I feel like Twitter has too much fun trying to school the BET Awards all the time. I see a lot of smack get talked in regards to this particular show, but I don’t think it’s justified a lot of the time. And no, I’m not talking about the over-the-hill, past-her-prime insanity machine known as Stacey Dash‘s claim that show’s like this shouldn’t exist; she’s already reached the pinnacle of dumbassery honestly. I just mean people who in general get a kick out of joking about the relevance of the show itself. But let’s be honest here: the BET Awards really is consistently one of the most fun, entertaining, and watchable award shows of the year. Not as boring as the Emmys, it’s excitement hasn’t become as forced and obligated as the VMAs has, and they do always find a way to give us a few unforgettable performances. The “Touch It (Remix)” performance from a decade ago is still fresh in my mind. If I do have one problem, it’s that the winners are predictable a lot of the time; we’ll see soon whether or not that rings true for this year’s show with my predictions here. Also, will any of the big names even show up? Artists like Beyoncé and Drake suspiciously seem to find other things to do when the BET Awards come around lately. I guess we’ll have to tune in to find out. But for now, let’s predict these winners…in the music fields. I’m leaving the acting and athlete awards alone here. Let’s get started.
Best Female R&B/Pop Artist
Adele vs. Andra Day vs. Beyoncé vs. K. Michelle vs. Rihanna
Discussing this category is completely pointless, because the entire conversation will revolve around one person and one person only. No matter how well of a case I make for the other nominees, it will always come back around to and ultimately end on Beyoncé. The singer we’ve all pretty much decided to treat as a pop music deity set the world on fire with a single tasty liquid buzzword: “Lemonade”. Her fiercest music rival Rihanna also released an anticipated album this year and topped Billboard for several weeks with the single “Work”. Meanwhile, Adele came back with a vengeance and earned this nomination with a highly successful album and an equally successful soulful single in “Hello”. Also, someone call Stacey Dash, because I do believe this is a white person being nominated for a BET Award; not the first one either. I got to take a liking to Andra Day during my Grammys Forecast (and by watching Centric’s music video block pretty often), and while she may not be a huge name now, I hope she sticks around and maybe gets nominated again next year. And K. Michelle…is someone I don’t keep up with. The only song from her I know the words to came out two damn years ago.
Who I Want to Win: Beyoncé ; as big a Rihanna stan as I am, I can admit that Lemonade was a much better album and I’d be fine with awarding her for it.
Who Will Win: Beyoncé; unless Rihanna pulls an upset or BET wants to suprise us with an Adele victory, there’s no way Queen Bey isn’t winning.
Best Male R&B/Pop Artist
Bryson Tiller vs. Chris Brown vs. Jeremih vs. The Weeknd vs. Tyrese
I’m about to sound like a total grandpa here. Maybe it’s because I grew up in an era where the top male artists in R&B included names like Musiq Soulchild, Maxwell, Joe, Donell Jones, vintage Usher, and even Dave Hollister, so I do prefer my modern R&B to sound a certain way for the most part. And that way is to still sound like R&B music, and most of these artists sound like a far cry from that. Tyrese obviously still sounds like that because he came from that era as well and he’s nominated this year for what he claims will be his final album. Chris Brown did sound like that for a while, but with a more youthful flair. Then the incident we’re all aware of happened in 2009 and his image and sound revamped completely and he started rapping for some reason. Jeremih’s first single has been in the veign of that early-2000s R&B, but his sound shifted too and now – surprise, surprise – he sings over catchy, trap-infused beats. And Bryson Tiller pretty much came out the gate like this. And The Weeknd is not everyone’s cup of tea, but out of every modern male R&B singer except for maybe Ne-Yo, I think I’m most willing to listen to his offerings.
Who I Want to Win: Either The Weeknd because of his uniquely dark vibe or Tyrese because at least his music takes me back to that era of R&B that I actually enjoy.
Who Will Win: Most likely The Weeknd because he was massive this year.
