On a night that seen Childish Gambino win four Grammys of the five he was nominated for to lead all winners at the 61st annual Grammys on Sunday night from Staples Center in Los Angeles, it was a night of firsts.
As aside from Gambino, several other notable Hip-Hop acts became first time winners on Sunday night. In what was one of the more diversifyingly nominated years where several of the nominees where first time nominees, it should be no surprise to see several first time winners on Sunday. Which included Gambino, who surprisingly didn’t attend the awards show being the first Hip-Hop act to win both the coveted Record and Song of the Year for his somewhat controversial record, This is America. Which he also won Best Music Video and Best Rap/Sung Collaboration.
Even despite those wins from Gambino, who didn’t attend and reportedly declined to perform at what’s usually known as Music’s Biggest Night, and even despite Cardi B becoming the first solo female Rap act to win Best Rap Album, when she won for her debut album, Invasion of Privacy or even the ultimate underdog story Jay Rock winning his first Grammy with his collaboration King’s Dead with his longtime TDE labelmate and partner in-rhyme, Kendrick Lamar, as well as Future and James Blake winning in a rare tie with Anderson .Paak for his promo single, Bubblin, for Best Rap Performance. The Hip-Hop and the Rap community as a whole still for the most part continues to have problems with the Grammys as a whole.
Which was evident from Gambino not being in attendance to accept any of his awards and if he didn’t win for Record and Song of the Year, would have once again had Hip-Hop/Rap shutout in the four major categories they have regularly been nominated for over the past several years, but usually don’t win and why so many of the artists have such a disdain for the Grammys both as awards and just the show in general. Even down to some of the biggest acts in the genre such as Drake, who had previously dissed the Grammys and why many were surprised to even see in attendance. Which is why it should be no surprise he was cut off during his acceptance speech of Best Rap Song for, God’s Plan, in part cause of him partially dissing the Grammys yet again during said acceptance speech.
There’s also such a disdain too because many feel the genre doesn’t always not only get the right people winning, but nominated and several of the Hip-Hop/Rap categories not being aired during the actual broadcast of the show doesn’t help much either. Also even despite this year being a rare year where they got several of the nominees right that should’ve been nominated there was still that kind of sour taste. As even with all the nominees for Best Rap Album being first time nominees and really all, but maybe one or two really being truly deserving of those nominations, there was a good majority of people who really felt that Nipsey Hu$$le should’ve won for his own debut album, Victory Lap, rather than Cardi B. Kendrick only winning one of his eight leading nominations probably didn’t help much either, but at the same time also showed how truly competitive and great each category has become too.
Which is also probably why you only seen Cardi B and Travis Scott as performers for the Grammys, who are Hip-Hop and/or Rap acts during the actual broadcast of the show. Even despite that somewhat still sour taste within the Hip-Hop/Rap community for the Grammys, R&B/Soul still remains a viable option that for the most part actual usually gets things right for the most part with not only their nominations, but actual winners.
Something that was evident with the very stellar great job that Alicia Keys not only did as a first time host, but with her very superbly stellar medley performance she did on two pianos covering several songs she said she was inspired by and wish she would have written herself. That included records from everybody from the Fugees to Juice WRLD, Nate King Cole, Ella Mai, Drake and Lauryn Hill, among several notable names before concluding with her own hit, Empire State of Mind, she actually wrote, and that performance being one of the highlights of the night that seen several great and memorable performances from the likes of Janelle Monáe, first time Grammy nominees, Chloe x Halle, and first time Grammy nominee and winner, H.E.R. Not to mention a very great performance from the implacable and iconic living legend, Diana Ross for her own milestone 75th birthday. Which she celebrated a month early of her actual birthday with the crowd and several of her family members in attendance singing along to some of her biggest hits.
Overall as a whole it was one of the more well put together and great Grammys in quite some years though. Which I would give an overall grade of a B+ or A-. With the Recording Academy still having a few slight things they still need to work on for The Grammys to be remembered again as a truly A+ and near perfect awards show again. But Sunday’s 61st Grammys on CBS was a pretty good start that hopefully eventually leads to that.