December 6, 2016 / 2:02 PM / 9 months ago

Beyonce leads Grammy nominations as pop, R&B dominates top fields

Singer Beyonce arrives at the 2016 MTV Video Music Awards in New York, U.S., August 28, 2016.Eduardo Munoz

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Beyonce got a leading nine Grammy nominations on Tuesday, followed by Drake, Rihanna and Kanye West with eight nods each, as pop, R&B and hip hop took center stage in the contest for the music industry's highest honors.

Beyonce's haul included album, song and record of the year, the top three Grammy accolades, for her hit song "Formation" and visual album "Lemonade," a collection of songs about race, feminism and empowerment.

The R&B singer, 35, will compete head-on with Britain's Adele, the only other artist to be nominated for all three top awards and who returns to the Grammys after sweeping up six statuettes in 2012 for her album "21."

Justin Bieber's "Purpose," Canadian hip hop star Drake's "Views" and country musician Sturgill Simpson's "A Sailor's Guide To Earth" rounded out the contenders for album of the year.

Among the major snubs were West's "The Life of Pablo" album, which was shut out of the album, record and song of the year categories this year, as well as David Bowie's final album "Blackstar," which was released two days before his death in January.

"Blackstar" however was nominated for four Grammys, including best alternative album.

The Grammy Awards, to be held in Los Angeles on Feb. 12, are chosen by members of the music industry and in the past have often been dominated by rock and country music.

But in recent years, more R&B and hip hop artists have been recognized in line with the commercial success of the music form. Drake and Beyonce, along with Adele, had three of the biggest selling albums worldwide of 2016.

Music industry publication Billboard said on Tuesday that Grammy voters had "recognized with their nominees this year what the rest of the music-listening world has long accepted: that both its commercial and critical center lies with pop, hip hop and R&B."

Drake and Rihanna shared three of their eight individual nominations, two for their steamy duet on Rihanna's sultry "Work" and one for Rihanna as a featured artist on Drake's "Views."

Chance The Rapper landed seven nominations including the best new artist category, in which the 23-year-old Chicago native is up against pop duo The Chainsmokers, California rapper Anderson Paak and country music singers Kelsea Ballerini and Maren Morris.

Reporting by Piya Sinha-Roy; Editing by Lisa Shumaker

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