Kendrick Lamar could very well be on his way to making history with his seven Grammy nominations. The buzz surrounding him now is reminiscent to how big a deal it was in 1999 when Lauryn Hill broke the record for taking home the most Grammy Awards in one night with a debut.
Hill's 1998 Miseducation of Lauryn Hill not only marked a milestone in her personal life as her first full-length solo project, but in receiving five awards at the ceremony that evening, it also meant that a cultural shift was happening in the mainstream.
Since then, only Alicia Keys, Norah Jones and Beyoncé (in that order) have accomplished such a feat (even Michael Jackson, with his eight trophies in one night, had already debuted long before he earned that record in 1984).
It's the kind of feat that signifies a re-considering of how a genre of music is composed, and "urban" music — as it was at the zenith of hip hop's golden era — is at a breaking point in the mainstream.
This year, not only is Lamar's good kid, m.A.A.d. city an example of this (and that it has reached platinum sales and countless nods from various awards committees), but he's one of many collectively pushing for a change — BET Music Matters stars, a collective which includes Miguel and J. Cole (friendly fire aside).
Miguel, for example, earned two nods, in the Best R&B Performance category for his vocals on the Lamar-assisted "How Many Drinks?" and with Cole in the Best Rap/Sung Collaboration for Cole's "Power Trip."
PJ Morton, also a Music Matters star, is nominated in the Best R&B Song category for his "Only One" and Mack Wilds, a more recent inductee, will go head to head with his mentor Salaam Remi in the Best Urban Contemporary Album — New York: A Love Story versus One: In the Chamber.
But don't expect Lamar to fazed by any of this. "As far as pressure," he told GRAMMY.com, "I knew from the moment I wrote my first rap there was going to be pressure. I didn't come into this trying to be number two. I always wanted to be number one at what I'm doing."
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(Photo: Helen Boast/Redferns via Getty Images)