The 60th Grammy Awards peaked within the first 5 minutes.
Kendrick Lamar’s scintillating opening efficiency at Madison Sq. Backyard on Sunday was an announcement of intent — not simply on the rapper’s half, however the present’s producers as properly.
After nearly three a long time of just about routinely ignoring the style, the Grammys seemingly gave the best hip-hop act of his technology carte blanche, and it resulted in a visceral medley of songs from his seven-time nominated album “Rattling.,” full with a military of backup dancers.
The ultimate section — carried out to “King’s Useless” from the upcoming “Black Panther” soundtrack — featured the dancers falling to the ground dramatically to the sound of gunshots. This politically charged second sucked the air out of the Backyard, bringing shocked gasps from some crowd members. It’s certainly no accident that the subsequent half-hour was given to ballads by Sam Smith and Woman Gaga, nearly as if to permit everybody to catch their breath.
When accepting his Finest Rap Album award, Lamar laid out his intentions in plainer, however nonetheless eloquent converse. “[Hip-hop is] actually about expressing your self and placing that paint on the canvas for the world to evolve for the subsequent technology and the subsequent,” he mentioned, earlier than endorsing Jay-Z for president.
Race relations wasn’t the one space the place the Grammys tried to be woke. With Hollywood’s patriarchal and predatory construction below hearth because of the female-led #MeToo and Time’s Up actions, the music world had no alternative however to reply. Due to Kesha’s ongoing authorized battles with producer Dr. Luke (stemming from her allegations of sexual assault), the singer was a pure option to convey the message. Joined by Cyndi Lauper, Camila Cabello, Julia Michaels, Bebe Rexha, Andra Day and the Resistance Revival Refrain, her stunningly highly effective model of “Praying” was the emotional launch of the evening. It left Kesha in tears, and introduced the Backyard’s crowd to its ft.
Barbs about President Trump have been a given from the get-go — it was solely a query of when and what number of.
Rapper Logic and U2 rebuked Trump’s alleged feedback about “s - - thole nations” on the continent of Africa. However the largest response got here from Hilary Clinton studying from “Hearth and Fury,” Michael Wolff’s controversial ebook in regards to the inside workings of the White Home. The prerecorded section, which additionally featured DJ Khaled, John Legend and an apparently incredulous Cardi B drew gales of laughter within the enviornment.
However not everybody was chuckling. The American ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, was apparently incensed. “Don’t break nice music with trash,” she tweeted nearly instantly after. “A few of us love music with out the politics thrown in it.”
Guess she tuned in late and missed Kendrick.