Music

Rap sees landmark Grammy wins after years of snubs

More black hip-hop artists winning major awards after years of snubs

Rap history was made on Sunday at the Grammys as Cardi B became the first woman to win the award for Best Rap Album and Childish Gambino scored two other landmark victories for the genre: Song and Record of the Year.

For the second consecutive year, black hip-hop artists dominated nominations across the board.

But unlike in years past, the artists snagged a handful of major wins - perhaps a sign that the Recording Academy is slowly getting in touch with pop culture's more groundbreaking work - even as the top prize, Album of the Year, went to country artist Kacey Musgraves' Golden Hour.

Cardi B's win for Invasion Of Privacy was a crowning achievement for the artist, now at the top of the male-dominated hip-hop world.

The 26-year-old rap queen beat out Mac Miller and Travis Scott to claim her first career Grammy, having soared to fame on the runaway success of her 2017 smash hit Bodak Yellow that centres on the Bronx native's past as a stripper.

The visibly shaking star, fresh off a rousing performance of her hit Money at the Grammy ceremony, delivered an emotional acceptance speech alongside her husband Offset of the rap trio Migos.

Childish Gambino won the first Song and Record of the Year awards for a rap song, a milestone for the genre that the academy has drawn criticism for snubbing in the past.

The rap alter ego of US actor Donald Glover was one of the night's leading stars with four wins, also scooping a Best Rap/Sung Performance award and Best Music Video for the provocative hit This Is America, but he was not at the gala to enjoy the moment.

His collaborators told journalists they did not know why he did not attend, but he had reportedly declined an invitation to perform.

"I think if you listen to the radio or if you just watch our culture, if you look at the most downloaded, streamed artists... you see what people are getting inspired by," said Ludwig Goransson, who co-wrote the hit with Glover.

'ABOUT TIME'

"It's about time that something like this happened with the Grammys. They are getting the same kind of senses as the people."

The trap gospel song packed with social commentary juxtaposes an up-tempo rhythm, layered with church hymns and Afrobeats, with a heavier, more foreboding bassline.

Drake - who snagged seven nominations - won Best Rap Song for God's Plan, his only win of the night for the inescapable smash of 2018.

To everyone's surprise, the top-streaming Canadian rapper - who has sparred with the Recording Academy in past years - showed up to accept the award despite rumours that he would skip the gala.

But his acceptance speech was delivered with a perceptible twinge of bitterness.

"It's like the first time in Grammys history where I actually am who I thought I was for a second, so I like that - that is really nice," he said.

But he also told musicians not to worry about winning prizes.

"The point is you've already won if you have people who are singing your songs word for word, if you're a hero in your hometown.

"If there are people who have regular jobs who are coming out in the rain and the snow and spending their hard-earned money to buy tickets to come to your shows, you don't need this right here, I promise you," he said.

Kendrick Lamar, who led this year's Grammy nominee field with eight nods, won Best Rap Performance for King's Dead, which he had performed alongside Jay Rock, Future and James Blake.

Rapper-drummer Anderson Paak shared that prize for Bubblin'.

Like Glover, Lamar was a no-show in what was seen as a snub by the rappers for past disappointments when socially incisive rap material lost out to pop or R&B at the highest honours in the music business. - AFP

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