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Soundcheck: GRAMMY Showdown — Nicki vs. Kanye vs. Jay-Z

The 2012 GRAMMY nominations are in and it looks like another big year for hip hop, with the genre’s brightest stars earning the majority of nominations for the music industry’s biggest honor.

Leading the pack with seven nominations is Kanye West. His hit All Of The Lights earned nods for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration and Song of The Year while his joint album with Jay-Z, Watch The Throne, is up against his own My Beautiful, Dark, Twisted Fantasy for Best Rap Album.  The duo is also nominated for Best Rap Performance for their song, Otis.

Bruno Mars and Adele are tied with Foo Fighters with six nominations each.  While it may seem a little dated by now, Mars’ debut missed last year’s cut-off.  His debut album, Doo-Wops & Hooligans is up for Album of The Year while his hit, Grenade is vying for Song Of The Year, Record of The Year, and Best Pop Solo Performance.  Lil Wayne isn’t far behind with five nominations including Best Rap Performance for  Look At Me Now with Busta Rhymes and Chris Brown. Like West, Weezy will battle himself in the Best Rap/Sung Collaboration category where he’s nominated for I’m On One with Rick Ross, Drake, and DJ Khaled and Motivation his duet with Kelly Rowland.

Rihanna is riding high after Wednesday’s announcement since she’s up for the statue in multiple categories.  Her album, Loud is up for Album of The Year while her duet with Drake, What’s My Name? is up against her other hit feature, All Of The Lights in Best Rap/Sung Collaboration category.  She’ll go up against last year’s front-runner, Eminem in the only category he was nominated in, for I Need a Doctor with Skylar Grey and Dr. Dre.

Hoping to avoid a backstage run-in will be Chris Brown, who is nominated for Best R&B Album, for F.A.M.E., and Best Rap Performance for Look At Me Now.

Best New Artist nominee, Nicki Minaj is also up for Best Rap Performance for Moment 4 Life featuring Drake, and Best Rap Album for Pink Friday. She will be battling fellow rapper, J.Cole, Skrillex, The Band Perry and Bon Iver for Best New Artist.

It’s about time Lupe Fiasco’s Lasers gets the shine it deserves, with the Chicago emcee being nominated for Best Rap Album and Best Rap Performance for The Show Goes On, where he’ll be up against Wiz Khalifa‘s Black and Yellow among others.

R. Kelly scored a nom for Best R&B Album for Love Letters and Best Traditional R&B Performance for his song, Radio Message. In the latter category, he’s up against Eric Benet, Raphael Saadiq, Betty Wright and the Roots and Cee Lo Green and Melanie Fiona.

Beyoncé may be feeling snubbed since her album, 4 was left off the more important lists of the night.  The sixteen-time GRAMMY winner is only up for Best Long Form Video for Girls (We Run The World) and Best Rap/Sung Collaboration for Party featuring Andre 3000. Also left off the list was newbie, Miguel, whose debut album, All I Want Is You has produced nothing but hits.  Another gaping hole in the Pop categories is left by Britney Spears, whose Number 1 album, Femme Fatale was completely ignored. Guess she’ll be rooting for touring partner, Nicki Minaj from the sidelines this year.