2 Chainz & Lil Wayne vs. Drake & Future vs. Puff Daddy & The Family vs. Rae Sremmurd vs. The Internet
Really? 2 Chainz & Lil Wayne are a group? First of all, I was unaware (aside from one song with Charlie Puth) that either man even released anything this year, let alone together. Second, the only song they’ve been on together that even comes to my mind came out three years ago. Maybe they performed a few times together, but again, I must’ve missed it because seeing them in this category kind of baffles me. Drake & Future, on the other hand, I’m less surprised by since What A Time to be Alive was a pretty successful collaboration album and pretty much the entire album charted on the Billboard Hot 100 with “Jumpman” apparently being Taylor Swift’s go-to treadmill jam. Puff Daddy & The Family are also nominated, because nostalgia. They did release a video or two this year, but if I wanna listen to them I’ll stick to the oldies like “All About the Benjamins (Rock Remix)”, thank you. Rae Sremmurd is a duo I’d rather not comment on because I’m not exactly jumping up to compliment them and after a Grammy nomination, I feel like I should find time to learn more about The Internet.
Who I Want to Win: I don’t know; the Internet, I guess.
Who Will Win: Either Drake & Future because they were the “It” tag team of the year in hip-hop or Puffy and the Family because nostalgia.
“Play No Games” vs. “One Man Can Change The World” vs. “Where Ya At?” vs. “Feeling Myself” vs. “Work”
Big Sean is in this category twice for songs that are honestly not bad. “Play No Games” features on-going music villain Chris Brown, Ty Dolla $ign (who is slowly growing on me), and a sample from a group simply known as “Guy” and the song sounds nice; paired with the hilarious Martin-inspired video, I give it a thumbs up. His collaboration with Kanye and John Legend is much more socially conscious and is also enhanced by the powerful VMA-winning video. Nicki & Beyoncé’s star power alone was enough to make “Feeling Myself” a certified jam, even if the music video has been annoyingly locked onto Tidal for the longest. “Work” topped Billboard for WEEKS and may be my favorite song in the category despite definitely not being the most quality song. And of course, there’s Drake & Future, who are apparently a collaboration now instead of a group; then again, “Where Ya At” was from a Future solo project and not the joint album. Apparently, if Rihanna can get by off repeating “work”, Drake & Future can get away with repeating “Where yo’ ass was at?”
Who I Want to Win: I’m biased for “Work”, or any song Rihanna & Drake work on together honestly. Their chemistry alone deserves an award.
Who Will Win: Either “Feeling Myself” or one of the Big Sean songs.
Best Male Hip-Hop Artist
Drake vs. Fetty Wap vs. Future vs. J. Cole vs. Kanye West vs. Kendrick Lamar
No wonder Drake barely makes award show appearances anymore; he’s too busy plotting world domination by constantly recording material to dominate the musical landscape with. In the past year-and-a-half, he’s released a Grammy-nominated “mixtape”, numerous diss tracks toward Meek Mill (one of which was also Grammy nominated), and a collaboration album with Future. And that’s not to mention his features for other artists as well. But while Drake gets nominated for Grammys, Kendrick straight-up won them, earning a ton of them for his masterpiece To Pimp A Butterfly and his chart-topping collaboration with Taylor Swift. Kanye West continues to push the boundaries of normality by releasing The Life of Pablo exclusively on Tidal and regularly updating it, because that’s totally how albums work. Why re-release when you can update? Future is everywhere, the base for a legion of imitators, Fetty Wap has been a hitmaking machine and is one of the luckiest men in the world because he got to be in THIS video, and J. Cole proved that you can sell a rap album in this day and age without featuring credits. Impressive, right?
Who I Want to Win: Kendrick Lamar or Drake would be fine with me.
Who Will Win: Kendrick Lamar or Drake is who it’s going to. Most likely Drake.
Best Female Hip-Hop Artist
Dej Loaf vs. Lil’ Kim vs. Missy Elliott vs. Nicki Minaj vs. Remy Ma
Can I just skip to the next category? I know I said the same thing about Carrie Underwood‘s Video of the Year streak in the CMT Awards Forecast and ended up wrong, but this time, I say this with the utmost confidence: we all know Nicki Minaj is gonna win. She’s won every year since 2010 and she’s the only female rapper we’ve allowed to be successful in the last few years without the result of an eventual backlash. What makes us think the outcome will be any different this year? Because the competition this year is at least decent or recognizable? I mean, I will admit, the names in this category will ring more bells than recent nominees in this category like Rasheeda, Brianna Perry, and Cymphonique. Lil’ Kim’s best days are behind her and I had no idea she’d even released anything this year. I also didn’t know Remy Ma (who’s decade-old “Conceited” still bangs, for the record) released anything, but she’s received a surge in relevance lately, so I won’t question it. Dej Loaf is the freshest MC here; not a big fan of her music, but at least she’s still on the scene long after “Try Me” faded. And then there’s my personal hip-hop queen Missy Elliott, who released a new music video last year, won Billboard’s Innovator Award, had features on new albums from Fifth Harmony and the returning Tweet, and even took part in a Michelle Obama posse cut “This Is For My Girls”. Missy is back and we desperately needed her.
