The 56th Grammy awards might give us a glimpse into the future of award shows regarding diverse thought or leaving us stuck in a past where winners rarely known outside the music world take home the most prestigious award in the business. The Isley Brothers will receive a Lifetime Achievement award along with the Beatles, Kraftwerk and even Kris Kristofferson. But what I want to see is Stevie Wonder do his legendary thing with Daft Punk, Nile Rodgers and Pharrell Williams. Blue Ivy’s parents, Jay Z and Beyonce, will both perform and so will Ringo Starr and Paul McCartney amongst others. LL Cool J hosts with his Kangol in tow. It will definitely be an interesting night.

Let’s get to it on the picks. Who do you have?

Song of the Year Nominees:

  • "Just Give Me A Reason" – P!nk ft. Nate Ruess
  • "Locked Out of Heaven" – Bruno Mars
  • "Roar" – Katy Perry
  • "Royals" – Lorde
  • "Same Love" – Macklemore and Ryan Lewis

Who should win? "Locked Out of Heaven" – Bruno Mars

Who will win? "Roar" – Katy Perry

Seems like "Locked Out of Heaven" has been around for ages (released 10/1/12), a testament to the greatness of the song that it still gets airplay. It seems like the song that comes on in the bar just when everyone is feeling nice. But the song’s time has passed, and this year Perry’s "Roar" will win. Mainly because the anthem transcends musical tastes that the academy finds certifiable(Think What’s Love Got To Do With It?) And as a result, I can see them making a statement and cementing Katy Perry’s place in history by recognizing a track many see as an inspiration whether the impending day is a good or bad one.

Record of the Year Nominees:

  • "Get Lucky" – Daft Punk ft. Pharrell Williams
  • "Radioactive" – Imagine Dragons
  • "Royals" – Lorde
  • "Locked Out of Heaven" – Bruno Mars
  • "Blurred Lines" – Robin Thicke ft. T.I., Pharrell
     

Who should win? "Get Lucky" – Daft Punk ft. Pharrell Williams

Who will win? "Get Lucky"-- Daft Punk ft. Pharrell Williams

 

Daft Punk shot back on the scene nicely this year with 5 total Grammy nominations. "Get Lucky" was catchy whether you were in a happy hour suit and tie or the kid on the skate board riding by. This was a good comeback for Daft Punk's Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo and Thomas Bangalter, because 2013 seems like years away from their days of rockin’ French house clubs in the 1990’s. Could this year's Grammy show be their night?

Album of the Year Nominees:

  • The Blessed Unrest – Sara Bareilles
  • Random Access Memories – Daft Punk
  • good kid, m.A.A.d city – Kendrick Lamar
  • The Heist – Macklemore and Ryan Lewis
  • Red – Taylor Swift

Who should win? good kid m.A.A.d City - Kendrick Lamar

Who will win? The Blessed Unrest – Sara Bareilles


 

Sara Bareilles composes and produces all of her work. And despite not being afforded the promotion of every other album on the list, (though she’s was featured in a Rhapsody commercial in 2007) her project, "The Blessed Unrest" seems like the winner given the surprises coming out of this category historically. Albums like Bob Dylan’s Time Out Of Mind in 1998, Herbie Hancock’s River: The Joni Letters in 2008 and Arcade Fire’s The Suburbs in 2011 weren’t expected to win, but took home the award nevertheless. The Blessed Unrest fits because of the passion it exhibits and the singer/songwriter is as underrated as they come despite being a known elite talent for years. She’s the star you hear on the radio, but find yourself scrambling to find out her name. Brave is the only track that was even thought of as a major hit, but the song is one to remember because of its upbeat zest for life.Kendrick Lamar’s good kid, m.A.A.d citywould shock the world if it wins, because while it has mainstream appeal as almost a hip hop alternative of sorts, is hip hop truly acknowledged for its works as a whole? I would say emphatically no.If Kendrick does win, everyone in hip hop would rejoice for many years. An album like this should win because it shot a unique gift transcending hip hop regardless of its reputation as a mainstream outlier. The Heist might push Macklemore and Ryan Lewis over the top through almost outrageous appeal and also through relevantanthem like messages of same sex tolerance tracks like Same Love. And given Daft Punk’s resurrection, a win for France won’t turn heads as well because the talent was always there, but the duo had to put it back all together in and out of the studio. The engineering of the album was done with a disco and classic rock infused feel. Compared to today’s microwaved sound, Random Access is a home cooked meal. I gotta go with The Blessed Unrest here despite the appearance of Taylor Swift’s Red. Swift is an obvious favorite and Red has crossover appeal in rural America as well as the burbs, but give me Bareilles for the upset. It’s just something I feel.

