Compton rapper Kendrick Lamar continues to earn the Recording Academy love with his win for best rap album. With his “Damn” besting work by Jay-Z (“4:44”), Atlanta trio Migos’ “Culture,” “Laila's Wisdom” by North Carolina rapper Rapsody, and Tyler, the Creator’s “Flower Boy,” Lamar has banked his fifth trophy of the day.
He’d already won for rap/sung collaboration (with Rihanna), rap performance (“Humble”), rap song (“Humble”) and music video (ditto).
Before announcing the winner, presenter Dave Chappelle took a moment to go off script and shout out A Tribe Called Quest. Members of the group, whose co-founder Phife Dawg passed away in 2016, performed at the 59th awards ceremony, but was snubbed in the rap album category for its “We Got It From Here… Thank You 4 Your Service.”
Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee’s performance of “Despacito” at the Grammys stayed clear of any urgent reference to Puerto Rico’s ongoing post-hurricane crisis.
Maybe that was for the sake of the show.
But it was still a little striking that the singers behind the biggest single of the year (and maybe the greatest pan-Latin smash of all time) played it close to the vest at the most prominent showcase for their single in the music business.
On the surface, it must have seemed logical to the Grammy show producers to serve up a combined posthumous salute to early rockers Chuck Berry and Fats Domino.
But the minimalist segment with guitarist-singer Gary Clark Jr. and New Orleans pianist and “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert” bandleader Jon Batiste missed a golden opportunity by a country mile.
Their medley of Domino’s “Ain’t That a Shame” and Berry’s “Maybellene” settled for simple nostalgia. This should have — and could have — been an unforgettable and relevant collaboration akin to the Eminem-Elton John Grammy performance of “Stan” in 2001.
Alessia Cara took home the Grammy for best new artist, beating out a strong slate of newcomers to claim the oft-embattled title.
Cara’s zesty pop single “Stay” as well as her memorable appearance on Logic’s single “1-800-273-8255” helped cement her breakout year, which locked down Grammy’s most welcome (if mixed) prize for newcomers.
She beat out a robust field of competitors, including streaming giant Lil Uzi Vert, her Logic collaborator and R&B breakout Khalid, songwriting sensation Julia Michaels and fast-rising chanteuse SZA.
Alabama quartet Little Big Town imbued the 60th Grammy Awards with some harmony, taking the stage to perform their ode to less than ideal guys, “Better Man.” (No, not the Pearl Jam song.)
The quartet — Karen Fairchild, Kimberly Schlapman, Phillip Sweet and Jimi Westbrook — is up for a country album Grammy for its 2017 release “The Breaker,” and has already won the country duo or group performance award for “Better Man.”
The group offered a defiant take on their Taylor Swift-penned song, which worked on a number of levels. Not only was it nominated, but since Swift is the music business’s most bankable star, but isn’t in the Grammy cycle this year, her presence was required in some capacity.
Ripping through a medley centering on his song “XXX” with help from U2’s Bono and the Edge, not to mention Dave Chappelle, Kendrick Lamar opened the Grammys on Sunday with the type of live-wire intensity he’s well known for — but which rarely makes it onto network television.
The performance put Lamar — Sunday’s second-most-nominated artist behind Jay-Z — onstage amid a digitized American flag and a crew of dancers wearing combat fatigues and balaclavas. A screen read, “This is a satire.”
Carrie Fisher, the late author and actress who portrayed Leia Organa, then Solo in the “Star Wars” saga, won a posthumous Grammy Sunday for her narration of “The Princess Diarist,” earning the award for spoken word album.
Fisher, who died Dec. 27, 2016, four days after suffering a heart attack on a flight from London to Los Angeles, was previously nominated in the same category in 2009 for her book “Wishful Drinking.”