2022 Grammys Predictions: Who Will Win and Who Should Win

Saturday - 02/04/2022 06:55
It’s that time of the year again.
Image via Getty/FilmMagic
Image via Getty/FilmMagic

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The Grammys have many well-documented faults, and we all know there’s a lot of room for improvement when it comes to the awards process, but it’s undeniable that the event still holds weight in the music world. In theory, it’s a night when the most talented and successful musicians receive well-deserved recognition for their work. In reality, of course, that isn’t always the case. Year after year, we see worthy artists get snubbed.

Considering the chaotic history of the Grammys, it’s always a difficult task to predict what will actually happen in each category, so we like to split our predictions in two: who will win, and whoshould win. This is our way of predicting the choices of the Academy, while also sharing our own opinions about who we think deserves to take home some hardware. Without further ado, here are this year’s Grammys predictions from the Complex Music staff.
 


Best Rap Album

Tyler, the Creator
Image via YouTube/Tyler, the CreatorCaption
 

Nominees: J. Cole (The Off-Season), Drake (Certified Lover Boy), Nas (King’s Disease II), Tyler, the Creator (Call Me If You Get Lost), Kanye West (Donda)

Who will win: Tyler, the Creator – Call Me If You Get Lost

The Grammys and Tyler don’t have the smoothest history, considering the 2020 flap over IGORbeing nominated in the rap category instead of in the main categories. But there’s less ambiguity this year about Call Me If You Get Lost’s status in the rap category. If you take narratives into account, the Academy might give him the nod, in part to get on his good side. If his latest efforts are any indication, he’s going to be in contention for their top awards for the foreseeable future. Why not get one of those immaculate performances on the Grammys program?

Who should win: Tyler, the Creator – Call Me If You Get Lost

That’s not at all to say this would be a mere political pick, though. Call Me If You Get Lost is the best choice in this category. For one, it’s the only album that could be widely considered the nominated artist’s best effort. He put 110% into the project, and it feels like everything the Grammys like to award: it’s a fun, melodic, lovelorn record with pop sensibilities, but more than enough bars to impress. It would honestly be a travesty if any of the other records got Best Rap Album this time around. —Andre Gee
 


Best Rap Son

J. Cole
Image via YouTube/J. Cole
 

Nominees: DMX f/ Jay-Z & Nas (“Bath Salts”), Saweetie f/ Doja Cat (“Best Friend”), Baby Keem f/ Kendrick Lamar (“Family Ties”), Kanye West f/ Jay-Z (“Jail”), J. Cole f/ 21 Savage & Morray (“My Life”)

Who will win: J. Cole f/ 21 Savage & Morray – “My Life”)​​​​​​

It looks like J. Cole and 21 Savage might be winning another Grammy together. After the Fayetteville rapper won his first with Savage last year for “A Lot,” the two have established even better chemistry, which is reflected in their second song together, “My Life.” This will be a major moment for them, and it will also give Fayetteville up-and-comer Morray his first Grammy. J. Cole is nominated in every rap category, so it would be egregious if he didn’t walk away with at least one.

Who should win: Baby Keem f/ Kendrick Lamar – “Family Ties”

Even though I’m hoping that my Cole agenda actually pulls through this year, Kendrick Lamar’s return to rap, in the form of a feature on Baby Keem’s “Family Ties,” deserves to win a Grammy. Not only did Kendrick come back in a major way with a ridiculous verse that had him “smoking on your top five,” Keem was also able to hold his own next to his big cousin on a major stage. The Melodic Blue was a stellar album, and Keem winning a Grammy would be the perfect way to mark the beginning of a new phase in his career. —Jordan Rose
 


Best Rap Performance

cardi b
Image via Getty/Paras Griffin
 

Nominees: Baby Keem f/ Kendrick Lamar (“Family Ties”), Cardi B (“Up”), J. Cole f/ 21 Savage & Morray (“My Life”), Drake f/ Future & Young Thug (“Way 2 Sexy”), Megan Thee Stallion (“Thot Shit”)

Who will win: Cardi B – “Up”

We think they’re going to go with “Up” this time around. Cardi is one of the most exciting rappers in the game when it comes to mic presence. “Up” was everywhere at the start of last year, and it’s a fun record with a catchy cadence and an even more memorable hook. Also, she has a whopping nine nominations with just one previous win (Best Rap Album for Invasion of Privacy) so this would be a practical time to make that right. 

