am” has dominated the charts, the living room, the dance floor and anywhere else you can think of. All jokes aside though, “As I Am,” released last November has been internationally acclaimed as ‘Keys best effort yet’. Featuring well received records like “Superwoman,” the Grammy Award winning “No One,” “Teenage Love Affair,” “Like You’ll Never See Me Again,” and “Savior,” “As I Am” was rated one the best albums in 2007 by PEOPLE, the New York Times, Billboard, and Rolling Stone. In addition to being well received, for the most part, sans reviews from the Chicago Tribune, The Guardian and The Washington Post, “As I Am” made history when it debuted at #1 with 742,000 copies sold, making it the highest ever first week total for a Female Artist. While Erykah Badu and Alicia Keys look to be front runners for the Best R&B album category they face well put together competition from Mary J. Blige’s “Growing Pains;” Jazmine Sullivan’s “Fearless;” Al Green’s “Lay It Down;” Raheem DeVaughn’s “The Love Experience;” Raphael Saadiq’s “The Way I See It” and Jennifer Hudson’s anticipated self titled debut. Tell Us: Who is deserving of Best R&B album ? (whether or not they’re on this short list)…… Click Here to see the Official 2009/51st Annual Grammy Award nominees * Please note: This editorial is purely for review purposes and is not representative of official nominations. All noted artists were reviewed based upon album releases between October 2007 and September 2008.
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