As we continue our countdown to the Feb. 13 Grammy Awards, we’re predicting a category a day. Today we look at Best Contemporary R&B album. We cannot tell you the difference between this category and the Best R&B album category and we defy you to find anyone who can with a description that makes sense. For example, R. Kelly is considered contemporary R&B, but John Legend is just regular old R&B The two categories would be much stronger if they were combined.... discuss.
Best Contemporary R&B Album
“Grafitti,” Chris Brown
“Untitled,” R Kelly
“Transition,” Ryan Leslie
“The Archandroid,” Janelle Monae
“Raymond v. Raymond,” Usher
No way, no how is the Recording Academy awarding Chris Brown a Grammy. It’s too soon--whether that’s fair or not, that’s just the truth (Interestingly, Brown has already announced that he won't attended the Feb. 13 ceremony, even though he's up for three awards). R Kelly and Ryan Leslie don’t necessarily deserve to be here. “Untitled” is far from an exemplary Kelly album and Leslie isn’t high profile enough to win. So it comes down between Usher and Janelle Monae. “Raymond v. Raymond” is a fine album, chockfull of hits and continues a more mature path Usher has gone down since “Here I Stand.” Having said that, the runaway winner here is Monae’s “The Archandroid,” a breakthrough blend of R&B, jazz, pop, soul and rock. The album made many “best of 2010” lists, including mine and colleague Katie Hasty’s, for good reason: it is one of the most inventive albums of any genre to come out in several years.
Winner: “The Archandroid”