Best Pop Collaboration With Vocals Nominees:

  • "Get Lucky" – Daft Punk ft. Pharrell Williams
  • "Just Give Me A Reason" – P!nk ft. Nate Ruess
  • "Stay" – Rihanna ft. Mikky Ekko
  • "Blurred Lines" – Robin Thicke ft. T.I., Pharrell
  • "Suit and Tie" – Justin Timberlake ft. Jay Z

 

Who should win? "Blurred Lines" – Robin Thicke ft. T.I. and Pharrell

Who will win? "Get Lucky" – Daft Punk ft. Pharrell Williams

 

It’s a no lose situation for Skateboard P. With two collaborative hits dominating the year and an Oscar nomination for best original song, Pharrell is on a roll. But "Blurred Lines" probably won’t win because of a litigation pending with Marvin Gaye's family. And with Daft Punk seemingly everywhere, I can’t go against the electronic duo here. Either way, Pharell wins.

Best New Artist Nominees:

  • James Blake
  • Kendrick Lamar
  • Macklemore and Ryan Lewis
  • Kacey Musgraves
  • Ed Sheeran

Who should win? Kendrick Lamar

Who will win? Macklemore and Ryan Lewis

Can’t see Kendrick winning despite dropping an album many consider a true classic. Yes, rap has been gifted with another unique talent. But Macklemore and Lewis will win, because Kendrick simply doesn’t fit the mode.Too many of those outside of hip hop that listen to hip hop want Macklemore to win. As we’ve seen in the past, Hip Hop is off the mainstream fringe and hasn’t fared well historically (think KRS-One and Public Enemy not even being considered vs an acknowledgment of Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince). The fact that Kendrick won’t win does not distort a nice 2013 for the kid who rocked blocks from coast to coast. What it does distort is history because true hip hop heads understand K-dot’s influence simply because his unique style has put a needed charge in the game as he raps off the brow beaten path of money, cash and an undying thirst for women.  It’s unfortunate that Macklemore and Ryan Lewis are probably what the mainstream thinks rap needs, because the duos music is a break away from the stereotypical inner-city life where the struggle to survive and determined drive through that struggle passes over the heads of many who just can’t relate. And despite their talent, drive, and persistence, this should be Kendrick’s award all day. Yet and still, you can’t deny Macklemore and Lewis coming out the box and making history with their first two singlesThrift Shop and Can’t Hold Us hitting number one on the Billboard charts, respectively. He’s broadened the scope of listeners to the genre and despite Kendrick’s album being a greater work, it’s unfortunate that he’s still considered a niche influence on the mainstream’s taste for hip hop even with the jolt his bars on Big Sean’s Control (also featuring Jay Electronica) injected into not only hip hop, but music at large.

Best Rap Album Nominees:

  • Nothing Was the Same --  Drake
  • Magna Carta Holy Grail -- Jay Z
  • good kid, m.A.A.d city -- Kendrick Lamar
  • The Heist -- Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
  • Yeezus -- Kanye West

Who should win? good kid, m. A.A.d cityKendrick Lamar

Who will win? Magna Carta Holy Grail Jay Z

Hov has won 17 Grammys and nominated for another 9 awards this year, So it would appear this award is his to lose, prominently because of the demand for anything with his name attached, as much as Jay Z becoming the default star of his generation -- hip hop or otherwise (think Kobe voted into the NBA All-star game despite being out with an injury). It’s a lifetime achievement award of sorts and that’s certainly no diss to Jay Z. His work is always tight and something to rock to in any situation because the product is supremely professional. Kendrick and the duo of Macklemore and Ryan Lewis are both nominated for 7 awards a piece, so this could get interesting. An impressive list and the case could be made for any of the artists winning. Jay Z gets another piece for his crown simply for the art that MCHG is. Kendrick deserves this award as I’ve said many times throughout this article, because his album is as unique as it is great. It tells an amazing story of who he is and after all his mix-tape success, to come with greatness when the world expects it means his career is seriously trending upward for years to come. The album is one to just play and walk away. Its diverse sound and true indeed lyrics elicit thoughts of past, present and future. J-Cole’s Born Sinner was straight snubbed and deserving of a nod. Sorry Kanye. You’re just too far out there with the Son of Man talk. And you become a caricature of what you once honestly represented. As far as Drake’s Nothing Was The Same, can we expect excellence from this cat every time out? It is a stellar offering, but as diversely gifted as Drake is, he’d better come with a timeless classic every time out because Kendrick is not going anywhere.

 

Best R&B Album:

  • R&B Divas --  Faith Evans
  • Girl On Fire -- Alicia Keys
  • Love In The Future  -- John Legend
  • Better -- Chrisette Michele
  • Three Kings TGT

Who should win? Love in The Future – John Legend

Who will win? Girl On Fire Alicia Keys

Love In The Future is a great album. From "All of Me" to "Made to Love" and "You and I,” the album is distinctly clean from a production standpoint, fluid,  and a talented harken back to the days of consistently memorable rhythm and blues. Alicia Keys Girl on Fire is immortalized by Citibank and while that might sound corny, the number of listeners derived just from hearing the title track without even seeing Alicia’s face --  whether it be in an airport or a mall -- has to stand for something strictly because of how may ears are influenced by its lyrics and sound. This is a talented category as well, but Alicia Keys adds to her mantle with yet another Grammy – which would be her 15th win.