Album of the Year
Will Win: Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, "The Heist"
Should Win: Kendrick Lamar, "good kid, m.A.A.d city"
The GRAMMY Awards have always hesitated at giving the top album prize to a rap album -- ask Kanye West or Eminem, who are a combined 0-for-6 in this category. "The Heist" by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis is the perfect submission to win the first hip-hop album of the year since Outkast's "Speakerboxx/The Love Below" -- another album full of year-defining hits by a pair of personalities who are outlandish, thoughtful and largely inoffensive -- exactly a decade ago. Although "The Heist" (like Taylor Swift's "Red," Daft Punk's "Random Access Memories" and Sara Bareilles' "The Blessed Unrest") is an album with enumerable highlights, Kendrick Lamar's "good kid, m.A.A.d city," as a complete work, is a watershed release for the genre. From the chest-thumping braggadocio of "Backseat Freestyle" to the harrowing realism of "m.A.A.d city" to the vacant sorrow of "Sing About Me, I'm Dying Of Thirst," Lamar's proper debut presents new revelations with each listen, and established its creator as hip-hop's next great hope. Even the Möbius-strip concept of the album's track sequencing is fantastic! King Kendrick deserves to be crowned here.