Jay Z, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis and Kendrick Lamar topped nominations.
Will hip-hop dominate the 56th annual Grammy Awards? It certainly dominated the nominations, which were announced Friday night in a live TV special featuring mostly pop stars, including Katy Perry, Taylor Swift and Robin Thicke.
Hip-hop mogul Jay Z garnered the most nominations, nine, and Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, who scored two of the biggest commercial rap songs in years with “Thrift Shop” and “Can’t Hold Us,” tied for second, with seven. That was no surprise. But the act they tied with is — Kendrick Lamar, a critically revered Los Angeles rapper whose million-selling, guest-filled (including Jay Z) “good kid, m.A.A.d city” is up for album of the year.
Producer/songwriter/singer Pharrell Williams also earned seven nominations, as did Justin Timberlake, although he was shut out for album, song and record of the year despite his “The 20/20 Experience” being the second-bestselling album of the year, behind Swift’s “Red,” which is a finalist for top album. She’s competing against Macklemore’s “Heist,” Lamar’s disc, dance-pop vets Daft Punk’s commercial breakthrough “Random Access Memories” and, surprisingly, Sara Bareilles’ piano pop collection “The Blessed Unrest,” which has been neither a commercial nor a critical success.
The nominees in the so-called Big Four categories are chosen by a blue-ribbon industry panel, whereas the other nominees are voted on by members of the Recording Academy.
Daft Punk picked up four nods, including record of the year for the bouncy party anthem “Get Lucky.” It’s competing against Imagine Dragons’ explosive rocker “Radioactive,” Lorde’s left-field whine “Royals,” Bruno Mars’ reggae-tinged “Locked Out of Heaven” and Thicke’s catchy but controversial “Blurred Lines,” for which he’s being sued for copyright infringement by Marvin Gaye’s estate because of its resemblance to his 1977 hit “Got to Give It Up.”
Song-of-the-year nods didn’t mirror those of the top record category. Only “Royals” and “Locked Out of Heaven” showed up again, vying against Pink’s “Just Give Me a Reason,” Perry’s “Roar” and Mack- lemore’s gay marriage anthem “Same Love.”
Even though “Royals” was one of the year’s biggest hits, Lorde, the 17-year-old upstart from New Zealand, didn’t make the cut for best new artist. The recognition went to hip-hop-influenced British singer Ed Sheeran, clever country tunesmith Kacey Musgraves, critically beloved British downtempo popmeister James Blake, rapper Kendrick Lamar and Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, who are competing in all the Big Four categories.
The eligibility period is Oct. 1, 2012, through Sept. 30, 2013. The Grammy Awards are set for Jan. 26. For a list of nominees in all 82 categories, go to www.grammy.com./
Twitter: @JonBream • 612-673-1719