The 48th Annual GRAMMY Awards Roundup: R&B/Rap Fields

February 06, 2006 -- 3:34 pm PST

GRAMMY.com

The GRAMMY Awards honor recordings in 108 categories across 32 fields, from rap to classical. To help readers get a better sense of the nominees and the wealth of recordings they've created over the past year, GRAMMY.com has prepared these field Roundups, which give quick details on the nominees in an easy-to-read format.

The BEST FEMALE R&B VOCAL PERFORMANCE category showcases singers celebrating the joy of being in love. Mariah Carey made 2005 a stunning comeback year thanks in large part to her virtually ubiquitous "We Belong Together." Amerie enjoyed the biggest hit of her young career with the percussion-driven "1 Thing," while GRAMMY mainstay Alicia Keys earned a nomination here for "Unbreakable," a funky studio song from her acclaimed Unplugged album. Beyoncé's "Wishing On A Star" and Fantasia's "Free Yourself" round out this category.

For BEST MALE R&B VOCAL PERFORMANCE, a pair of tributes to one legend and a new recording from another share the spotlight with two of the genre's best new talents. Jamie Foxx's "Creepin'" and Usher's "Superstar," two songs from So Amazing — An All Star Tribute To Luther Vandross, share nominations in this star-studded category along with Stevie Wonder's "So What The Fuss." Promising star John Legend is recognized for his impassioned "Ordinary People," while Mario earned a nomination for "Let Me Love You," which enjoyed heavy rotation on the radio.

Luther Vandross tributes and Stevie Wonder again earn nominations in the BEST R&B PERFORMANCE BY A DUO OR GROUP WITH VOCALS category. "So Amazing," from Beyoncé and Stevie Wonder and "If This World Were Mine" from Alicia Keys and Jermaine Paul score two more nominations for material from the So Amazing — An All Star Tribute To Luther Vandross album. Wonder also earns a nomination in the category for "How Will I Know," his duet with daughter Aisha Morris. Destiny's Child's sensuous "Cater 2 U" and John Legend and Lauryn Hill's "So High" round out this grouping.

An R&B legend shares the limelight with a crop of musicians surely inspired by her in the BEST TRADITIONAL R&B VOCAL PERFORMANCE category. Icon Aretha Franklin's reworking of fellow nominee Burt Bacharach's "A House Is Not A Home" is another cut from the oft-nominated So Amazing — An All Star Tribute To Luther Vandross . Mariah Carey's "Mine Again" could be seen as a declaration of her return to the top of the pop music charts, while Alicia Keys' "If I Was Your Woman" shows the New York singer at her most passionate. Fantasiastrays from the love theme of this group with "Summertime," while John Legend is the sole male nominee here for "Stay With You."

The BEST URBAN/ALTERNATIVE PERFORMANCEcategory features nominations for a genre-crossing gathering of artists. Mos Def earns his second nomination in this category for "Ghetto Rock," while Damian Marley, son of late reggae legend Bob Marley, delivers the politically charged "Welcome To Jamrock." Floetry depart from their typical soul style on "SupaStar," while the talented Van Hunt earns a nomination here for "Dust." Gorillaz round out this inventive, always interesting category with "Dirty Harry."

Songwriters are recognized in the BEST R&B SONG category. A bevy of writers are credited with penning "We Belong Together," Mariah Carey's smash single that helped her regain her status as R&B's hottest female artist. Johnta Austin, Carey, Jermaine Dupri and Manuel Seal are the song's primary songwriters (D. Bristol, K. Edmonds, S. Johnson, P. Moten, S. Sully and B. Womackare credited because Carey sang lyrics from their material in the song). A host of songwriters are also listed for Destiny's Child's hit "Cater 2 U": Rodney Jerkins, Beyoncé Knowles, Ricky Lewis, Kelly Rowland, Robert Waller and Michelle Williams. Black Eyed Peas member Will.I.Am gets a nomination under the listing W. Adams for his work with John Legend (J. Stephens) on Legend's" Ordinary People." GRAMMY mainstay Missy Elliott joins Craig Brockman and Nisan Stewart in being recognized for writing "Free Yourself" from "American Idol" singer Fantasia. The category also includes Garry DeWayne Glenn, Alicia Keys, Harold Lily and Kanye West for writing Keys' "Unbreakable."

