The nominations for the 61st annual Grammy Awards were announced Friday, with Pulitzer Prize-winner and Made in America headliner Kendrick Lamar leading with eight, thanks to curating the soundtrack to Black Panther; he earned nominations that include album, song, and record of the year.
Drake followed with seven nominations and also scored nods for the big three — best album, song, and record of the year. Drake’s frequent collaborator, producer Boi-1da, earned six nods. So did Brandi Carlile, who earned nominations in the top three categories as well as nominations in the American Roots category.
Lamar, Drake, and Carlile will go up against Jenkintown’s Bradley Cooper, who, along with Lady Gaga, is nominated for record of the year for “Shallow” from A Star Is Born. Both were nominated for Golden Globes on Friday.
But to find the smartest, most surprising thing the Grammys did this year, you have to scroll all the way down to Best Music Video, the next-to-last entry in the 86-category nominations list.
That’s where you’ll find “Mumbo Jumbo,” the clip that centers around a nightmarish visit to the dentist by the wildly imaginative North Philly rapper Tierra Whack.
The song and video, which is directed by Marco Prestini, was released in October 2017 and is not included on Whack World, Whack’s ingenious, 15-track, 15-minute album, which also includes an Instagram-ready video for each song.
The rapper is nominated alongside a few slightly more widely celebrated artists, including Childish Gambino, Janelle Monáe, and the Carters, as Beyoncé and Jay-Z are calling themselves this year. (Rapper Joyner Lucas‘ “I’m Not Racist” clip is also nominated.)
Whack has seen her notoriety grow throughout 2018. Taste-making Knowles sister Solange is a big fan. Meek Mill brought Whack on stage during his headlining set at the Made In America festival this summer, and this week, when Mill was asked on Twitter whom he thought was the best up-and-coming rapper in the game, he responded with her name.
“Mumbo Jumbo” was recorded the day after Whack went to the dentist to get a tooth pulled, she told the Inquirer last year. The song’s lyrics consist almost entirely of gibberish, which plays out as a not-necessarily-intentional commentary on the “mumble rap” trend in hip-hop, and allows listeners' minds to wander and project their own ideas on the nonsensical verses.
The video will be a serious underdog when the Grammys are given away in Los Angeles on Feb. 10. The Carters' “Apes–,” which was recorded in Paris in the Louvre; Monáe’s vagina pants clip for “Pynk”; and Childish Gambino’s jolting “This Is America” make for some serious competition.
But “Mumbo Jumbo,” which has been viewed almost a half-million times on YouTube, can hold its own artistically. It’s a mini-horror film, with Whack rapping through a bloody mouth as she leans back in the dentist’s chair, then emerges onto a postapocalyptic streetscape where she’s horrified to see that the zombielike characters that surround her all have the same creepy, over-exaggerated smile she does.
Other Philadelphians made the pop music list as well: Ardmore’s Benj Pasek was nominated for cowriting “This Is Me” from The Greatest Showman, which goes head-to-head with “Shallow” in the best song for visual media category, a songwriting category. Cooper and Gaga also netted “Shallow” nods for best pop duo/group performance along with the aforementioned record of the year.
Pink has a nod for best pop vocal album, while producer and Temple grad Diplo’s group Silk City, named after the Northern Liberties diner and dance club, is nominated for best dance recording for “Electricity” with Dua Lipa.
On the classical front, Chestnut Hill-based the Crossing was nominated for a choral piece by Lansing McLoskey, while West Chester University instructor and baritone Randall Scarlata was nominated for best classical solo vocal album in a recording of the Schubert song cycle “Die Winterreise." Composer Missy Mazzoli from Lansdale was nominated for best contemporary classical composition for “Mazzoli: Vespers for Violin.” She’s now being commissioned by the Metropolitan Opera.
The Grammys will be broadcast live on CBS.
— Album of the year: Invasion of Privacy, Cardi B; By the Way, I Forgive You, Brandi Carlile; Scorpion, Drake; H.E.R., H.E.R.; Beerbongs & Bentleys, Post Malone; Dirty Computer, Janelle Monáe; Golden Hour, Kacey Musgraves; Black Panther: The Album, Music From and Inspired by, Kendrick Lamar.
— Record of the year: “I Like It,” Cardi B, Bad Bunny, and J Balvin; “The Joke,” Brandi Carlile; “This Is America,” Childish Gambino; “God’s Plan,” Drake; “Shallow,” Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper; “All the Stars,” Kendrick Lamar and SZA; “Rockstar,” Post Malone and 21 Savage; “The Middle,” Zedd, Maren Morris, and Grey.
