After nabbing four Grammy nominations, sassy female trio TLC leads the Soul Train Music Awards with four nods.
Nominations were announced Thursday for the two-hour awards show, hosted by Anita Baker, L.L. Cool J and Brandy. It'll be telecast live from the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles March 29.
This is the first year that Soul Train, which features the best in R&B, rap, gospel and jazz in 12 categories, has closely mirrored the Grammys.
Michael Jackson and critical darling D'Angelo, who've both nabbed three Grammy nods, also received three Soul Train nominations each. Rapper Coolio, who's up for two Grammys, is also up for two Soul Train awards: best rap album and best R&B/soul or rap music video, where he competes with Michael and Janet Jackson's Scream.
All the nominees for best rap album - 2Pac, Bone Thugs N Harmony, Coolio and Method Man, are all up for Grammys. And three Soul Train gospel nominees - Yolanda Adams, Shirley Caesar and John P. Kee - all have Grammy gospel nods.
This shows that the Grammy panel is getting a lot more hip when it comes to recognizing black music.
However, there are some glaring exceptions. Two artists who've made recording history but were shut out at the Grammys get welcome Soul Train nods: Monica, 15, the youngest female performer to top Billboard's pop chart, gets three nods; and Kirk Franklin and Family, the first gospel act to sell a million copies of a record (its self-titled album), gets a Soul Train nod for best gospel album.
Surprisingly, Mariah Carey, a big Grammy presence with six nods, received only one Soul Train nomination, for R&B/soul album, female. Veterans Anita Baker, Babyface, Toni Braxton and Vanessa Williams, all Grammy nominees, were Soul Train shut-outs.
Whitney Houston received two nominations for the Waiting to Exhale soundtrack, which came out too late for Grammy submission. As expected, Boyz II Men appears, a nominee for R&B/soul single, group, competing against TLC, Groove Theory and Jodeci.
Unfortunately, the nominations ignore traditional jazz with nods for Fourplay and cheap Kenny G imitator saxophonist Boney James, along with pianist Keiko Matsui and the Pat Metheny Group.