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Music

Grammys: Kendrick Lamar closes in on Michael Jackson's nomination record

Michael Jackson holds the record for Grammy nominations in one night, but socially conscious rapper Kendrick Lamar is close on his heels with 11, trailed by pop queen Taylor Swift and R&B superstar The Weeknd.

Kendrick Lamar's track "Alright" has become a kind of unofficial anthem for the Black Lives Matter movement targeting police brutality against African-Americans in the US. He's even received praise from the president for his work. Barack Obama said that "How Much a Dollar Cost," which was inspired by a panhandler in South Africa, was his favorite song last year.

Obama clearly wasn't alone in his sentiments: Now Lamar has been nominated for a Grammy in 11 categories.

Michael Jackson in 1984, Copyright: picture alliance/dpa

The King of Pop maintains his 12-nomination record

The show, which awards the most successful names in the music industry, will be broadcast live Monday night (15.02.2016) from Los Angeles.

Lamar's rap opus "To Pimp a Butterfly" also tackles the state of race relations in the US and, with tensions high after a series of police brutality incidents involving African-American youths over the past year, his popularity reflects the current mood.

Can't feel my face when I'm in your blank space

Michael Jackson was nominated for 12 Grammys in 1984 with "Thriller," and Lamar now takes second place. He will get tough competition from pop superstar Taylor Swift, however, who will also be performing at the ceremony.

Swift is up for seven awards after her latest album, "1989," which was a sweeping bestseller last year. Her single, "Blank Space" currently has 1.5 billion views on YouTube and is vying for Song of the Year.

Also in the running with seven nominations is Canadian R&B singer and relative newcomer The Weeknd, who rocketed to fame last year with his single "Can't Feel My Face."

D'Angelo and the Vanguard ("Really Love"), Mark Ronson feat. Bruno Mars ("Uptown Funk"), and Ed Sheeran ("Thinking Out Loud") round out the nominees for Best Album, along with Swift and The Weeknd.

Lady Gaga to remember David Bowie

In addition to the awards and awaited performances by stars like Lamar, Swift, Adele, Justin Bieber, James Bay and Rihanna, a number of tributes are planned to musicians who have passed away in the past year - most prominently,

David Bowie

, who died of cancer at age 69 on January 10, 2016.

The festivities got underway already on Sunday with a pre-Grammys gala that included an homage to Bowie performed by Beck, along with the surviving members of Nirvana.

"This is for two geniuses who are no longer with us," Beck said ahead of "The Man Who Saved the World." The Bowie song had famously been covered by Nirvana just before lead singer Kurt Cobain took his own life in 1994.

On Monday, Lady Gaga, who was initially invited to perform at the Grammys prior to Bowie's death, opted to present what she promised would be a "multisensory" tribute to the musician known - like Lady Gaga - for extravagant costumes and sexual frankness.

"She (said) to me, 'I would really love to do a David Bowie segment and (I said) to her, 'Of course. It couldn't be more appropriate,'" veteran Grammys executive producer Ken Ehrlich told AP news agency.

Members of the Eagles and Jackson Browne are also slated to perform in honor of Eagles co-founder

Glenn Frey

, who died on January 18, 2016.

The Grammys are set to air live on CBS at 8:00 pm ET.

kbm/cat (AP, AFP)

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