Iggy Azalea left early, and she left empty handed. Last night (Feb. 8), the Australian rapper vacated the floor at the Staples Center in Los Angeles before the last act of the show even began. By that point, it was clear that she would be shut out at the 57th annual Grammy Awards, and all the hand wringing over her alleged appropriation would be for nothing, at least for the night. The Grammy for Best Rap Album went to another white rapper, albeit one who was in familiar territory. Eminem’s win for The Marshall Mathers LP 2, was his 15th trophy, and makes him 6-for-7 in the Best Rap Album category.

But the night, as so many do, belonged to Kanye West. Though nominated in “only” two categories—“Bound 2” would lose to Kendrick Lamar’s “I” for Best Rap Song and to Eminem and Rihanna’s “The Monster” for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration—West’s presence loomed large over the proceedings. There were his show-stopping performances, with Rihanna and Paul McCartney (“FourFiveSeconds”) and earlier, a touching rendition of “Only One,” his song for his daughter North.

Yet the real talking point was when Kanye nearly, literally stopped the show: After Prince announced Beck’s Morning Phase as the Album Of The Year recipient, West hopped on stage, feigning a repeat of the 2009 MTV VMAs. He laughed and sat back down, but a post-show interview caught him incensed about the choice, which—just like Taylor Swift’s “You Belong With Me” win in ’09—left Beyoncé high and dry. As he said to The-Dream on the floor just moments after the incident last night, “We should have all jumped on the stage!”

If nothing else, Prince likely agrees with Kanye’s cries for artistry to be recognized. His unannounced appearance garnered the night’s biggest ovation from the artists sitting near the stage, when he reminded the audience that albums still matter, “like books and Black lives.” The remark earned an impassioned nod from Jay Z, sitting just off-center to the stage-right side. When, moments later, Kanye bounded up the steps toward the microphone, Hov was visibly less impressed.

Staying in La Familia, Beyoncé offered a stark, slight performance of “Take My Hand, Precious Lord”—an arresting vocal performance without so much as a single step across the stage. She then ceded the spotlight to Common and John Legend, who performed their Oscar-nominated song “Glory” (from the movie Selma) to close out the show. That Com was the only true rap performer of the night was puzzling, but his prime placement was a welcome plug.

The rest of the rap world showed up in stylish, if muted fashion. Pharrell made waves for wearing a suit made of a fluorescent material that makes it difficult to photograph; the same fabric has been used by supermodels as they make their way from point to point. Rick Ross was looking svelte and stoic, never leaving his post at the stage-left wing, posing wordlessly for a handful of fan photos. Russell Simmons showed up in a suit and, of course, shell-toed Adidas; ?uestlove could be seen taking photos with a brutally cracked smartphone.

In all, the night was quiet on the hip-hop front—not a single rapper received an award during the televised portion of the proceedings. The ‘In Memoriam’ montage did, however, pay tribute to both A$AP Yams and The Sugarhill Gang’s Big Bank Hank. Joan Rivers, however, was conspicuously absent, despite her posthumous win in the Best Spoken Word Album category. (Her daughter, Melissa, accepted the award on Joan’s behalf.)

It seems inevitable that the 57th Grammys will be remembered for Kanye’s cries for incentivizing and appreciating those artists who push boundaries and exceed expectations. When, during one of the breaks in the telecast, Nas sauntered up to the front to meet up with Jay Z, the two laughed and cracked jokes, holding court for a semi-circle of awed onlookers that included Big Sean and Katy Perry. The scene was a potent reminder that the truly exceptional talents can sidestep their differences, come together and make music that endures.