issue 35 - the GRAMMYs special
a special joint tag-team recap of everything you missed on the GRAMMYs!
welcome back to FRESH! find us on insta @freshbywing ♡ find a small moment of joy to savor today, in the midst of everything.
today we’re bringing you special joint coverage of this year’s GRAMMY awards, and inviting Paul fromback to join us in the FRESH writer’s room!
here’s a quick rundown of how this issue will work:
before the show, we each wrote our own personal predictions for who we thought the most likely winner would be in various categories
Paul will be focusing on the hip hop categories, and i (wing) will be focusing on the electronic ones - but we’ll both chime in on ones here and there
after the show aired, we came back to our predictions and added further afterthoughts!
let’s get into it!
FRESH: GRAMMYS 2024
Best New Artist: This category recognizes an artist whose eligibility-year release(s) achieved a breakthrough into the public consciousness and notably impacted the musical landscape.
Victoria Monét (WINNER)
The War And Treaty
pre-show wing: i’m obviously biased, but i have to root for the man of the year Fred again.. here. the past two years have truly exploded him into the general public music consciousness, whilst still taking over the electronic world by storm with Skrillex and Four Tet as Pangbourne House Mafia.
Pre-Show Paul: I’ll have to pick Ice Spice for this one - based on popularity. She’s a name I saw anywhere and everywhere over the past year. She did some huge collabs - including one with Nicki Minaj for the biggest movie of 2023, Barbie. However, I would personally love to see Victoria Monét win. She’s gone from being a songwriter for chart topping artists to becoming a talented artist in her own right. Her album Jaguar II was one of my favorites from 2023 and the rollout, music videos, etc she did for it were done with the utmost intentionality.
Post-Show Paul: WOOHOO! She won! And the speech she gave was excellent. It was beautiful to hear her talk about how she had put in work of all kinds for 15 years to reach this moment.
post-show wing: congrats to Ms Monét!! well deserved for sure.
Best Dance/Electronic Recording: For solo, duo, group or collaborative performances. Vocal or Instrumental. Singles or tracks only.
Aphex Twin - Blackbox Life Recorder 21F
Disclosure - Higher Than Ever Before
James Blake - Loading
Romy & Fred Again.. - Strong
Skrillex, Fred Again.. & Flowdan - Rumble (WINNER)
pre-show wing: once again, my money is on Pangbourne House Mafia here. Rumble was the song you couldn’t avoid hearing at any show this past year no matter where you went, let alone the countless bootleg remixes from producers left and right. i do have a very soft spot for Strong though, and it’s wonderful to see Disclosure get a nod from their fantastically underrated album Alchemy. James Blake and Aphex Twin are also electronic staples, so all in all great nominations here.
post-show wing: right on the money!! loved what Skrillex mentioned in his speech about Rumble coming from a place of him, Fred Again.. and Flowdan simply making music that they love together to push culture forward, instead of trying to make music for the sake of making a hit.
Best Pop Dance Recording: For solo, duo, group or collaborative performances. Vocal or Instrumental. Singles or tracks only.
Baby Don't Hurt Me - David Guetta, Anne-Marie & Coi Leray
Miracle - Calvin Harris, Ellie Goulding
Padam Padam - Kylie Minogue (WINNER)
One In A Million - Bebe Rexha & David Guetta
Rush - Troye Sivan
pre-show wing: i confess that neither David Guetta song has come across my sphere of attention as of yet. i’m heavily rooting for Troye here, though i personally argue that Got Me Started deserves the title instead of its popular big brother Rush - it’s got that layer of rare genuine heartfelt emotion that Rush is missing for me. i did also enjoy Calvin Harris’ take on pop-trance this year, definitely had its fun sing-along moments at shows!
post-show wing: not my personal favorite, but i do get why Padam Padam won out here. going to just slide this lovely HAAi remix of it here for your listening pleasure!
Best Dance/Electronic Music Album: For vocal or instrumental albums. Albums only.
