10 Best and Worst Hip-Hop Moments at 2017 Grammy Awards
On Sunday night (Feb. 12), the 59th Annual Grammy Awards took place at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, and captured the attention of music fans around the world. Known as the most prestigious music awards show in the U.S., the Grammy Awards celebrate and showcase the biggest and brightest stars in music, as well as acclaimed critical darlings that have created groundbreaking and culturally transcendent songs, performances or bodies of work.
The Grammy Awards celebrate numerous musical genres, including pop, rock, country, R&B and jazz, but the categories and moments that concern us are the ones involving hip-hop. Although rap's history with the Grammy Awards is a bit strained due to the award show not fully embracing the genre as a cultural force or showing the music its proper respect, over the years, there have been some unforgettable occurrences that happened during the award ceremony and the show itself.
This year was no different, as some of hip-hop's stars managed to add their own flavor to the occasion, whether it be through a performance, an acceptance speech or as simple as a timely expression. Rap may have taken a backseat to other genres this year, with only two of the awards focusing on hip-hop actually televised, but the presence of the culture was clear and evident, from the red carpet to the stage to the performances to the winners. Whether it was the first family of hip-hop or a rising star having a defining moment in their career, the 2017 Grammy Awards was filled with highlights.
After enjoying a breakout year in 2016, Chance The Rapper continued his winning streak by winning the Best New Artist Grammy Award, beating out a field that included strong contenders like Anderson .Paak, The Chainsmokers, Maren Morris and Kelsea Ballerini. Accepting the award with his team flanked behind him, Chano proceeded to thank God, his family and his hometown of Chicago.
Chance ignored the signal to cut his speech short -- the notorious cut-off music began to play -- and continued to thank his handlers before emphatically proclaiming that his victory is in the name of God, serving for one of the more memorable acceptance speeches of the night, and a big win for hip-hop.
During the Grammys commercial break, Lil Yachty's much talked-about Target commercial debuted and was one of the rap-related highlights of the night. Doing a remake of Rob Base and DJ EZ Rock's classic record "It Takes Two" with Carly Rae Jespen, the extended commercial may have been polarizing and considered ironic given Yachty's statements about old school rappers in the past, but should do more to increase the XXL Freshman's buzz. Mike Will Made It, who produced the remix track, also made a cameo and his producer tag got some airtime.
The Grammy Awards have a long-running tradition of honoring musicians and performers who have passed away, but this year, a performance included a tribute to the late Phife Dawg of A Tribe Called Quest. The Funky Diabetic's group-mates would honor his life and legacy by running through a quick performance of their 1993 hit, "Award Tour," while shouting out Phife's name for those in attendance and tuning in at home to hear.
Few artists increased their profile like Anderson .Paak was able to over the past year, releasing his breakthrough album, Malibu, and turning in electric live performances. The 2016 XXL Freshman had the opportunity of showcasing his talents during his performance with A Tribe Called Quest, performing "Movin Backwards" alongside the legendary crew.
A Tribe Called Quest surprised the world with their new album, We got it from Here…Thank You 4 Your service, dropped last year, so when the iconic rap group was tapped to perform at the Grammys, it was among the more anticipated performances of the night.
They performed their song "We the People," with members Q-Tip, Jarobi and Ali Shaheed Muhammad in attendance as well as affiliates Consequence and Busta Rhymes, would rock the house and make their own political statement. Busta in particular referred to President Trump as "President Agent Orange." DJ Scratch also flexed his skills on the 1s and 2s.
Being the daughter of arguably the greatest rapper of all-time makes you instant hip-hop royalty, just as Blue Ivy Carter, who has been the object of adoration and affection since before her birth. The young girl would rival her mother's performance with one of her own, appearing alongside Grammy host James Corden and a few other attendees like Jennifer Lopez for a star-studded "Carpool Karaoke" skit, in which they all sang Neil Diamond's "Sweet Caroline." The moment proved that stealing the show truly runs in Blue Ivy's blood.
Jay Z's image as a callous, womanizing, drug lord during the earlier portion of his career is in stark contrast to his lifestyle today. The Grammy Awards was yet another reminder of this, with Hov playing the sidelines as his wife, Beyonce, wowed the crowd with her riveting performance. He was even caught on camera cheering her on with their daughter Blue, resulting in one of the more endearing moments of the night.
Every year, the Grammy Awards honor the musical greats that passed away within the past year during the "In Memoriam" segment, but have often been less than thorough when acknowledging rap artists who had tangible impacts on the world of music. This year included nods to the likes of Phife Dawg and Q, founder of WorldStarHipHop, but noticeably absent were rappers Shawty Lo and Bankroll Fresh, two deaths that rocked the hip-hop world, leaving a sour taste for a sizable segment of viewers.
After dominating the rap categories, Chance The Rapper had the opportunity to grace the stage for his debut Grammys performance, and it was certainly one to remember.
Performing “How Great” and “All We Got” with Kirk Franklin and Tamela Mann, both from his Coloring Book project, Chance captivated the Grammy audience and viewers at home with his unbridled passion and capped off what was a highlight-filled night for the rapper.
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More than a few rap fans may have been disappointed that Schoolboy Q's 'Blankface' album failed to secure a win the Best Rap Album category, but the trophy he was more interested in showing off was his daughter, who attended the award show with him. Clad in a pink and black suit, Schoolboy Q's daughter made a fashion statement that was among the best of the night, and we got a glimpse of the TDE rapper's more tender side.