BY MELISSA RUGGIERI/AJC Music Scene
As with everything in life, Beyonce rules.
The R&B queen leads the nominations for the 59th annual Grammy Awards with nine, though she will compete with fellow megastar Adele in the three most prestigious categories.
Beyonce’s “Lemonade” goes head-to-head with Adele’s “25” – which sold more than 10 million copies in less than a year after its release in November 2015 – for album of the year. The boys daring to show some muscle in the category are Drake with “Views,” Justin Bieber with “Purpose” and Sturgill Simpson – this year’s Chris Stapleton – with “A Sailor’s Guide to Earth”.
Adele and Beyonce will also compete for record of the year with “Hello” and “Formation,” respectively (along with Lukas Graham’s “7 Years,” Rihanna’s “Work” – featuring Drake – and Twenty One Pilots’ “Stressed Out”).
The ladies vie again for song of the year with their same two hits, and will compete with Mike Posner (“I Took a Pill in Ibiza”), Bieber (“Love Yourself”) and Graham (“7 Years”).
The Grammy Awards will air live from Los Angeles on Feb. 12 on CBS. James Corden has been tapped to host.
While Drake, Rihanna and Kanye West each scored eight nominations, Chicago’s Chance the Rapper is an equally formidable competitor, earning seven nods while helping change the rules to allow streaming-only projects. His third mixtape, “Coloring Book,” became the first release to chart solely on streams and is nominated for best rap album, along with De La Soul (“And The Anonymous Nobody”), DJ Khaled (“Major Key”), Drake “(Views”), West (“The Life of Pablo”) and Schoolboy Q (“Blank Face LP”).
Chance the Rapper also appears as a best new artist contender, we well as Kelsea Ballerini, The Chainsmokers, Maren Morris and Anderson.Paak.
Adele secured five nominations overall, adding best pop solo performance (“Hello”) and best pop vocal album (“25”) to her cache.
The final work of David Bowie earned recognition as well. The icon’s “Blackstar” was nominated for best rock performance, best rock song and best alternative music album. It also earned nods for best recording package and best engineered album, non-classical.
While former-sometime-Atlantan Bieber, who launched his career here, has been nominated for Grammys a handful of times since 2011 – he won best dance recording last year for his Skrillex/Diplo collaboration, “Where Are You Now” – his emergence in major categories this year injects his career with the type of credibility he’s sought as a maturing artist.
As well as his album and song of the year appearances, Bieber will contend for best pop vocal album and best pop solo performance.
The Atlanta rap community will represent at the ceremony in a couple of categories.
Heavyweight 2 Chainz is featured on Chance the Rapper’s “No Problem” (along with Lil Wayne), which earned a nomination for best rap performance. The College Park native legally known as Tauheed Epps also scored a nod with Chance and Wayne for best rap song, a songwriter’s award.
Upstart MC Lil Yachty, who attended Pebblebrook High School in Mableton and broke through this year with the rap hits “Minnesota” and “One Night,” lands his first Grammy nomination in the best rap/sung performance category for his feature on the double platinum single “Broccoli” with Virginia rapper D.R.A.M.
In the country realm, Thomas Rhett, a Valdosta native, will vie for best country song with “Die a Happy Man,” the tune which recently won the singer a CMA Award for single of the year. He’ll compete with Keith Urban (“Blue Ain’t Your Color”), Tim McGraw (Humble and Kind,” written by Lori McKenna), Maren Morris (“My Church,” co-written with Busbee) and Miranda Lambert (“Vice,” co-written with Shane McAnally and Josh Osborne).
Atlanta transplant Crowder has his second solo album, “American Prodigal,” in the running for best contemporary Christian music album (along with All Sons & Daughters, Natalie Grant, Hillsong Young & Free and Hillary Scott & The Scott Family).
Comedian David Cross, who regularly returns to Atlanta to visit his family, will contend for best comedy album with “…America…Great…” (Margaret Cho, Tig Notaro, Amy Schumer and Patton Oswalt also compete).
And frequent nominees Steven Lance Ledbetter and Michael Graves (along with April Ledbetter, Bill Nowlin, Philip D. Schuyler and Rick Fisher) return in the best historical album category for, “Music Of Morocco From The Library Of Congress: Recorded By Paul Bowles, 1959,” on their Atlanta-based Dust-to-Digital label.
Other Atlanta-related nominees include Rick Ross (“Purple Lamborghini” collaboration with Skrillex for best song written for visual media); Mike Will Made-It (producer of Beyonce’s “Lemonade” for album of the year, “Formation” for record of the year); Musiq Soulchild (“I Do,” best R&B performance); Lauren Daigle (“Trust in You,” best contemporary Christian music performance/song); and William Bell (“This is Where I Live,” best Americana album).
For the full list of nominees, visit www.grammy.com/nominees.
Here are some of the hits from the current crop of Grammy nominees: