It’s officially Grammy Awards season, a space abundant with intriguing performances, memorable looks, controversial blemishes, and heavy snubs. Yeah, we’re still upset about The Weeknd.
Delayed from its original January 31st date, the 63rd annual Grammy Awards will now take place on Sunday, March 14, with a more stripped, Covid-19-safe presentation. As with many televised ceremonies in the last year, the show reduced capacity by depleting live audiences and blending in-person and pre-taped appearances to uphold their illustrious lineup. Houston’s riveting music scene is alive and well in this lengthy roster, and it’s a rich reminder of how much the city’s diverse rhythm continues to shape the entertainment industry.
Let’s start on a heartwarming note.
Late Tejano sensation Selena will be honored posthumously with a Lifetime Achievement Award. Though she’ll be the first Texan woman to receive the high honor, the Queen of Tejano’s talent is no stranger to the historic award show. In 1994, Selena won Best Mexican American Album for Selena Live, cementing her as the first female Tejano artist to win the category. Nearly 26 years later, her impactful legacy continues to cross cultural boundaries and make powerful marks in music history. Other honorees of the Lifetime Achievement Award include Talking Heads, Marilyn Horne, Lionel Hampton, Salt-N-Pepa, and Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five.
Out of all the Houston artists nominated, “My Power” songstress Beyoncé is up for nine whopping nominations. Her single “Black Parade,” an emotionally gripping testament cherishing and uprooting Blackness, leads her nomination tab, present in Record of the Year, Song of the Year, Best R&B Performance and Best R&B Song. "Black Is King," her visual project that accompanied her The Lion King: The Gift soundtrack, is nominated for Best Music Film, and “Brown Skin Girl”, a single off the album, is up for Best Music Video. Her final three nominations stem from her feature on Megan Thee Stallion’s “Savage” Remix, which is up for Best Rap Performance, Best Rap Song, and Record of the Year. Even with this incredible number of nods, the R&B icon won’t be performing at the ceremony.
“Body” emcee Megan Thee Stallion’s superb mainstream domination has coined her four Grammy nominations, including Best New Artist and as mentioned, her three with Beyoncé for the “Savage” Remix.
“HOTTIES I’M SO HAPPY I CAN FINALLY ANNOUNCE THAT I WILL BE PERFORMING AT THE GRAMMYS THIS YEAR,” Stallion wrote on Instagram Sunday, “we’ve been working so hard. I’m so excited for y’all to see!!!!”
The Houston Hottie isn’t the only rapper to get Grammy nods this year. Travis Scott scored a Best Melodic Rap Performance nomination for “Highest in the Room,” a single from his label-based album JACKBOYS. Houston pianist Robert Glasper, whose body of work seamlessly bonds soul, R&B and hip-hop, is nominated for Best R&B Song for his hit “Better Than I Imagined” featuring Florida-raised Denzel Curry and Progressive R&B Album for his 2019 album, F*** Yo Feelings.
We have to tip our hats to Pop Smoke, even if he’s not from Houston, for having two features on Scott’s JACKBOYS album. The Brooklyn native, born Bashar Barakah Jackson, helped push the NY scene to the forefront of mainstream media with his infectious charisma, gravelly cadence and UK-inspired drill arrangements. He was gradually climbing the ladder to stardom when he was murdered in February 2020 in a Los Angeles home invasion. Shortly after his death, his debut album Shoot for the Stars Aim for the Moon ballooned his short-lived legacy, catapulting him to lead Billboard’s Top R&B/Hip Hop Albums chart for 17 weeks and a Grammy nomination for his hit “Dior.”
Finally, we can’t highlight Texas greatness without mentioning Black Pumas. One year after their well-deserved nomination for Best New Artist, this Austin-based duo are back with major nods this year. Their psychedelic fusion of funk, soul and rock have landed them three more Grammy nominations, including Album of the Year for their self-titled deluxe album and Record of the Year for “Colors.” They’re also up for Best American Roots Performance for the same song, which hit number one on Billboard’s Adult Alternative Chart in 2019. To sweeten these rewards, they’re also set to perform at this year’s ceremony. Outside of their Grammy accolades, the duo showcased their bluesy charm at Joe Biden and Kamala Harris’ presidential inauguration back in January, further stamping how influential and invigorating their star power is.
Check out the 2021 Grammy’s complete list of nominees and performers here.