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Brit Award nominations 2020: Dave leads the way as D Block Europe compete with Coldplay – 5 major talking points

Brit Award nominations 2020 – This year’s list of nominees features a heavy dose of grime and UK rap, with Dave, Stormzy and D Block Europe among those nominated.

The 2020 Brit awards will be held at the 02 Arena on Tuesday 18 February 2020 and will be hosted by Jack Whitehall. The awards for best video and best international group have been removed this year, while the producer of the year gong will be revealed closer to the ceremony.

Each year, the list of artists put forward serves up a few topics of discussion, so Plugsville has rounded up the five main talking points from the Brit Award nominations 2020:


Dave leads the way

Dave - Location (ft. Burna Boy)

A chart-topping single, chart-topping project, a Mercury Prize award for best album and 44 weeks in the charts and counting. Dave’s Psychodrama release went as many expected it would and catapulted him into the highest echelons of British music.

The ‘Streatham’ rapper is tied with Lewis Capaldi for the most nominations (four) across best album, best song, best new artist and best male artist. As well as commercial accolades, there is a feeling among fans that Psychodrama was one of, if not the very best album of 2019. Some would even call it a classic-in-waiting, as we did in our review of the project, which you can read here


Three-way battle for best album?


Lewis Capaldi’s debut album was the fastest-selling debut album of 2019, with over 90,000 units shifted in the first week. It is currently two-time platinum-certified. Those numbers are hard to argue with, but this isn’t the weekly charts, this is an award show ranking the best music.

Even though Dave’s Psychodrama and Stormzy’s Heavy is the Head album might not have had the same commercial impact as Divinely Uninspired to a Hellish Extent, culturally, both projects were huge and represented historic moments within grime and UK rap.

Dave’s accolades have been documented above, while 2018 album of the year winner Stormzy ticked off headlining Glastonbury and securing a second #1 album and single off of his bucket list. The recency factor of Stormzy’s album could sway things his favour, while the lyrical prowess Dave displayed on his debut might edge it. Either way, it will be a close battle for the biggest prize of the night.


D Block Europe get their flowers

D Block Europe (Young Adz x Dirtbike LB) - Kitchen Kings (Prod. Vybz Hitz) [Music Video] | GRM Daily

Coldplay, Foals, Bring Me the Horizon, Bastille and D Block Europe. Four of those nominees are established bands all signed to major record labels. The other nominee, D Block Europe, remains unsigned and self-serving yet still find themselves battling among the country’s biggest groups for one of the biggest awards in British music.

After learning of the nomination, Young Adz tweeted: “It means suttin different when u coming from nothing”, summarising what it means for two rappers to go from ‘the streets’ to the Brit Awards. In 2019, Young Adz and Dirtbike LB released three projects. All three charted in the top 10 of the album charts – Home Alone (#6), PTSD (#4) and Street Trauma (#9). 

The duo also secured eight charting singles from their own projects, including three top 20s in Kitchen Kings (#16), Home P*ssy (#20), Nookie (#16). On top of that, they charted three times as feature artists, serving up another top 20 with their feature on DigDat’s hit ‘New Dior’. Commercially, DBE had a huge year on the charts. 

Their second project of the year, PTSD, released in September, formed the basis of a nationwide tour which would see them sell over 50,000 tickets, including two sold-out shows at Alexandra Palace. It’s safe to say that DBE’s nomination was hard to deny.


Lack of female nominees in mixed-gender categories

Mabel - Don't Call Me Up

Of the 193 albums considered, only 35 were by women, according to The Guardian. Out of a possible 20 mixed-gender slots across best album, best group, best new artist best song, there are only three female nominations – two in best song (Mabel, Miley Cyrus) and one in best new artist (Mabel).

With no female artist nominated for best album, that means it will be a five-year wait, at least, to see another female artist take home what many consider to be the top prize at the Brit’s. The last winner was Adele back in 2016.

An explanation was given alongside the Brit Award 2020 nominations, suggesting that the record labels considerably influence which artists are put forward for consideration:  “The eligibility list has been compiled by the Official Charts Company and includes artists who have released product and enjoyed top 40 chart success. Record companies have had the opportunity to inform Brit Awards Ltd (BAL) of any eligible artists they wish to be added or inform BAL of any incorrect entries.”


Potential snubs in best new artist category

AJ Tracey - Ladbroke Grove

Independent artists appear to have been overlooked somewhat in the race for best new artist. Given that AJ Tracey’s self-titled debut album peaked at #3 and produced a song in ‘Ladbrooke Grove’ which has sold over one million units and still remains in the charts 44 weeks after its release, he might feel some type of way that he was ‘only’ nominated for best song, an award which he won’t be favoured to win. D Block Europe was nominated for best group, indicating they are at a level to compete with bands like Coldplay and Bastille.

Both AJ Tracey and DBE operate independently and were nominated in two big categories and are both new to the Brit Awards radar. Including them as nominees in best new artist would’ve paid further homage to their achievements. According to the Brit Award’s, AJ Tracey had one of the best songs of the year and DBE were one of the best groups, but neither is considered to be one of the best upcoming talents.


Here is the full list of Brit award 2020 nominations:


Best male solo artist

Harry Styles

Lewis Capaldi


Michael Kiwanuka



Best female solo artist


Freya Ridings

FKA Twigs

Charli XCX



Best album

Stormzy – Heavy Is The Head

Michael Kiwanuka – Kiwanuka

Lewis Capaldi – Divenly Unispired To A Hellish Extent

Dave – Psychodrama

Harry Styles – Fine Line


Best new artist


Lewis Capaldi



Sam Fender


Best song

Ed Sheeran feat. Justin Bieber – I Don’t Care

Mabel – Don’t Call Me Up

Calvin Harris ft Rag ‘N’ Bone Man – Giant

Dave feat. Burna Boy – Location

Mark Ronson feat. Miley Cyrus – Nothing Breaks Like A Heart

AJ Tracey – Ladbrooke Grove

Lewis Capaldi – Someone You Loved

Tom Walker – Just You And I

Sam Smith feat. Normani – Dancing With A Stranger

Stormzy – Vossi Bop


Best British group



Bring Me the Horizon

D Block Europe



Best international male

Bruce Springsteen

Burna Boy

Tyler, The Creator

Dermot Kennedy

Post Malone


Best international female

Ariana Grande

Billie Eilish

Camila Cabello

Lana Del Rey



Rising star award

Celeste – winner

Joy Crookes



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