The 60th annual Grammys are in the books. While the Grammys haven’t always been kind to hip-hop, the last two years have turned the tide — nomination-wise anyway. Artists like Jay-Z, Kendrick Lamar and SZA dropped projects that were out of this world, but they all got eclipsed by Mars in the general music categories.
That said, there were still hip-hop highlights. Logic spoke up for all the people suffering under the Trump administration. Jay-Z won the industry icon award. Cardi B lit up the screen every time we saw her. Oh, and there was a clean sweep among the major hip-hop categories which made us say one word: DAMN.
Here’s how the awards shook out:
Is it possible to steal the show as the opening performer? Kendrick Lamar definitely tried to find out with an electric performance of “XXX” alongside a squadron of soldiers, U2’s Bono and Edge and comedian Dave Chappelle. His TDE peer SZA failed to take home a Grammy, but Top Dawg’s franchise player brought back five for the family.
“Humble” took home awards for Best Rap Song, Best Rap Performance, and Best Music Video, while his DAMN. Album won for Best Rap Album. He also won Best Rap/Sung Performance for “Loyalty.” with Rihanna. Kendrick didn’t get the nods for Record Of The Year or Album Of The Year, but he still had a great showing.
Jay-Z’s 4:44 received the most Grammy nominations with 8, but Jigga wasn’t able to take any of them home. 4:44 was one of the most well-regarded albums of 2017, but he lost out to tracks and albums that the committee apparently felt were better. The development is microcosmic of his career trajectory. He may not have been the choice for best act every time, but being in the conversation for so long is an incredible feat regardless. That’s exactly why he won the Industry Icon award.
Cardi had a come up for the ages in 2017 but wasn’t quite able to cap it off with Grammy wins. The breakout Bronx rhymer — who let us know she had butterflies everywhere — was nominated for Best Rap Song and Best Rap Performance, but “Bodak Yellow” lost out to Kendrick Lamar’s “Humble” for both. If she was disappointed in the results, she didn’t show it in her energetic performance of “Finesse” with Bruno Mars. Between her gorgeous white gown and the colorful outfit she wore for the performance, she had two of the best looks of the night — which is an achievement in itself.
She also echoed the thoughts of many during a comedy skit in which she said “I can’t believe he lives his life like that,” after reading about President Trump ending his nights in bed with a cheeseburger. Same.
Logic’s “1-800-273-8255” was nominated for two Grammys, but didn’t win. Even though he didn’t take home a trophy, his poignant performance of the track — alongside Khalid and Best New Artist winner Alessia Cara — was rewarding in its own right. The trio performed with survivors of attempted suicides and loved ones of people who have died from suicides. Calls to the suicide hotline number increased by 50% after his VMA performance. If that number is raised even .1% after last night’s performance, it will have proved to be an achievement that trumps any trophy.
Equally amazing was Logic’s passionate post-song speech in which he defended all oppressed people against our ever-classy President and let them know “you are not sh*tholes.”
The TDE artist had a big year with her CTRL album and looked poised to cement that breakout with some Grammy wins. She was, after all, the most nominated female artist. Unfortunately, SZA was left out of the award picture, becoming the ultimate Grammy snub. While she didn’t win anything, her sultry performance of “Broken Clocks” showcased her ability and why she’ll likely be up for many more Grammys in the next decade.
Childish Gambino’s Awaken, My Love was a funky, soulful masterpiece with more falsetto than flows, but he’s still hip-hop. “Redbone” won for Best Traditional R&B performance, and his soulful performance of “Terrified” — with young Simba from the upcoming Lion King movie — once again showed that he has more talent in his left pinkie than most people do period.
Dave Chappelle isn’t a rhymer, but he’s as hip-hop as it gets. Plus, he’s been giving out bars all 2017. His new special The Age Of Spin won Best Comedy Album, and he showed us why at various junctures of the night. He started off the show with a poignant preface, reminding the audience that, “the only thing more frightening than watching a black man be honest in America, is being an honest black man in America.”
He set the stage for Kendrick to “rumble” through the stage with an exhilarating performance of “XXX.” Chappelle also shouted out A Tribe Called Quest before giving out the Best Rap Album award. Q-Tip was incensed that the crew didn’t get a nomination for their final album, but hopefully, the nod from Chappelle was some form of solace.