Who I Want to Win: Missy Elliott; she last won this award in 2008 and I’d love to see her win it again.
Who Will Win: Nicki Minaj; her streak might actually match The Undertaker’s before it’s broken.
Best New Artist
Alessia Cara vs. Andra Day vs. Bryson Tiller vs. Kehlani vs. Tory Lanez
I heard a ton of hype around Bryson Tiller and how he’s such a great new artist, so I decided to give his album a listen. The verdict: I don’t get it. I’ve stated before how I’ve grown tired of the oversaturation of trap production in music, and his album let me know that even though most people dig it and it’s totally cool if they do, combining it with R&B music isn’t personally for me. I prefer the two separate. Meanwhile, Centric video airplay exposed me to both Alessia Cara and Andra Day. I’ve been jamming to Alessia Cara since the second I heard “Here”, as evidenced by the fact that her first two singles went #1 on my weekly Top 20. Spoiler alert: expect to see her name in the “Who I Want to Win” section of this entry. And Andra Day has a very solid output too; she may have lost at the Grammys Awards this year (trophy-wise; certainly not performance-wise), I could see her grabbing more ears soon. I don’t think I’ve heard anything from Tory Lanez, and if I have, it was probably just in passing and I was unaware that it was him, so I don’t really have an opinion on him. And Kehlani isn’t necessarily an artist I’d say I’m interested in, but the fact that she already has a Grammy nomination proves that there must be something to her.
Who I Want to Win: Alessia Cara. See, I told you her name would be in this entry.
Who Will Win: Bryson Tiller; I just have an unfortunate feeling this is gonna happen.
“Rise Up” vs. “Formation” vs. “Not A Little Bit” vs. “Bitch Better Have My Money” vs. “Under Control”
I love Centric; not only are they one of few music video channels that actually still play music videos, but they balance classic old school jams with current hits and artists of the future who you should probably be checking out. As I stated in the Best New Artist section, they’re the station that introduced me to Alessia Cara and one of the nominees in this category, Andra Day, who’s up for her breakout hit “Rise Up”. Her competition includes K. Michelle being followed around by the big funky cloud from Dragon Tales, Beyoncé standing up for issues affecting black people and especially black women, and Rihanna torturing the wife of the accountant who assumed he could get away with playing around with her money. Finally, we have a video by The Internet that I’ve never seen and cannot find anywhere on the actual Internet, so I can’t speak about that one.
Who I Want to Win: Andre Day since I first heard of her through this channel.
Who Will Win: I can see this going to Andra Day or K. Michelle. You know, spreading the wealth and all that.
Video of the Year
“Formation” vs. “Don’t” vs. “Hotline Bling” vs. “Alright” vs. “Work”
I have to be honest: this category is going to be hard to predict. I totally expected “Formation” and “Hotline Bling” to make it in because the Beyoncé video dominated conversations and sent the world into a talespin when it was released and you only have to look at all the memes it generated to see how massive “Hotline Bling” was. I didn’t expect “Alright” to be here because I had no idea whether or not it was released too soon and would get overlooked; it was nominated for Video of the Year at last year’s VMAs, after all. But it’s here and absolutely deserves to be. Rihanna spoiled us with “Work” by making it two videos in one, one taking place in a dancehall and the other being an intimate, dimly-lit, sexy clip between the two. And the Bryson Tiller video features him rapping in various locatons in-between clips of a very gorgeous woman who he eventually meets up with. I don’t think that video is winning at all; it’s like when they nominated Usher against two Beyoncé videos and two Jay-Z & Kanye videos because they needed a fifth nominee who stood no chance to fill things out. But as for the other videos, who will come out on top?
Who I Want to Win: I want to say “Work” because I have a Rihanna bias, but no; “Formation” or “Alright” deserve it for the messages while “Hotline Bling” deserves it for the meme marathon.
Who Will Win: I see Queen Bey taking it home, with the only person stepping up to pull an upset being Drake, The Meme Factory. What I don’t see: either of them showing up to accept it, but we’ll just have to see.
What do you think of these predictions? Hit me up on Twitter @FearlessRiOT with your predictions and tune into the BET Awards this Sunday night on BET!