Chicago was definitely in the building at last night’s 50th Annual Grammy Awards ceremony at the Staples Center in Los Angles with hometown heroes Kanye West, Common and Lupe Fiasco all taking home awards. Kanye added another four Grammy statues to his collection last night, but was bested for the coveted Album of the Year award by legendary jazzman Herbie Hancock. Prior to the telecast Yeezy picked up awards for Best Rap Solo Performance, for his hit single “Stronger,” and Best Rap Song for his T-Pain collaboration “Good Life.” Common and ‘Ye would go on to beat out fan favorites UGK in the Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group category for “Southside,” their ode to Chi-town that appeared on Com’s Finding Forever LP.
After an emotional performance of “Stronger” and “Dear Mama,” Kanye won Best Rap Album for his 2007 album Graduation. Lupe Fiasco picked up his first Grammy in the Urban/Alternative Performance category for the Jill Scott collaboration “Daydreamin’” off his 2006 album Food & Liquor. Other notable winners included Jay-Z who shared an award with Def Jam vocalist Rihanna for her smash single “Umbrella,” and the Beastie Boys, whose instrumental LP The Mix Up won for Best Pop Instrumental Album. Queen Latifah also picked up a Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocalist award for the song “I’m Gonna Live Till I Die,” from her album Travlin’ Light. Illinois senator and Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama bested picked up a Spoken Word Grammy for the audio version of his book The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream, besting fellow nominees and former U.S. Presidents Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter.
In related news, two time nominee Nas stirred controversy on the red carpet prior to the show when he arrived sporting a t-shirt bearing the word ‘Nigger,’ the title of his upcoming album. The Queensbridge MC, who received nods for his Hip-Hop Is Dead album and the KRS-One and Kanye West collaboration “Better Than I’ve Ever Been,” explained the reasoning behind the title to CNN correspondent Brooke Anderson. “We’ve all felt discriminated against whether it’s in the Dominican Republic, whether its in China, whether it’s in Iraq, with soldiers getting their heads blown off for reasons we don’t know why,” he explained to Anderson. “The meaning of the word is supposed to be “ignorant,” he continued, “but there’s money being made off us so called ‘ignorant’ people, so no longer are just Black people niggers today, it’s also me and you.”