NOMINEES FOR BEST R&B PERFORMANCE:
"Love and War" by Tamar Braxton
"Best of Me" by Anthony Hamilton
"Nakamarra" by Hiatus Kaiyote (feat. Q-Tip)
"How Many Drinks?" by Miguel (feat. Kendrick Lamar)
"Something" by Snarky Puppy (feat. Lalah Hathaway)
WHO SHOULD WIN: "Love and War" by Tamar Braxton
R&B is accepted as the most sexualized of all music genres, and most of the nominees for the Best R&B Performance Grammy wear the theme on their sleeves. It's how they handle it that will determine who gets the trophy.
"How Many Drinks" by Miguel is the most pop radio-friendly of the nominees, but the guest slot from Kendrick Lamar might rub the jury the wrong way, and if anything it drains the humanity from Miguel's message of frustrated lust. Snarky Puppy's "Something" takes the opposite approach, focusing on flirtation instead. The classic scat improvisation is fun, but this Snarky Puppy love is almost too innocent.
"Best of Me" by Anthony Hamilton is a healthy dose of bedroom music, but it can't compare with the perfect storm that is Tamar Braxton and "Love and War." It's sad but true: The downsides of love are often more gripping than the upsides. And with a voice like Braxton's, listeners get sucked into the performance.
It runs in the family.
WHO WILL WIN: "Love and War" by Tamar Braxton
The good news for Braxton is that even though her contribution to this year's nominees might ring deeper than her competition's, it isn't opposed to pop sensibility either. It would be inaccurate to describe the hook to "Love and War" as anthemic, but it does grab the listener, and that's what it takes to take the Best R&B Performance prize: A concept unique enough to register, and catchy enough to grasp.