- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 7, 2004

LOS ANGELES - Producer-turned-rapper Kanye West collected a leading 10 Grammy nominations yesterday, including album of the year for “The College Dropout,” which largely avoided boasting of sex, money and crime in favor of rhymes about everyday life.

The performer, who wasn’t afraid to sing his own praises when he claimed he was “definitely robbed” when he picked up no trophies at the American Music Awards, also had a nomination for best new artist and shared a songwriting bid for song of the year with “Jesus Walks.”

Usher and Alicia Keys, who collaborated on the hit “My Boo,” followed Mr. West with eight nominations each, including album of the year for Miss Keys’ “The Diary of Alicia Keys” and Usher’s “Confessions.”

Ray Charles, whose posthumous duets album “Genius Loves Company,” became the biggest-selling album of his long career, had seven nominations, including album of the year and record of the year for “Here We Go Again,” sung with Norah Jones.

Green Day garnered six bids for its hard-driving pop-punk album “American Idiot,” which satirized culture, politics and apathy. The group was nominated for record of the year and best rock song for the title track and for best rock album.

Besides Mr. Charles and Miss Jones’ “Here We Go Again” and Green Day’s “American Idiot,” other record-of-the-year contenders are the mellow love song “Heaven” by Los Lonely Boys, the jumpy party song “Let’s Get It Started” by the Black Eyed Peas and Usher’s massive hit “Yeah!”

Posthumous was the operative word in the competition for best pop collaboration with vocals. Mr. Charles competes against himself with the duets “Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word,” with Elton John, and “Here We Go Again.” Also nominated was a cover of the late Bob Marley’s “Redemption Song” by Johnny Cash and the Clash’s Joe Strummer, both deceased. The other two bids went to veterans: Stevie Wonder and Take 6 for “Moon River,” and Paul McCartney and Eric Clapton for “Something” from the album “Concert for George,” a tribute to the late George Harrison.

The Grammys will be presented Feb. 13 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles during a live telecast on CBS.

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