Who should win: Baby Keem f/ Kendrick Lamar – “Family Ties”

The Grammys categories can be confusing, but Best Rap Performance is less about the pen and more about the vocals. When it comes to flow, cadence, and overall thrilling a listener, it doesn’t get better than “Family Ties” in this grouping. Keem and Kendrick took turns showing out on this one. The record took hold of us as soon as the triumphant horns blared, and both artists met the moment (and the beat switch) with vocal theatrics laced with quotables. —Andre Gee
 


Best Melodic Rap Performance

Lil Nas X on red carpet for GQ event
Photo by Leon Bennett/Getty Images
 

Nominees: J. Cole f/ Lil Baby (“Pride Is the Devil”), Doja Cat (“Need to Know”), Lil Nas X f/ Jack Harlow (“Industry Baby”), Tyler, the Creator f/ Youngboy Never Broke Again & Ty Dolla Sign (“Wusyaname”), Kanye West f/ The Weeknd & Lil Baby (“Hurricane”)

Who will win: Lil Nas X f/ Jack Harlow – “Industry Baby”

Lil Nas X and Jack Harlow’s “Industry Baby’’ has everything the Grammys love. The duo of Lil Nas X, an artist who has been able to challenge the status quo in a way that is both provocative and radio-friendly, and Harlow, a rapper who has been embraced as the latest mainstream industry darling, fills every space in the Recording Academy’s bingo board. Not only that, but “Industry Baby” is a pretty damn good song that has experienced significant chart success, landing Nas X his third No. 1 record and Harlow his first. It’s one of the biggest songs of the last year and the easy favorite to take home this award, even if some other nominated songs feel more aligned with melodic rap.

Who should win: Tyler, the Creator f/ Youngboy Never Broke Again & Ty Dolla Sign – “Wusyaname”

Let’s be honest, it’s unlikely that the committee will give YoungBoy Never Broke Again a Grammy. This song deserves one, though. It’s enveloped in warm, summertime energy, and Tyler is able to get YoungbBoy out of his usual trap pockets, urging him to sing melodically to the tune of his horn. This unlikely pairing works amazingly well together, and if not for the mass appeal and chart success of “Industry Baby,” it might have snagged this award. —Jordan Rose
 


Album of the Year

Olivia Rodrigo
Image via Getty/Jason Mendez


Nominees: Jon Batiste (We Are), Tony Bennett & Lady Gaga (Love for Sale), Justin Bieber (Justice), Doja Cat (Planet Her), Billie Eilish (Happier Than Ever), H.E.R. (Back of My Mind), Lil Nas X (Montero), Olivia Rodrigo (Sour), Taylor Swift (Evermore), Kanye West (Donda)

Who will win: Olivia Rodrigo – Sour

Sour was one of the year’s biggest (and most talked-about) albums of the year, and it’s the clear frontrunner in this category. Whenever you make a project that appeals to both teenagers and their parents, you’re probably going to clean up at the Grammys. With Sour, there’s something that appeals to most people, and when we think back on this era in pop music two decades from now, it’s one of the first albums that will come to mind. It’s the obvious pick here.

Who should win: Doja Cat – Planet Her

Doja Cat deserves all the credit in the world for making an extremely commercially successful album, full of big hits, while also finding ways to stay unique and daring. This is far from a safe album, but it also made a huge impact, which is always a challenging needle to thread. She leaned into her most endearing eccentricities, making a catchy album full of thrilling left turns. It deserves a Grammy. —Eric Skelton
 


Song of the Year

Olivia Rodrigo
Image via Getty/JMEnternational/JMEnternational for BRIT Awards
 

Nominees: Ed Sheeran (“Bad Habits”), Alicia Keys & Brandi Carlile (“A Beautiful Noise”), Olivia Rodrigo (“Drivers License”), H.E.R. (“Fight for You”), Billie Eilish (“Happier Than Ever”), Doja Cat f/ SZA (“Kiss Me More”), Silk Sonic (“Leave the Door Open”), Lil Nas X (“Montero (Call Me By Your Name)”) Justin Bieber f/ Daniel Caesar & Giveon (“Peaches”), Brandi Carlilie (“Right on Time”)

Who will win: Olivia Rodrigo – “Drivers License”

The Song of the Year category is mainly predicated on songwriting, and we think the Recording Academy will love some teen angst this year. “Drivers License” doesn’t just have the prominence to win the award—setting Spotify’s streaming record in a day for a non-holiday song with 15.17 million global listens—but also the subject matter, with more substance than most of its competition. Outside of H.E.R.’s “I Can’t Breathe” and Donald Glover’s “This is America,” every Song of the Year winner for the past decade has been some form of a traditional pop song. Olivia Rodrigo is poised to take her place amongst them.

