Chicago’s own Chance the Rapper made history on Sunday night at the 59th Annual Grammy Awards, which took place at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California.
At the annual biggest night in music, which rapped up a few hours ago, Chance won three awards and in the process did the unprecedented by winning Best Rap Album for Coloring Book, over two people most thought would have won in Kanye West and Drake. By beating out his mentor and fellow Chicago native West, as well as some other stiff competition in Drake, De La Soul, ScHoolboy Q and DJ Khaled; Chance became the first artist to win a Grammy for a streaming-only album. Even remarking, “I didn’t think we were going to get this one” during his acceptance speech.
The Chicago native had already did something significant by just being nominated and showing not only Hip-Hop’s true influence in music right now, but Chicago’s influence and especially Chicago Hip-Hop’s big influence in music right now as well. By becoming the first and only artist to have submitted a streaming-only album for Grammy consideration, it makes sense that Chance became the first artist to do so with his groundbreaking win. Now also truly opening up the doors for independent artists everywhere to not only be nominated, but actually have a chance at winning too.
Showing just how far artists, who give away their music for free can go, Chance also took home awards that he will bring back here to our hometown of Chicago for Best Rap Performance for his Lil Wayne and 2 Chainz-assisted banger, No Problem and Best New Artist. Accolades which are all well deserved and bring a new meaning and significance to the number three, which was a huge marketing tool for the whole rollout of the mixtape.
Chance wasn’t the only significant figure in Hip-Hop and R&B to have a huge night at the Grammys too. As some of the most powerful and best performances of the night were actually giving by some of the biggest names in Hip-Hop and R&B in A Tribe Called Quest, Bruno Mars, Beyoncé, Alicia Keys and Chance himself.
Legendary group A Tribe Called Quest gave by far the best performance of the night with it’s very moving and politically-charged iconic performance. Joined by Anderson .Paak, Busta Rhymes and Consequence, Q-Tip dressed in all black kicked off the set with an impassioned speech about power and representation. Having this to say, “To all of those people around the world. All of those people who are pushing people in power to represent them, tonight, we represent you. And we also dedicate this to our brother who’s not here, Phife Dawg.” Beginning with a rendition of their hit classic Award Tour and the intro from Can I Kick It, before being joined by Anderson behind a drum set blending his hit single Come Down from his Grammy-nominated album, Malibu with Movin Backwards, which he appeared on from Tribe’s 2016 album, We got it from Here… Thank you for your Service. That’s when Busta and Consequence emerged with Buss wanting to get something off his chest. Telling Cons, “I’m not feeling the political climate right now. I just want to thank President Orange for perpetuating all of the evil that you’ve been perpetuating all through the United States. I want to thank you President Agent Orange for an unsuccessful attempt at a Muslim ban… We come together, we the people!” The group then going into their very politically-charged latest single, We the People… and sending a powerful message with their very powerful performance of the record, before closing out with Q-Tip shouting out, “RESIST! RESIST!”
During one of the first performances of the night Bruno Mars donning a leather tracksuit and joined by his Hooligans and live band, gave a very stellar and ridiculously smooth amazing performance of his R&B standout cut and latest single, That’s What I Like, from his 24K Magic album. After showing off his amazing vocals, he then showed off his old-school playa swag while strutting towards the crowd and asking, “Can I break down? Let’s talk to the ladies for a second. I see you ladies in your brand new dresses. Some of y’all still got the tag on it, but it’s cool. You want options I get it. What’s up girls? Can we break it down for you on live TV?” To which Jennifer Lopez even nodded in agreement at one point, in one of the more funny and memorable moments of the night. It was not only that performance, but his part in the highly-anticipated tribute to Prince that showed why Bruno is already one of the most iconic performers in music history and a true entertainer in every sense of the word. As after Morris Day and The Time performed Jungle Love and The Bird to recreate parts from the classic Purple Rain movie, the lights went out before Mars came out decked in the same iconic purple outfit Prince donned in the movie. Also donning the same eyeliner, the current pop superstar let completely loose with his own very stellar rendition of Prince’s iconic, Let’s Go Crazy and shedding a white guitar, as he emulated The Purple One’s moves and danced across the stage, while adding a dash of his own flavor. Rocking out to the pop/funk/rock fusion and helping give a very fitting honor for one of the most individually talented icons of his generation.
While Beyoncé was the most nominated artist of the night, but walked away with only two awards, it was during her first performance and public appearance since announcing she was pregnant with twins that she shined most bright. In a very meaningful and show-stopping set that celebrated motherhood, she was introduced by her mother Tina Lawson, as Queen Bey appeared on stage wearing a golden crown-like headdress and with an expected mother’s glow looked like a true queen like goddess. Performing standouts Love Drought and Sandcastles from her Grammy-winning album, LEMONADE, which celebrate rebirth and healing like you have in motherhood, Bey gave a very stellar performance, which also included a visual display with cameos from her mother, her daughter Blue Ivy and images of herself that celebrated three generations of her family.
15-time Grammy winner and icon Alicia Keys also joined Grammy newcomer Maren Morris to blend genres for one of the more memorable performances of the night. As they stunned with a glittery and powerful performance that seen both artists in shimmering and sparkly revealing outfits performing Once, the standout Morris’ debut album Hero, which was released last year. This new rendition seeing the duo performing the very amazing record backed by a soulful band and below elegant chandeliers, which really let both Alicia and Maren’s vocals really shine and Alicia’s body-hugging, low-cut jumpsuit shine too.
Finally in one of the other best performances of the night, which also happened to be one of the last performances of the night. Chance gave a very joyfully inspiring Gospel-inspired set that seen him alongside Kirk Franklin, Tamela Mann and backed by a Gospel choir perform a medley of his Coloring Book hits How Great, Blessings, No Problem and All We Got. Appropriately brining church to the Grammys on a Sunday, Chano was even joined by several other guests throughout his set, which included most notably frequent collaborater Nico “Trumpet” Segal. Chance ended his performance with an appropriately right statement for Music’s Biggest Night, saying, “Music is all we got.”