Chicago is shining brightly at the 2017 Grammy Awards in February as Chance the Rapper locks in seven nominations for his latest album, “Coloring Day,” which includes best new artist of the year. Not new to the music industry, Chance first turned heads with his release Acid Rap in 2012, but up until this year, only retail-distributed music was allowed for consideration.
The recording academy announced earlier this year that streaming-only releases on paid subscriptions services such as Spotify, Tidal and Apple would be admitted.
Another Chicago native, BJ The Chicago Kid, is also going to the Grammys, nominated for his first — best R&B performance, “Turnin’ Me Up,” along with Donny Hathaway’s little girl, Lalah Hathaway. The former South Sider has three Grammys under her belt. Hathaway has two Grammy nominations, including her Anita Baker rendition for “Angel” in the best traditional R&B performance category.
Both BJ and Hathaway will go head-to-head for best R&B album of the year, but we are not mad at all. They follow in the tradition of incredible Soul music that has resonated throughout the last six decades in the Windy City.
We can’t forget our favorite hitmaker, Kanye West, who’s worn the Grammy-winning crown 21 times. Up for eight nominations including the Best Rap/Sung performance featuring Chance the Rapper, Kelly Price, Kirk Franklin & the Dream for “Ultralight Beam,” West is also up for best rap album along with fellow native Chance the Rapper. Although the headlines have focused on the rapper’s personal challenges, his musical achievements are acknowledged by his peers.
West is known for his controversial statements that sometimes have people speechless and scratching their heads. However, his genius as one of the top music producers has given many rising and established artists and songwriters a chance to share in his collaborations. From Chief Keef, King Louie, Malik Yusef, Twista, Rhymefest, GLC, Common and Chance the Rapper, some would not have Grammys sitting on their mantels without a West collabo.
But most impressive is the fact that both West and Chance are nominated for three songs in best rap song — “Famous,” “No Problem,” “Ultralight Beam.”
In the Gospel category, Todd Dulaney is up for his first Grammy nomination in the best gospel album of the year. “A Worshipper’s Heart [Live].” Dulaney has taken the Gospel music charts by storm with his melodic style and beautiful songwriting.
A former professional baseball player, Dulaney was encouraged by his pastor, Smokie Norful, to expand his talents into music. He follows in Norful’s footsteps, a two-time Grammy winner for his 2004 release, “Nothing Without You,” and in 2015 for best Gospel song, “No Greater Love.”
Jennifer Hudson joins the Broadway cast of “The Color Purple” for its nomination for best musical theater album.
The Blues category would not be the Blues without a Chicago presence. Both legendary Blues artists Lurrie Bell and Bobby Rush are nominated for best traditional Blues album. Bell’s “Can’t Shake This Feeling” and Rush’s album “Porcupine Meat” are vying for the Grammy win.
The honors are a celebration of the deep-rich history of Chicago Black music that has become an international city immersed in Soul, Gospel, Jazz, House and Blues music.
The 2017 Grammy awards will be broadcast on CBS, Feb. 12 at 7 p.m.
For a full list of 2017 Grammy nominees, click here.