JG shares Grammy spotlight

Cayman musician contributed to Eminem’s Recovery album, which has 10 nominations

The beleaguered record industry and Cayman couldn’t have been happier about the return to the spotlight in 2010 of rapper Eminem, the biggest-selling artist of the new millennium, and heaped upon him a field-leading 10 Grammy Award nominations for his Recovery album, including nods in all three top categories of album, record and song of the year.

The great showing by the infant terrible of the rap world is in small part due to the efforts of Caymanian producer and singer/songwriter Jason Gilbert aka JG. The gifted young musician, who originally hails from Grand Cayman and who fronts the Caymanian band ThE iZ, not only shares Album of the Year Grammy nomination for having written and produced the track WTP, (white trash party), he also shares the nomination for Best Rap Album for Recovery.

Although it was widely expected that Eminem would do well in this year’s Grammy competition, Hawaiian-born producer-singer-songwriter-multi-instrumentalist Bruno Mars caught many by surprise as runner-up to Eminem with seven nominations, announced last week.

Mars is competing with himself in the record of the year category for his production and vocals on rapper B.o.B’s Nothin’ on You, and as one of the producers of R&B-soul singer Cee-Lo Green’s broadcast-confounding hit single … You.

Given that each record of the year nominee is traditionally performed live on the awards telecast, which will be held 13 February at Staples Center in Los Angeles, Grammy ceremony producers will have a challenge in how to present a song on national television in which the profanity is not simply a casual toss-off that’s easily excised, but central to the song’s message from a guy to the girl who has dumped him. Expectations are that Green will perform the PG-rated Forget You version that allowed many radio stations to play it during the year.

Last week’s telecast skirted the issue by listing only the names of the artists who recorded the nominated songs, not the titles. When presenters Dave Grohl and Selena Gomez announced the titles, Gomez referred to it as “the song otherwise known as Forget You.”

Record of the Year

The other three nominees for record of the year, which honours performance, production and engineering, are Love the Way You Lie from Eminem and Rihanna; Jay-Z and Alicia Keys’ love letter to the Big Apple, Empire State of Mind; and country trio Lady Antebellum’s romantically desperate closing-time phone call, Need You Now, which also earned the country trio an album of the year nomination.

Eminem and Lady A are vying in the album category with Lady Gaga’s The Fame Monster, Katy Perry’s frothy Teenage Dream and the latest critically acclaimed effort from Canadian indie rock group Arcade Fire, The Suburbs. Eminem also got nominations for pop vocal collaboration, short-form music video and every rap category in which he was eligible: rap solo performance, rap-sung collaboration, rap album and twice for rap song. Green’s profanity-laced send-off also is up for song of the year, which is strictly a songwriter’s award, along with the Lady Antebellum hit written by Dave Haywood, Josy Kear, Charles Kelley and Hillary Scott; Alexander Grant, Holly Hafferman and Marshall Mathers’ Love The Way You Lie; Ray LaMontagne’s Beg Steal or Borrow; and Tom Douglas and Allen Shamblin’s The House That Built Me, a hit for Texas firebrand Miranda Lambert, who landed three nominations of her own in country categories.

Teen idol Justin Bieber shares space in the new artist category with Canadian rapper Drake, Portland, Oregon-born jazz-pop musican Esperanza Spalding and a pair of English groups, Florence & the Machine and rock quartet Mumford & Sons.

Arcade Fire’s album has received the highest marks from critics among the category’s nominees, with an average score of 86, compared to a 77 for Lady Gaga’s The Fame Monster, 63 for Need You Now and a 62 for Recovery.

Caymanian Compass staff writer Elphina Magona contributed to this report.

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