Playing Robots Into Heaven - James Blake
For That Beautiful Feeling - The Chemical Brothers
Actual Life 3 (January 1 - September 9 2022) - Fred again.. (WINNER)
Kx5 - Kx5
Quest For Fire - Skrillex
pre-show wing: my hands remain tied because Actual Life 3 was the definitive late 2022-2023 album for me personally. objectively, it feels like Fred’s magnum opus after his first two album offerings, in terms of sonic but also thematic and lyrical cohesion. the tracklist of Actual Life 3 flows like a series of audio diary entries, incredibly intimate and quietly profound.
that said, i reckon Skrillex and Kx5 have a run for the money here - albums that also made a solid impact in the electronic music consciousness this year. seeing the legends The Chemical Brothers nominated is also a great sight.
post-show wing: wow, frankly i’m a little pleasantly shocked that Fred actually bagged this one! the man himself didn’t make an in-person appearance at the GRAMMYs, hasn’t acknowledged his win on his socials and instead has continued business-as-usual in the studio, teasing us with new music. like Skrillex said in his speech - for the culture and the love, not the hits or fame!
Best Remixed Recording: A Remixer's Award. (Artists names appear in parentheses for identification.) Singles or Tracks only.
Alien Love Call - BADBADNOTGOOD, remixers (Turnstile & BADBADNOTGOOD Featuring Blood Orange)
New Gold (Dom Dolla Remix) - Dom Dolla, remixer (Gorillaz Featuring Tame Impala & Bootie Brown)
Reviver (Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs Remix) - Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs, remixer (Lane 8)
Wagging Tongue (Wet Leg Remix) - Wet Leg, remixers (Depeche Mode) (WINNER)
Workin' Hard (Terry Hunter Remix) - Terry Hunter, remixer (Mariah Carey)
pre-show wing: i love some Dom Dolla, but i have to root for TEED and Lane 8 here! i remember being blown away by this remix when i first heard it way back in October 2022 for several reasons: 1) that TEED was even remixing a Lane 8 song, 2) that TEED was now making breakbeat remixes, and 3) that Lane 8’s label This Never Happened was now releasing breakbeat tracks (for context: their usual wheelhouse is primarily deep house and progressive!)
post-show wing: again, not my personal favorite but congrats to the tag-team of Alt-Rock British winners here!
Best Rap Performance: For a Rap performance. Singles or Tracks only.
The Hillbillies - Baby Keem feat. Kendrick Lamar
Love Letter - Black Thought
Rich Flex - Drake and 21 Savage
SCIENTISTS & ENGINEERS - Killer Mike feat. Andre 300, Future and Eryn Allen Kane (WINNER)
Players - Coi Leray
Pre-Show Paul: Out of all the songs here, the best performance came from Keem and Kendrick. Their bouncy flows as they traded bars gave the song an infectious energy that made it a joy to listen to every time. The technical prowess of “SCIENTISTS AND ENGINEERS” would be appreciated in a perfect world but a song like this being nominated is still a win. “Rich Flex” was certainly popular however, so it could go to Drake (who doesn’t care about GRAMMYs btw) and 21 too.
Post-Show Paul: Well this was genuinely surprising! As I said, Killer Mike’s song winning would happen in a perfect world but it did. Obviously, the world isn’t truly perfect but I am pleasantly surprised they chose this song. Several parts came together for this song and each person did perform at a high level.
Best Melodic Rap Performance: For a solo or collaborative performance containing both elements of R&B melodies and Rap.
Sittin’ On Top Of The World - Burna Boy feat. 21 Savage
Attention - Doja Cat
Spin Bout U - Drake & 21 Savage
All My Life - Lil Durk feat. J.Cole (WINNER)
Low - SZA
Pre-Show Paul: I’m picking “Low” for this one because it combines the rap and R&B elements most easily. Most of the others all have rapped verses and sung choruses. While this is a “combination” for sure, “Low” finds SZA using a consistent rap-sung flow throughout the whole song. The ad-libs from Travis Scott that pop in (and the fact he doesn’t have a verse) help showcase how this one brought the Rap and R&B elements together seamlessly without segmenting them. However, “All My Life” has a strong sentimental angle and Durk does deliver a rap-sung flow that’s common for him.
