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September 2, 2014
Sunday, December 8, 2013

Jay Z tops Grammy nominations with nine nods

Aubrey Drake Graham, aka Drake, performs at Philips Arena.
By Chris Talbott
AP (*)

Jay Z easily led Grammy Award nominations announced on Friday night with nine, but left-of-centre rappers Macklemore & Ryan Lewis and Kendrick Lamar were among a group of new stars who took many of the major nominations.

Macklemore and Lewis’ gay marriage anthem Same Love was among song of the year nominees and the Seattle rap crew joined Los Angeles rapper Lamar with seven nominations apiece, including best album and best new artist of the year. Pharrell Williams had four major nominations among his seven and Justin Timberlake also had seven.

Macklemore and Lewis dominated a nominations TV special from the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles that also included performances by nominees Taylor Swift, Katy Perry, Lorde and Robin Thicke. They opened the show with a colourful, high-energy version of their hit Thrift Shop, featuring Wanz, and immediately picked up a song of the year nomination for Same Love.

Two nominations later, Ben Haggerty, the rapper known as Macklemore, was noting it was a “very surreal moment,” during an on-air interview with host LL Cool J. “It’s like we’re not supposed to be here, but we’re here with LL Cool J.”

Recording Academy favourites Timberlake and Jay Z teamed up for two nominations apiece, but they only had one major nomination between them this year and that came for Jay Z’s participation on Lamar’s album of the year nominee good kid, m.A.A.d city instead of his own Magna Carta... Holy Grail.

Williams, who seemed to be everywhere in 2013, is up for producer of the year and faces himself in three categories, including record of the year for Get Lucky with Daft Punk and Blurred Lines with Robin Thicke, and album of the year entries Random Access Memories by Daft Punk and Lamar’s good kid.

Drake and sound engineer Bob Ludwig were next on the nominees list with five apiece.

Joining Lamar, Macklemore and Lewis and Daft Punk in the album of the year category were Sara Bareilles’ The Blessed Unrest and Taylor Swift’s Red. Swift is among five acts with four nominations apiece along with Daft Punk, Bruno Mars, Lorde and Kacey Musgraves.

British musicians James Blake and Ed Sheeran round out the best new artist category with Musgraves, Lamar and Macklemore and Lewis.

Imagine Dragons’ Radioactive, Lorde’s Royals and Mars’ Locked Out of Heaven join Get Lucky and Blurred Lines are up for record of the year. The Lorde and Mars entries also are up for song of the year with Pink’s Just Give Me a Reason, Katy Perry’s Roar and Same Love.

Perry said of Roar in an emotional moment before a pre-taped performance: “I didn’t think that it would take on such a life of its own, and so I hope that the song has inspired you guys and it will bring out that kind of self-strength that you need a little bit to go through your days when they get a little bit hard.”

Jay Z and Timberlake teamed for two nominations: best rap/sung collaboration for Jay Z’s Holy Grail and best video entry Suit & Tie. Jay Z is competing against himself rap/sung with Part II (On the Run), featuring his wife, Beyonce, also nominated. And he’s up for best rap performance for Tom Ford. He also grabbed a best music video nomination for Picasso Baby: A Performance Art Film and again teamed with Timberlake in that category for their video for Suit & Tie.

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