Who should win: Silk Sonic – “Leave the Door Open”

“Leave the Door Open” is the only other song that could really compete with “Drivers License,” possessing both the commercial success and lyrical diversity. This song was everywhere, and arguably has a better narrative structure than Rodrigo’s track. Bruno Mars and Anderson .Paak’s total commitment to the aesthetics and chords of early R&B and Motown takes the song to the next level, making it sound unlike everything else that populates the radio right now. It’s timeless. This category isn’t as clear-cut as some of the others, and Silk Sonic might be able to come away with the upset, but it’s going to be an uphill battle. —Jordan Rose
 


Record of the Year

Silk Sonic new song and video.
Image via Theo Wargo/Getty Images for The Recording Academy/Getty
 

Nominees: Jon Batiste (“Freedom”), Tony Bennett & Lady Gaga (“I Get a Kick Out of You”), Justin Bieber f/ Daniel Caesar & Giveon (“Peaches”), Brandi Carlile (“Right on Time”), Doja Cat f/ SZA (“Kiss Me More”), Billie Eilish (“Happier Than Ever”), Olivia Rodrigo (“Drivers License”), Silk Sonic (“Leave the Door Open”), Lil Nas X (“Montero”), Abba (“I Still Have Faith in You”)

Who will win: Silk Sonic – “Leave the Door Open”

After making their television debut at last year’s Grammys with a standout performance of this very song, Silk Sonic granted us our wish and could be heard in just about every club, Uber, and playlist in 2021. With the release of the duo’s An Evening With Silk Sonic, Bruno Mars and Anderson .Paak doubled down on their 70’s/Motown aesthetic and catapulted themselves into the upper echelon of world-builders in today’s musical landscape. Returning to (and opening) this year’s Grammys, we can see voters getting excited about this full-circle moment and giving them the award.

Who should win: Lil Nas X – “Montero”

Silk Sonic certainly did their thing this year, but Lil Nas X exists. His chokehold on the internet (and the music industry) has only grown tighter in 2021. After bursting on the scene in 2019 and releasing the most commercially successful song in the history of music, Lil Nas X did nothing but continue to churn out Platinum record after Platinum record and carve out his own unique sound and aesthetic. The award for Record of the Year serves to recognize the artist, producers, recording engineers, mixers, and mastering engineers—essentially everyone responsible for creating the aesthetic that makes a hit record a hit record. “Montero” checks off all the boxes, and it had the biggest internet impact when it dropped. It deserves to take home the award here. —Stefan Breskin


Best New Artist

olivia rodrigo good
Image via YouTube/Olivia Rodrigo
 

Nominees: Arooj Aftab, Jimmie Allen, Baby Keem, FINNEAS, Glass Animals, Japanese Breakfast, The Kid Laroi, Arlo Parks, Olivia Rodrigo, Saweetie

Who will win: Olivia Rodrigo

This might be the safest pick of the whole night. As you’ve noticed by our predictions so far, we think Olivia is going to clean up at the Grammys this year, including potential wins in major categories over established A-list stars, and she has a clear edge over her fellow rookies. While we’re here, though, can we talk about how weird it is that veteran acts like Glass Animals are in this category? I’m a big fan of their music, but they put out their first project on XL Recordings almost ten years ago. There need to be new parameters put in place for this category. It doesn’t make any sense.

Who should win: Baby Keem

Honestly, if Olivia wins this award, we won’t be mad. She had a great year, and she’s a worthy pick. But if you’ve been reading Complex over the past three and a half years, you know how much we like Baby Keem. (If you haven’t already, go check out the first in-depth interview he ever did with us back in July 2019.) The Melodic Blue was one of the best, most ambitious debut rap albums we’ve heard in years, and Keem deserves some hardware for it. Either way, we have a feeling he’ll be a mainstay at the Grammys for years to come. —Eric Skelton
 


Best Pop Solo Performance

Olivia Rodrigo is seen outside Build Studio
Image via Getty/Raymond Hall/GC Images
 

Nominees: Justin Bieber (“Anyone”), Brandi Carlile (“Right on Time”), Billie Eilish (“Happier Than Ever”), Ariana Grande (“Positions”), Olivia Rodrigo (“Drivers License”)

Who will win: Olivia Rodrigo – “Drivers License”

Olivia Rodrigo will clean up at the Grammys this year, there’s no doubt about it, and this will be one of her easiest category to win. Not only is the competition light for Best Pop Solo Performance, but this is also one of the few instances where the Academy will hopefully get it right. “Drivers License” sounds like a flashback to the glory days of early-aughts pop music angst, and Rodrigo’s vocal performance follows suit.

