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Eminem leads Grammy nominations with 10
When Eminem first was nominated for album of the year some 10 years ago for “The Marshall Mathers LP,” it marked a milestone for the Grammys as it chose to honor an album that was considered masterful in its artistry yet morally bankrupt in its values.
On Wednesday, as the Recording Academy once again nominated Eminem for album of the year along with nine other bids, it again gave accolades to a foul but genius piece of work — Cee Lo’s “(Expletive) You,” an infectious retro groove with an unforgettable, unprintable chorus.
The tune, which is so profane it had to be changed to “Forget You” for radio play, was nominated for two top Grammy honors: record and song of the year.
“It wasn’t meant to be a radio song,” said Cee Lo after the nominations. “It was meant to be something with flair and first impression, and it really took on a life of its own, and I had no idea it would become what it is today.”
It’s a sign of how much times, and Eminem himself, have changed that his leading nominations were not controversial, but expected and respected.
The person with the second-leading tally, Bruno Mars with seven, was not without his own drama this year, after being arrested in Las Vegas in a cocaine possession case, which is pending. It was the only negative in a brilliant year for Mr. Mars, who co-wrote “(Expletive) You” and was also featured on B.o.B’s “Nothin’ on You,” also nominated for record of the year.
“It’s just been a great year, incredible, incredible year, and I can’t believe this is happening to me,” said Mr. Mars, who was also nominated for best male pop vocal for his own hit, “Just the Way You Are.”
“We’ve worked so hard trying to make a living doing music, and the fact that we’re here right now is incredible, incredible,” he added, speaking from Club Nokia in downtown Los Angeles, where the nominations were announced as part of an hourlong live special on CBS.
Other top nominees included Lady Antebellum, Jay-Z and Lady Gaga, who all were nominated with six each. Gaga also was nominated for album of the year — the second straight nomination in the category for her.
For Eminem, “Recovery” was a critical and commercial triumph. It has been the best-selling album of the year so far, with more than 3 million copies sold, and spawned top hits such as “Love the Way You Lie” featuring Rihanna, which was nominated for song and record of the year.
It also marked a stark contrast between the Eminem nominated 10 years ago and the one today. Back then, he was a stunning yet divisive figure whose violent imagery and slurs against gays and women outraged as many people as he entertained. Eminem would become one of the best-selling artists in the world and arguably rap’s greatest artist, but his stature was diminished as his battle with prescription drug addiction led to lags between albums and subpar material.
With “Recovery,” an album that detailed his battles and how he overcame them, his status as the best rapper — and pop’s top artist — was restored.
Country trio Lady Antebellum couldn’t be more opposite to Eminem, but their album “Need You Now” was the second-best-selling album of the year, doing almost as well as “Recovery,” with almost 3 million albums sold and fueled by the lovelorn title track — a huge crossover hit for the band. Grammy voters rewarded that success, nominating them for album of the year and record and song of the year for the hit.
Only last year, they were celebrating their first Grammy win.
“It’s been a wild and crazy year; it definitely feels like Christmas came early for us,” said Lady A’s Dave Haywood in a telephone interview after the awards were announced. He wasn’t watching with his bandmates, Charles Kelley and Hillary Scott, but they watched the special and texted each other.
By Mangosuthu Buthelezi
Memories of a long brotherhood tempered in common struggle
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