2019 Grammy Awards: Female nominees, hip-hop artists front and center

Grammys preview: Music’s big night Sunday

(CNN) – This year is seeing many more female artists nominated for Grammy Awards than 2018.

Hip-hop is also strengthening its grip on the honor.

Although one of the nominated songs is called “Rockstar,” you won’t see many rockers on stage Sunday night.

From Cardi B and her monster jams, to Brandi Carlile and her evocative vocals, women are front and center in the big Grammy categories.

"There's a momentum behind them based on what happened last year: the lack of female representation in the winners, the lack of female representation in the industry," said Jem Aswad, senior music editor of Variety.

While the main categories were expanded this year from five nominees to eight, the most nominated artists are still men.

Kendrick Lamar is up for eight Grammys, followed closely by Drake with seven nominations.

Cardi B, Carlile, Lamar and Drake are up against each other for “Album of the Year,” along with H.E.R., Janelle Monáe, Kacey Musgraves and Post Malone.

"Hip-hop, R & B and pop are so big that it seems likely that those categories are going to carry every major award," Aswad said.

Post Malone’s “Rockstar” is also up for two Grammys, including “Record of the Year.”

And while Post Malone is expected to perform, he’ll likely have to do it without 21 Savage, who’s featured on the hit song.

British-born Savage was taken into custody by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement a week before the Grammys; officials say he’s in the country illegally.

Other contenders for “Record of the Year” are: Zedd, Maren Morris and Grey for “The Middle,” Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper’s “Shallow” from “A Star is Born,” and Childish Gambino’s “This is America.”

"I feel like if there's one song that captured the zeitgeist for 2018 in both the best and the worst ways, it's 'This Is America.' You've got that incredible video with so much meaning," Aswad said.

Hosting this year is a woman with 15 Grammys of her own: Alicia Keys.

“She’s exactly the right person,” Aswad said. “On the one hand, you’ve very much got the establishment. But on the other, she’s got hip-hop in her blood.”

The 61st Grammy Awards telecast airs Sunday night on CBS.

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