Who should win: Olivia Rodrigo – “Drivers License”

The Grammys will probably get it right here. Olivia Rodrigo is a heavy favorite to take home a lot of awards this year, and this is just another category that she’ll dominate. —Jordan Rose
 


Best Pop Duo/Group Performance

Doja Cat Pepsi
Image via Pepsi/Doja Cat


Nominees: Tony Bennett & Lady Gaga (“I Get a Kick Out of You”), Justin Bieber & Benny Blanco (“Lonely”), BTS (“Butter”), Coldplay (“Higher Power”), Doja Cat f/ SZA (“Kiss Me More”)

Who will win: Doja Cat f/ SZA – “Kiss Me More”

This category is a no-brainer. Doja Cat and SZA’s pop collaboration, “Kiss Me More” is the obvious standout among the nomination pool, and it should easily take the Grammy. It was a critical success (including a No. 5 spot on Complex’s Best Songs of 2021 list) and commercially, it peaked at No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100. Plus, the song is great. Doja Cat and SZA both deliver sensual vocals over a fun beat, and the whole thing is perfect for summer playlists.

Who should win: Doja Cat f/ SZA – “Kiss Me More”

We think the Academy will get this one right. “Kiss Me More” is irresistibly catchy and when put against any of the other pop collaborations in this list, it shines even brighter. —Jessica McKinney
 


Best Pop Vocal Album

Olivia Rodrigo visit's People Now.
Image via Getty/Jason Mendez


Nominees: Justin Bieber (Justice), Doja Cat (Planet Her), Billie Eilish (Happier Than Ever), Ariana Grande (Positions), Olivia Rodrigo (Sour)

Who will win: Olivia Rodrigo – Sour

At this point, are you surprised? Here’s another Olivia prediction. Sour was a critically-acclaimed debut album, garnering more than 385 million streams in its first week on Spotify, beating the record formerly set by Ariana Grande’s Thank U, Next. Not to mention, the album also includes some of the biggest pop tracks of the year, including “Drivers License” and “Good 4 U.” It’s a clear frontrunner.

Who should win: Doja Cat – Planet Her (Deluxe)

Olivia Rodrigo’s Sour isn’t a bad choice in this category, but Doja Cat’s Planet Her deserves some love. It was a cohesive body of work that highlighted Doja Cat’s range and affinity for mixing pop beats with sexy vocals and rap. We hope it wins in this category, since it was nominated, but we also think Planet Her could be considered a rap album and it should’ve been put in competition with other great rap albums of the year. —Jessica McKinney
 


Best R&B Performance

Anderson .Paak and Bruno Mars of Silk Sonic are seen backstage for the 2021 American Music Awards
Image via Getty/John Esparza
 

Nominees: Snoh Aalegra (“Lost You”), Justin Bieber f/ Daniel Caesar & Giveon (“Peaches”), H.E.R. (“Damage”), Silk Sonic (“Leave the Door Open”), Jazmine Sullivan (“Pick Up Your Feelings”)

Who will win: Silk Sonic – “Leave the Door Open”

Like Olivia Rodrigo, Silk Sonic will also collect a lot of hardware this year. The vocal performances from Bruno Mars and Anderson .Paak are both stellar on “Leave the Door Open,” and the song is already nominated in several other heavy-hitter categories, so the Academy is likely to award them with at least one Grammy.

Who should win: Jazmine Sullivan – “Pick Up Your Feelings”

Jazmine Sullivan’s Heaux Tales deserves all of the flowers it’s received over the past year, and one of its standout tracks, “Pick Up Your Feelings,” should be getting a Grammy to go along with them. We all know the Grammys have leaned towards the more commercially successful songs when making their selections in the past, but Sullivan’s consistently impressive neo-R&B performances should not be going unnoticed. She killed this song, and even if the Grammys don’t recognize that, we do. —Jordan Rose
 


Best R&B Song

silk sonic/Kevin Mazur
Image via Getty


Nominees: H.E.R. (“Damage”), SZA (“Good Days”), Giveon (“Heartbreak Anniversary”), Silk Sonic (“Leave the Door Open”), Jazmine Sullivan (“Pick Up Your Feelings”)

Who will win: Silk Sonic – “Leave the Door Open”

Bruno Mars and Anderson .Paak make the perfect duo—two talented musicians with a funk and soul sound that welcomes both young and seasoned listeners. “Leave the Door Open” is the perfect example of what they’re capable of. It’s smooth, with a retro feel, but also sounds refreshingly current. This seems like an obvious choice for the Recording Academy.