— Song of the year (songwriter’s award): “Boo’d Up,” Ella Mai, DJ Mustard, Larrance Dopson, and Joelle James; “In My Blood,” Shawn Mendes, Teddy Geiger, Scott Harris, and Geoffrey Warburton; “The Joke,” Brandi Carlile, Dave Cobb, Phil Hanseroth, and Tim Hanseroth; “This Is America,” Childish Gambino and Ludwig Goransson; “God’s Plan,” Drake, Noah “40″ Shebib, Boi-1da, Daveon Jackson, Brock Korsan, and Ron LaTour; “Shallow,” Lady Gaga, Mark Ronson, Anthony Rossomando, and Andrew Wyatt; “All the Stars,” Kendrick Lamar, SZA, Al Shuckburgh, Mark Spears, and Anthony Tiffith; “The Middle,” Zedd, Grey, Sarah Aarons, Jordan K. Johnson, Stefan Johnson, and Marcus Lomax.
— Best new artist: Chloe x Halle; Luke Combs; Greta Van Fleet; H.E.R.; Dua Lipa; Margo Price; Bebe Rexha; Jorja Smith.
— Best pop solo performance: “Colors,” Beck; “Havana (Live),” Camila Cabello; “God Is a Woman,” Ariana Grande; “Joanne (Where Do You Think You’re Goin’?),” Lady Gaga; “Better Now,” Post Malone.
— Best pop duo/group performance: “Fall In Line,” Christina Aguilera and Demi Lovato; “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart,” Backstreet Boys; ”’S Wonderful,” Tony Bennett and Diana Krall; “Shallow,” Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper; “Girls Like You,” Maroon 5 and Cardi B; “Say Something,” Justin Timberlake and Chris Stapleton; “The Middle,” Zedd, Maren Morris, and Grey.
— Best pop vocal album: Camila, Camila Cabello; Meaning of Life, Kelly Clarkson; Sweetener, Ariana Grande; Shawn Mendes, Shawn Mendes; Beautiful Trauma, Pink; Reputation, Taylor Swift.
— Best traditional pop vocal album: Love Is Here to Stay, Tony Bennett and Diana Krall; My Way, Willie Nelson; Nat ‘King’ Cole & Me, Gregory Porter; Standards (Deluxe), Seal; The Music … The Mem’ries … The Magic!, Barbra Streisand.
— Best dance/electronic album: Singularity, Jon Hopkins; Woman Worldwide, Justice; Treehouse, Sofi Tukker; Oil of Every Pearl’s Un-Insides, SOPHIE; Lune Rouge, TOKiMONSTA.
— Best rock album: Rainier Fog, Alice in Chains; Mania, Fall Out Boy; Prequelle, Ghost; From the Fires, Greta Van Fleet; Pacific Daydream, Weezer.
— Best alternative music album: Tranquility Base Hotel + Casino, Arctic Monkeys; Colors, Beck; Utopia, Bjork; American Utopia, David Byrne; Masseduction, St. Vincent.
— Best urban contemporary album: Everything is Love, the Carters (Beyoncé and Jay-Z); The Kids Are Alright, Chloe x Halle; Chris Dave and the Drumhedz, Chris Dave and the Drumhedz; War & Leisure, Miguel; Ventriloquism, Meshell Ndegeocello.
— Best R&B album: Sex & Cigarettes, Toni Braxton; Good Thing, Leon Bridges; Honestly, Lalah Hathaway; H.E.R., H.E.R.; Gumbo Unplugged (Live), PJ Morton.
— Best rap album: Invasion of Privacy, Cardi B; Swimming, Mac Miller; Victory Lap, Nipsey Hussle; Daytona, Pusha T; Astroworld, Travis Scott.
— Best country album: Unapologetically, Kelsea Ballerini; Port Saint Joe, Brothers Osborne; Girl Going Nowhere, Ashley McBryde; Golden Hour, Kacey Musgraves; From a Room: Volume 2, Chris Stapleton.
— Best jazz vocal album: My Mood Is You, Freddy Cole; The Questions, Kurt Elling; The Subject Tonight Is Love, Kate McGarry with Keith Ganz and Gary Versace; If You Really Want, Raul Midon with the Metropole Orkest conducted by Vince Mendoza; The Window, Cecile McLorin Salvant.
— Best jazz instrumental album: Diamond Cut, Tia Fuller; Live in Europe, Fred Hersch Trio; Seymour Reads the Constitution!, Brad Mehldau Trio; Still Dreaming, Joshua Redman, Ron Miles, Scott Colley, and Brian Blade; Emanon, the Wayne Shorter Quartet.
— Best compilation soundtrack for visual media: Call Me By Your Name; Deadpool 2; The Greatest Showman; Lady Bird; Stranger Things.
— Producer of the year, nonclassical: Boi-1da; Larry Klein; Linda Perry; Kanye West; Pharrell Williams.
— Best music video: “Apes-,” The Carters; “This Is America,” Childish Gambino; “I’m Not Racist,” Joyner Lucas; “PYNK,” Janelle Monáe; “MUMBO JUMBO,” Tierra Whack.
— Best music film: Life in 12 Bars,” Eric Clapton; Whitney, Whitney Houston; Quincy, Quincy Jones; Itzhak, Itzhak Perlman; The King, Elvis Presley.