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2016 Grammy Preview: R&B

The Weeknd, Jazmine Sullivan and D'Angelo are our favorites.

Scott Weiner // Retna Ltd/Corbis

By Lindsey Granger and Amber Mackie

Lindsey: Hi, Amber!

The 2016 Grammy Awards are almost here and you and I love R&B so let's take a look at who was nominated in the R&B categories. I'm excited about this year's contenders for Best R&B Performance, Best Traditional R&B Performance, Best R&B Song and Best R&B Album. I'm an unabashed Miguel fanatic and soooo excited that D'Angelo had such an amazing comeback after 14 years. It takes a special kind of artist to do that! Let's start with who you hope will win each category.

Amber: Hey Lindsey!

I’m super excited about the R&B contenders at the Grammy’s this year, as well. I can’t agree with you on being a Miguel fan, because I am most definitely NOT a fan of his, so you will not have to worry about me rooting for him in the Best R&B Song category. I’m also not happy that he is set to perform a Michael Jackson tribute, definitely don’t think he is the right artist for that. I am a diehard MJ fan, so I am almost offended that he was chosen to pay tribute to such a legend…but we can get into that later. :)

As far as who I WANT to win in each category, well…The Weeknd should most definitely take home a Grammy for “Earned It (Fifty Shades of Grey)” in the Best R&B Performance category. That song was not only a megahit but it’s one of my favorite’s from The Weeknd. Everything from his vocals to the sultry sound and beat makes me love it every single time I hear it.

As far as the Best Traditional R&B Performance, JAZMINE SULLIVAN, JAZMINE SULLIVAN, oh yea and JAZMINE SULLIVAN for “Let It Burn.”

I am super happy she’s back on the scene and she damn sure came back with a bang. Reality Show was an amazing album, and "Let it Burn" is my song! I still randomly sing “call me crazy but I think I found the love of my life,” lol. Her vocals and her range is absolutely insane and if anybody deserves that beautiful gold trophy, it’s her. I can’t front though, I’m a little sad that they put her and Lalah Hathaway against each other, because that’s my girl! I am obsessed with her father, Donny Hathaway, he is one of my favorite singers of all time. I love Lalah's rendition of “Little Ghetto Boy.” Her vocals on this track, as well as any track she’s on, are to die for and her range (throws hands up), don’t get me started. She reminds me so much of her father. Her voice has such power and depth but yet it’s so smooth and beautiful. However as hard as it is, I’m going to have to go with Jaz on this one. She truly deserves this, she’s come such a long way and it’s time that she gets what she deserves.

There is no doubt in my mind that the Grammy for the Best R&B Album will go to Jazmine Sullivan for Reality Show. I argue with my peers all of the time that Jazmine and THIS album is so underrated and didn’t get the shine it deserved. This album was definitely Top 5 albums of 2015. Like I said, it’s time that Jazmine get the credit that she most definitely deserves. This is one album that I can play without skipping one song. Of course I have my favorites ("Brand New," "Masterpiece," "Let It Burn," "#HoodLove," "Forever Don’t Last," "Mascara," "Stanley," "Silver Lining.") I think I named almost every song off of her album, so did I prove my point? Nevertheless this was a solid album.

Lindsey: Man! HOW DARE YOU disregard Miguel?! Blasphemy! Ha!

I understand the reasons a lot of true R&B fans aren't feeling Miguel's new album is because it doesn't live up to the traditional standards of his first two albums. His first two LP's were R&B to the core, and he's leaning more towards this rockstar persona on his new album, which, to some people, makes the music suffer, but I think it's a beautiful elevation of his artistry, I think he should win the Best R&B Song category.

We'll have to see Monday, but I think you need to have faith in him...he's going to impress you during this MJ tribute. Speaking of Michael Jackson...those comparisons between him and The Weeknd are quite frustrating. While I like The Weeknd, I don't think he should be compared to MJ, not yet anyway. He barely dances! The Weeknd may deserve to win Best R&B Performance, but, to me, the song was popular because of the cult following that Fifty Shades Of Grey has, that doesn't necessarily make it Grammy worthy. Tamar has such an interesting career path. I love watching her grow. She is "late" to hit the scene but definitely came on scene with a bang. Her voice is phenomenal so I wouldn't mind if she won with her track "If I Don't Have You."

I agree with you about Jazmine Sullivan. Her song "Let It Burn" should win Best Traditional R&B Performance. Her vocals are untouchable, her writing is amazing and the album is cohesive and themed, which is not something a lot of artists are able to do these days. The full album has that doo-wop traditional R&B feel. Amazing performance.

Finally, I think D'Angelo and The Vanguard should win for Best R&B Album. Black Messiah was just as much about instrumentation as it was singing and only a select few people can go on a 14-year hiatus and come back with the fanfare his group received.

I guess we'll have to wait until Monday to see! I am excited for all R&B nominees. We have some stiff competition this year! That is always a good thing for music!

Amber: I can definitely agree with The Weeknd and MJ comparison, it annoys me as well. As much as I love The Weeknd, MJ is MJ and The Weeknd is The Weeknd. They both stand alone and should never be compared to one another. I am a true MJ stan but The Weeknd is extremely talented. Many people don’t know that The Weeknd is an awesome songwriter. Not only has he written many of his songs and hits but he has also written for Drake. Songs that he had written for his House of Balloons mixtape ended up on Drake’s Take Care. For that, he will always have my respect. He may not be able to dance like MJ but his talent and artistry can’t be denied. I still believe that they both stand alone, however, I would’ve definitely preferred The Weeknd to pay tribute to MJ instead of Miguel. #sorrynotsorry

I respect all of your selections on all of the R&B categories, and you definitely made great points as to why you chose the artists and albums that you did. Now that we’ve discussed who we WANT to win, who do you think will actually win? Being that the Grammys isn’t always “fair.” cough, cough (Macklemore 2014 “wins”) cough, cough

Lindsey: Exactly. The Grammys definitely snub folks left and right so there's no telling.

For Best R&B Performance I do think The Weeknd will ACTUALLY win.

For Best Traditional R&B Performance I think Uncle Charlie (Charlie Wilson) may pull it off for "My Favorite Part Of You."

For Best R&B Song I think D'Angelo will win since he probably won't win Record of The Year.

For Best R&B Album I think Leon Bridges' Coming Home may take it!

Amber: True!

I definitely agree with you on everything except Best R&B Album. I really think Jazmine Sullivan will actually win. I have faith in her and that album!

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