Who should win: Giveon – “Heartbreak Anniversary”

All of the songs in this category are pretty spot on, but if the award could go to any other performer, Giveon’s “Heartbreak Anniversary” should get that look. Giveon’s emotionally-rich vocals over Maneesh and Sevn Thomas co-production makes this a truly beautiful record. And although it didn’t perform as well as “Leave the Door Open” did commercially, it deserves a win here. —Jessica McKinney
 


Best R&B Album

 
Jazmine Sullivan on the red carpet.
Image via Getty Images/Shannon Finney
 

Nominees: Snoh Aalegra (Temporary Highs in the Violet Skies), Jon Batiste (We Are), Leon Bridges (Gold-Diggers Sound), H.E.R. (Back of My Mind), Jazmine Sullivan (Heaux Tales)

Who will win: Jazmine Sullivan – Heaux Tales

This should be an easy pick. Heaux Tales was easily one of the best R&B projects of the year. Jazmine Sullivan’s ability to illustrate the ups and downs of love and relationships is unmatched, and her vocal ability is next-level. Sullivan is amongst favorites like H.E.R. and Snoh Aalegra, but I don’t see anyone outshining her Grammys night.

Who should win: Jazmine Sullivan – Heaux Tales

Snoh Aalegra’s Temporary Highs in the Violet Skies was certainly a great album, and it may even have an argument for winning this category, but listening back to Heaux Tales again, it just makes the most sense. And it’s simply time that Jazmine Sullivan gets her flowers. —Jessica McKinney
 


Best Music Video

Lil Nas X 'Montero'
Image via YouTube/Lil Nas X
 

Nominees: AC/DC (“Shot in the Dark”), Jon Batiste (“Freedom”), Tony Bennett & Lady Gaga (“I Get a Kick Out of You”), Justin Bieber f/ Daniel Caesar & Giveon (“Peaches”), Billie Eilish (“Happier Than Ever”), Lil Nas X (“Montero (Call Me By Your Name)”), Olivia Rodrigo (“Good 4 U”)

Who will win: Lil Nas X – “Montero (Call Me By Your Name)”

The Grammys love Lil Nas X, for good reason. He’s a magnet for the kind of controversy that draws viewers, and he’s also a talented artist with music and visuals that deserve nomination. All of that was on display on “Montero,” a surreal video that had everyone and their homophobic uncle up in arms last year. It seems like a no-brainer that the Tanu Muino-directed visual gets the nod.

Who should win: Lil Nas X – “Montero (Call Me By Your Name)”

There’s only one video on this list that had politicians and Fox News anchors in an uproar. Pop music is at its best comes with a little danger, and the “Montero” video fit that bill. It’s mostly the video’s final descent into hell (and twerk session with the devil) that stoked the world’s satanic panic, but those scenes alone make it worthy of the win. This Grammy win may be more of a political statement than any others this year. —Andre Gee
 


Producer of the Year, Non-Classical

Jack Antonoff
Image via Getty


Nominees: Jack Antonoff, Roget Chahayed, Mike Elizondo, Hit-Boy, Ricky Reed

Who will win: Jack Antonoff

When it comes to the pop production world, no one’s been on a better run than Jack Antonoff, who had his hand in albums from Lorde, Lana Del Rey, Clairo, St. Vincent, and Taylor Swift, plus his own band Bleachers. He’s always been prolific, but he’s really outdone himself lately. He’s a fairly safe pick for this one.

Who should win: Hit-Boy

When it came time for Complex to name our annual Best Hip-Hop Producer Alive for 2021, Hit-Boy was barely edged out by The Alchemist, but out of these nominees, he clearly deserves the nod. His work with Nas has been incredible, anchoring a phenomenal run these last couple of years, and he’s elevated the work of many collaborators. It would be great to see him bring home more hardware. —Eric Skelton

 

 

Author: Editors Desk

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 Keywords: The Grammys

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