Swift vs. Lamar

If you are going blindly into the 2016 Grammy Awards, be aware of two names that I’m sure you’ve heard before: Kendrick Lamar and Taylor Swift. Lamar has a whopping 11 nominations, only one behind Michael Jackson’s record. Swift is right on Lamar’s heels with nine.
At first glance, Lamar and Swift appear to be completely different artists. Lamar, who released his album, “To Pimp a Butterfly,” in March of 2015, has one of the most powerful voices in rap. “Butterfly” covers topics such as black-oppression, God and his own struggles with his race and fame. The standout track from the album is “All Right,” which has become an anthem for the Black Lives Matter movement.
Swift released her newest album, “1989,” in October 2014, and it went on to spend 11 weeks at number one on the charts. Swift’s songs are about lost love, New York and, of course, shaking it off. Her cleverly written lyrics and magnetic voice have given way to an impressive six singles from the album, which are still being released more than a year after its debut.
Although it can be determined that Swift and Lamar make completely different music and come from opposite worlds, they actually collaborated this year on Swift’s single “Bad Blood.” That’s what makes this year’s Grammys interesting: Not only are Swift and Lamar fighting for Grammys against each other, but they’re also hoping to win a few together.
Swift and Lamar are directly competing in two Grammy categories, album of the year and song of the year. That is pretty straightforward, but when it comes to “Bad Blood,” things get tricky.
“Bad Blood” is nominated for Best Music Video, as is Lamar’s video for “Allright.” So, technically, Lamar is vying for the Grammy against a video that he is a part of. It’s Kendrick Lamar versus Kendrick Lamar, which is a strange match-up. Either way, I believe that he’ll come out a winner in the category. I’m hoping that it’s for “All Right,” which is almost cinematic in its black and white portrayal of Lamar completely defying the laws of gravity.
Album of the Year is always the biggest award. Swift won the award in 2010 for the album “Fearless.” If Swift wins this year, she would make history as the first solo artist to win two Album of the Year awards. She has tough competition from Lamar, however. “Butterfly” tells a story throughout the album, with one song weaving seamlessly into the next. Although “1989” is Swift’s best album to date, I do not think that it can beat “Butterfly”’s social impact and Lamar’s incredible storytelling and rapping.
Yes, there are other albums nominated for this coveted Grammy. Alabama Shakes, The Weeknd, and Chris Stapleton are also up for Album of the Year, but I don’t think they have a chance to win. Swift and Lamar were powerhouses in their respective genres this year, and both of their albums made waves in not just the music world, but throughout society. If any of the other three artists do get the Grammy, it would be a major upset, which isn’t uncommon when it comes to the Grammys.
Song of the Year is a different story. While I’m pushing for Lamar in the album category, I think that Swift will win here. Song of the Year focuses solely on songwriting. When it comes to lyrics, I think that “Blank Space” takes the cake. Swift manages to poke fun at her own persona and the media while also telling a compelling story that a lot of people can relate to. She jam-packed so much into one great song that instantly became a hit. While “Alright” became a phenomenon in its own right, I don’t know if its powerful lyrics can beat Swift’s witty and personal “Blank Space.”
At the end of the night, I have faith that both Swift and Lamar will come out winners. They both deserve a Grammy, and if for some reason they get beat by underdogs, I can still hope that they win together for “Bad Blood,” which is also nominated for Best Pop/Duo Performance.
Despite their obvious differences, they managed to combine their sounds and create an amazing collaboration, which can hopefully earn them a shared Grammy to commemorate their memorable year.