If you combine actual GRAMMY trophies and social media buzz, hip-hop superstar Kendrick Lamar and country-turned-pop singer/songwriter Taylor Swift were the big winners of the 58th Annual GRAMMY Awards.
Lamar went into the night leading all nominees with 11 nominations, and took home five: Best Rap Performance and Best Rap Song (both for “Alright”), Best Rap/Sung Collaboration (“These Walls”), Best Rap Album (To Pimp a Butterfly), and Best Music Video (for his appearance on Swift’s “Bad Blood”). And as far as the performances go, Lamar’s was easily the most memorable of the night. His medley of Butterfly‘s “The Blacker the Berry” and “Alright” was one of the most politically charged that the GRAMMYs have ever seen, and the performance itself was probably the most furious moment in the show’s history.
The Grammys didn’t hand out an award for Best Rap Album until 1996, years after the genre’s creation and the rise of acts like Public Enemy and N.W.A. Modern acts like Jay-Z, Kanye West and Eminem are among the most nominated performers in Grammy history, but have never won top awards.
“This is for hip-hop,” Lamar said upon receiving the award for Best Rap Album. He then named two successful rappers, Snoop Dogg and Nas, who’ve never won Grammys.Leading a chain gang out onto a stage set that looked like a jail, it seemed like a response to all of the critics who interpreted Beyonce’s pro-black Super Bowl Halftime show performance as being racist. He rapped a PG version of the song’s lyrics: “My hair is nappy, you know it’s big, my nose is round and wide/You hate me don’t you?/You hate my people, your plan is to terminate my culture/You’re evil I want you to recognize that I’m a proud monkey/You vandalize my perception but can’t take style from me.” He was soon joined by dancers donning what looked like traditional African garb.
He segued into “Alright,” notably changing the lyrics “but we hate po po” (which would have surely been interpreted as “anti-cop”) to “I’m at the preacher’s door, when they kill us dead at the preacher’s door.”
After the song, he launched into a freestyle referencing February 26, the date of Trayvon Martin’s death, and later said that 2012 (the year Martin died) “set us back 400 years.” The combination of the changed lyrics and new freestyle shouldn’t go unnoticed. He took out the lyric saying that “we hate” the police, instead adding a critique of a single action. This wasn’t “f— the police,” it was a critique of a very specific incident.
Read more: www.radio.com