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Jay-Z, Kendrick Lamar dominates 2018 Grammy nominations

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Rap legends, Jay-Z led the Grammy race Tuesday with eight nominations, followed closely by fellow rapper Kendrick Lamar with seven, in a striking embrace of hip-hop for the music industry’s top prizes.

Jay-Z, who has won an impressive 21 Grammys over his career but has never before been nominated in a major category as a solo artist, is up for Album of the Year for his 4:44 as well as for Record and Song of the Year. 4:44 marked a return to music by the 47-year-old multi-millionaire after years focused on business ventures.

The album put on display an unusually vulnerable Jay-Z, who acknowledged his infidelity to wife Beyonce, revealed his mother’s closet struggles as a lesbian and tackled the state of US race relations.

Lamar’s seven nominations came for DAMN, an album which switched back to a more traditional hip-hop style after the 30-year-old Los Angeles native’s experiments with jazz, electronica and spoken word.

Bruno Mars, the fun-loving funk revivalist, also fared well with six nods including Album of the Year for his 24K Magic.

Despacito, the viral hit that tied for the most weeks ever on top of the US singles chart despite being in Spanish, was nominated both for Record of the Year, which recognizes the overall performance, and Song of the Year, which honours the songwriter.

 If it triumphs, Despacito would again make history as the first song in a language other than English to win in either category since Italian songwriter Domenico Modugno’s Nel Blu Dipinto Di Blu – popularly known as Volare after its chorus – at the very first Grammys in 1959.

The Recording Academy, which consists of more than 13,000 music professionals, will vote to decide the winners who will be unveiled at the annual Grammy Awards on January 28.

The ceremony will take place in New York, Jay-Z’s hometown, to mark the awards’ 60th edition after 14 years in Los Angeles.

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