In the 23 years since the first Best Rap Performance award was given to DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince during the ceremony’s pre-show, last Sunday’s Grammys Awards proved how far hip-hop has come.
The 54th Annual Awards were hosted by LL Cool J, both the first Hip-Hop artist to host the show as well as the ceremony’s first host in seven years. The telecast was the second highest rated Grammys in history.
The night’s big winner was Kanye West who swept the four hip-hop categories, winning both Best Rap/Sung Collaboration and Best Rap Song for “All of the Lights,” best rap album for My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, and Best Rap Performance for his song “Otis” with Jay-Z off of their Watch The Throne album. Kanye was not present to accept.
The In Memorial montage of all the artists who died in the past year covered those we lost in hip-hop as well. Among those remembered were Heavy D (whose “Nuttin’ But Love” was played during a portion), Sugar Hill Records founder Sylvia Robinson, Nate Dogg and Cali Swag District’s Montae “M-Bone” Talbert. Later in the telecast host LL joined The Roots drummer ?uestlove in a moment of tribute to recently deceased “Soul Train” host Don Cornelius.
While Drake and Common were featured presenters and both Nicki Minaj and Lil Wayne performed, the most unexpected hip-hop moment of the night was lifetime achievement award winner Glen Campbell performing his iconic “Rhinestone Cowboy” and filling social media sites with flashbacks to the DJ at the dance scene in High School High.