Nominees in the BEST R&B ALBUM category represent some of the genre's stalwarts as well as three artists eager to earn a spot among the greats. Earth, Wind And Fire's Illumination and Stevie Wonder's celebrated A Time To Love show that decades after these longtime greats arrived on the scene, they continue making satisfying music. Albums from newcomers John Legend (Get Lifted) and Fantasia (Free Yourself) also earned nominations, as did Alicia Keys' Unplugged.

Two of the genre's lasting acts and three younger talents received nominations for their stellar work in the BEST CONTEMPORARY R&B ALBUM category. Mariah Carey's blockbuster The Emancipation Of Mimi and Destiny's Child's purported career-capping Destiny Fulfilled scored nominations. Second albums from Amerie (Touch) and Mario (Turning Point) earned the emerging singers nods here. Rounding out the category is O, the first solo album from former B2K singer Omarion .

Eminem and Kanye West were involved in two nominations each in the BEST RAP SOLO PERFORMANCE category. Eminem's serious "Mockingbird" gets a nod in this category, as does 50 Cent's "Disco Inferno." 50 Cent is signed to Eminem's Shady Records, which releases 50 Cent's music in conjunction with Aftermath/Interscope Records. Kanye West 's hit "Gold Digger" and Common's "Testify," which West produced, are nominated here. Capping the category are Ludacris' "Number One Spot" and T.I. 's "U Don't Know Me."

Ying Yang Twins used finger snaps and whispers to land a nomination for their "Wait (The Whisper Song)" in the BEST RAP PERFORMANCE BY A DUO OR GROUP category. The ever-fun Black Eyed Peas won't win any spelling awards, but their "Don't Phunk With My Heart" scores a nomination. Artists who do not officially record together as a group round out the rest of the category. Common and the Last Poets are recognized for their work on the gritty "The Corner," while the driving "Hate It Or Love It" by The Game featuring 50 Cent is also recognized. "Encore," from Eminem, Dr. Dre and 50 Cent, claims the final nomination in this category.

Some of the biggest songs of 2005 earned nominations in the BEST RAP/SUNG COLLABORATION. "1, 2 Step," a nod to old-school rap from singer Ciara and rapper Missy Elliott, was one of the year's biggest club hits, while "Soldier" from Destiny's Child featuring T.I. and Lil Wayne was a winning example of the male-female dynamic in song. The most interesting pairing comes on "Numb/Encore," a teaming from "retired" rap star Jay-Z and rock band Linkin Park. The category is rounded out by pop singer Gwen Stefani who joins hardcore female rapper Eve for the playful "Rich Girl," while Kanye West and John Legend team up with Common on his song "They Say."

50 Cent, born Curtis Jackson, scored two nominations in the BEST RAP SONG category, which highlights songwriters. Jackson and Scott Storch earn a nod for "Candy Shop." Jackson, A. Lyon, Jayceon Taylor, M. Valenzano — along with Baker, Felder and Harris — are recognized for writing the blockbuster hit "Hate It Or Love It," 50 Cent's pairing with The Game. Kanye West, who won a GRAMMY for "Jesus Walks" in this category last year, is recognized this year with D. Harris (along with J. Barry and D. Black) for writing West's "Diamonds From Sierra Leone." William Adams, Printz Board, Stacy Ferguson and George Pajon, Jr., (as well as Kalyanji Anandji, Full Force and Indeewar), land a nomination for the Black Eyed Peas' "Don't Phunk With My Heart." Missy Elliott, C. Harris and G. Isaacs III, (as well as J. Atkins, R. Davis and C. Hudson) round out the category for writing Elliott's" Lose Control," which features Ciara and Fat Man Scoop.

Rap's most powerful label and its most respected producer get two nominations each in the BEST RAP ALBUM category. Eminem's Encore and 50 Cent's The Massacre, both of which were released on Shady/Aftermath/Interscope Records, score nods, while rapper/producer Kanye West proves his staying power with Late Registration and Common's Be, on which West provided most of the production and was released on his own Good Music label through Geffen Records. Rounding out this category is the latest offering from Missy Elliott, The Cookbook.