Post-Show Paul: This one isn’t quite surprising. As I said, it does contain Durk’s rap-sung flow which does include elements of Rap and R&B. The track also contains yet another widely praised verse from J. Cole. I’m not mad at this winning at all.
Best Rap Song: A Songwriter(s) Award. A song is eligible if it was first released or if it first achieved prominence during the Eligibility Year. (Artist names appear in parentheses.) Singles or Tracks only.
Attention - Rogét Chahayed, Amala Zandile Dlamini & Ari Starace, songwriters (Doja Cat)
Barbie World [From Barbie The Album] - Isis Naija Gaston, Ephrem Louis Lopez Jr. & Onika Maraj, songwriters (Nicki Minaj & Ice Spice Featuring Aqua)
Just Wanna Rock - Mohamad Camara, Symere Woods & Javier Mercado, songwriters (Lil Uzi Vert)
Rich Flex - Brytavious Chambers, Isaac "Zac" De Boni, Aubrey Graham, J. Gwin, Anderson Hernandez, Michael "Finatik" Mule & Shéyaa Bin Abraham-Joseph, songwriters (Drake & 21 Savage)
SCIENTISTS & ENGINEERS - Andre Benjamin, Paul Beauregard, James Blake, Michael Render, Tim Moore & Dion Wilson, songwriters (Killer Mike Featuring André 3000, Future And Eryn Allen Kane) (WINNER)
Pre-Show Paul: Now for this category, I could see “SCIENTISTS AND ENGINEERS” winning. Out of all those choices, it is the most complex and involved from a songwriter’s perspective. Doja Cat’s song did an excellent job of establishing her new era through its lyrics however, Killer MIke’s track was more involved in who it brought together and what they rapped and sang. “Just Wanna Rock” may be the most instantly recognizable but is surely not lyrically elaborate. “Rich Flex” birthed a meme (as Drake’s music often does) but at the end of the day, is nothing special lyrically despite having an engaging arrangement.
Post-Show Paul: I was right about my prediction with this one! Songwriting is a layered topic in the rap world but this track comes from a rap purist. It’s always interesting to hear different types of artists bring their voices to one track but what they say is key. They have to say things that compliment what everyone on the song says.
Best Rap Album: For albums containing greater than 75% playing time of new rap recordings.
Her Loss - Drake & 21 Savage
MICHAEL- Killer Mike (WINNER)
HEROES & VILLAINS - Metro Boomin
King's Disease III - Nas
UTOPIA - Travis Scott
Pre-Show Paul: This is always the most difficult one to predict. HEROES & VILLAINS certainly had appearances from many of the hottest names in rap right now and Metro’s cinematic production and curation showcased their abilities well. However, praise for production and curation could also be given to UTOPIA even though it reminded many listeners of a different album from 2014. Once again, Her Loss appears as the most accessible choice but rap purists are likely to lean towards Nas and Killer Mike. PERSONALLY, I would love for Travis to win since the Grammy alluded him in 2019 and he was visibly upset about it. However, I also would love to see Metro take it considering the work he’s put in as a producer and how he’s built a name for himself.
Post-Show Paul: Welp I was wrong about this one too lol. Congrats to Killer Mike - for the third time! He swept every category he was nominated in. This is a truly commendable feat no matter who does it but for Killer Mike to do it is very surprising. Killer Mike is an artist who is not quite underground but not a chart topping artist either. He has respect as an artist for his group with El-P called Run The Jewels and for being a community leader and activist. Many rap fans were surprised to see him win this one with some saying they did not even know who he was. Hopefully, his sweep will inspire them to go educate themselves.
what a time! another congratulations to all of our winners this year, and thank you for spending time with us here enjoying the spectacle of televised award shows. whilst GRAMMY wins alone can never objectively determine the cultural importance or impact that any song or artist has had, it sure is gratifying to witness deserving ones get public and professional recognition in this way - especially if you are rooting for your favorites!
paul & wing
alright, over to you now - reply to this email with your thoughts! if you enjoy a little prompting:
did you predict any GRAMMY wins of your own?
what other songs, albums and artists do you think got snubbed this year and deserved a nomination?