Among numerous vital pop music figures the Grammy Awards originally overlooked was the Velvet Underground, the proto-punk New York quartet of which it’s been said its debut album sold only a few thousand copies, but everyone who bought one started a band of his or her own.
Grammys certainly weren’t on the mind of singer, guitarist and songwriter Lou Reed, according to his biographer, veteran Rolling Stone writer Anthony DeCurtis, a Grammy winner for his liner notes for the 1988 Eric Clapton box set “Crossroads.”
“He certainly never mentioned the Grammys to me, and the subject would have elicited eye-rolling on his part, I'm sure,” DeCurtis told The Times earlier this week. “He had grown used to feeling mistreated by the music industry and even seemed to relish the outsider status that conferred on him.”
Compton rapper Kendrick Lamar, who’s nominated for seven Grammys for work from his album “Damn,” saw that album’s “Humble” snag the trophy for music video, besting nominees by Beck, Jay Z, Jain and Logic feat. Alessia Cara and Khalid.
The “Humble” video was directed by the Little Homies & Dave Meyers, and produced by Jason Baum, Dave Free, Jamie Rabineau, Nathan K. Scherrer & Anthony Tiffith.
The rising rapper Cardi B had perhaps the biggest breakout year of anyone in 2017, thanks to an inescapable hit “Bodak Yellow” and a saucy social media presence.
Her performance at the ceremony will be a capstone in a short career. With just three proper singles released (on top of a few mixtapes and guest appearances), she had a short hop from reality star to Grammy performer.
How will a Grammy turn vault her into the next phase of hip-hop stardom?
The 60th Grammy Awards Premiere Ceremony kicked off at Madison Square Garden in New York, and for the first time since David Letterman’s departure from “The Late Show,” Paul Shaffer reconvened the World’s Most Dangerous Band.
The hard-working outfit worked with the bandleader and Letterman for decades, and for the daytime installment of the awards ceremony, it’s providing the score for Shaffer’s hosting. He’s handing out 75 trophies over the next few hours.
To open, Shaffer celebrated his city’s role in shaping the sound of American music: “From hip-hop to disco, punk rock to salsa, the whole world tunes in to the rhythms of New York City.”
Both men have sold millions of albums. Both have headlined the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival. And both made former President Obama's list of his favorite songs from 2017 — an especially meaningful achievement, perhaps, for two African American artists eager to share their political views (not to mention their scorn for the guy who now holds Obama's old job).
So in a year when hip-hop might finally rule the Grammy Awards, it makes sense that Jay-Z and Kendrick Lamar would be the rap kings closest to victory come Sunday night.
With eight nominations, Jay-Z, the assured veteran, leads the field of contenders for music's most prestigious prize, followed closely by Lamar, the upstart phenom, who has seven.