The road to the 53rd Grammy awards was paved with hip-hop gold, thanks to key wins by Eminem and Jay-Z. Yet Em, who led all nominees with 10 nods, only took home two awards for Best Rap Album for Recovery and Best Rap Solo Performance for “Not Afraid.”
Before picking up his trophies, the March 2011 XXL cover boy entertained the crowd to the tune of “Love the Way You Lie” alongside Rihanna. Clad in a black leather jacket and black pants, the rapper, who Seth Rogen introduced as “the most dangerously talented man in hip hop,” also teamed up with Skylar Grey and Dr. Dre on stage for “I Need a Doctor.”
Five-time nominee B.o.B. also gave a stunning performance, teaming up with Bruno Mars and Janelle Monae for a slew of hits. Rocking black tuxes, the fellas performed a strings-laden version of “Nothin’ on You” with Monae supplying backing vocals. She rounded up the set with a solo rendition of the doleful “Cold War” off her Grammy-nominated album The ArchAndroid.
Cee Lo Green collaborated with Gwyneth Paltrow and some colorful muppets on the less-offensive version of his ubiquitous single, “Fuck You.” The Goodie Mob frontman could have easily passed for Big Bird in his flamboyant costume. “Fuck You” also won for Best Urban/Alternative Performance.
There were some prominent snubs at the 53rd Grammys. Canadian superstar Drake found himself in a thankless position, going 0-4 on the evening. Drizzy lost the Best New Artist to jazz sensation Esperanza Spalding. Despite being nominated in five categories, B.o.B. also went home empty-handed.
While Jay-Z’s “Empire State of Mind” lost in the Song of the Year and Record of the Year categories, it didn’t go home unrewarded. The Big Apple tribute won Best Rap/Sung Collaboration and Best Rap Song. Another Blueprint III single “On to the Next One” snatched the award for Best Rap Performance By A Duo Or Group, yet Jay-Z wasn’t there to receive any of his three trophies.—Henry Adaso