The results from the 56th Annual Grammy Awards are in and rap duo Macklemore & Ryan Lewis made a statement on the whitening of urban/black music in America. Macklemore & Ryan Lewis won best rap album for their debut The Heist, beating out Jay Z, Kanye West, Drake and our dark horse nominee Kendrick Lamar, who was snubbed despite giving the best, high energy, turned up, unforgettable performance of the night. Beyoncé and Jay Z’s opener of “Drunk in Love” was a sexy sight to see with Queen B in her best burlesque lap-dancing wardrobe. But still, Kendrick’s performance was hungry, passionate, focused and one that made anyone who’s never seen or heard of him before take notice.
Still the stars of the night were Macklemore & Ryan Lewis. The best rap trophy was one of four awards the duo won. Host LL Cool J did his best, but even the classic grown-man cool couldn't counter-balance this awkward extravaganza.
Justin Timberlake, who wasn’t seen once at the show, won the award for best R&B song for “Pusher Love Girl” and best music video for “Suit & Tie,” which got Jay Z a Grammy as well. Too bad this part of the show wasn’t televised during the 3.5 hour broadcast.
Other highlights not seen on CBS were when Gospel singer Tye Tribbet won two Grammys for best gospel album and best gospel song. While soul singer Lalah Hathaway won a Grammy for Best R&B performance for “Something.”
The overall tone of the affair seemed to force the idea of progression, for example with Kendrick performing with rock band Imagine Dragons, and Steven Tyler singing to Smokey Robinson; but the feel of the evening seemed a bit chaotic at times and just down-right weird.
Kendrick Lamar, who was nominated in seven categories, walked away with nothing, despite having the best performance of the night as he rocked the crowd at a level loud enough to make those at home nod heads. Robin Thicke and Chicago did an entertaining, lively job during their performance of “Blurred Lines.”
But there were distractions. Like, Daft Punk wearing those hot-ass space suits and helmets for the entire evening. What was up with that? They sat in the audience just chilling like that was normal. We know that's their space tripping alien thing and all, but they had to be uncomfortable.
And the freaky occurrences continued to come out during the Grammy night when a mass, cult-like wedding was presided over by Queen Latifah during the Macklemore performance of “Same Love.” Adding to the randomness of it all, Madonna suddenly popped up on stage, adorned in a plantation suit and bolo tie similar to the likes of which would make Colonel Sanders jealous. What was up with that?
Pharrell wore what appeared to be a 10-gallon hat from Arby's. Although he did walk away with a well-deserved Grammy for Best Producer. He also won the award for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance for "Get Lucky" with Daft Punk and Nile Rodgers. That song earned Record of the Year as well. Daft Punk's Random Access Memories also won Album of the Year.
Check thoughts on the other categories:
Song of the Year
“Royals” by Lorde is another shocker. We thought the academy would recognize “Roar” by Katy Perry for the incredible anthem it is. “Royals” is everything anti-excessive and considering the track was originally supposed to be released for free, the value in reconsidering has culminated in the teenager making history of her own making.
Best New Artist
Trying to understand how Kendrick Lamar didn’t win this category as well. Did the recording academy combine the considerable talents of Macklemore and Lewis vs. the sole (soul?) entity of the much more talented Lamar? Was it the cultural relevance of "Same Love" that the academy found necessary to promote for the greater good of the fans and industry at large? The performance of "Same Love" at the Grammys was memorable, granted, but we thought this was about music?
Best R&B Album
Wasn’t difficult to predict Alicia Key’s Girl On Fire would win. After watching the Grammys for all these years, it’s almost second nature for many to see the awards as predictable. John Legend and Alicia Keys are almost fraternal twins of sorts because of how immensely talented each is without showing their total personalities publicly. So we figured either would win. Keys seems to have settled into a niche and puts out enough talented music to remain relevant in lieu of the hop-strongly-on-the-scene passion she exhibited to become a household name in her debut album, Songs in A Minor.
Best Pop Duo/Group Performance
Pharrell and Daft Punk stole this award because a perfect storm brewed for "Get Lucky." It’s a truly catchy track gifted like an 80’s video, stuck in time, just as cool yet emphatically obnoxious 70’s disco. Combined with consistently intelligent promotion when it dropped, even those unaware of Daft Punk’s skillset hummed and sang the song anywhere and everywhere – sometimes unknowingly – as if the Grammy winner was a music chart staple struck from the past. Skateboard P’s production is smooth as gold and inasmuch as Daft Punk deserves every bit of shine they are afforded, Pharell made this track go, and it proved being decorated by the recording academy.
Record of the Year
Daft Punk wins again and pulled in 5 Grammys on the night. "Get Lucky" star power infused production and engineering proved profound. Nile Rodgers’ career has come full circle from the days as a co-founding member of disco sensation Chic. It makes every sense his outstanding arranging talent and elite guitar skills are evident when you step back and listen to a track that France will forever rejoice. Is Daft Punk the evolution of Kraftwerk? Seems so.
Album of the Year
Wow. Daft Punk shocks everyone with winning Album of the Year. Random Access Memories, as was said in our Grammy Win or Grammy Diss prediction piece, is engineered with homemade hands in a microwave world. Maybe the recording academy appreciated a return to the times where everything was done the same regardless of how much time elapsed to complete. Do yourselves a favor and check out the album, you’ll understand why it won if you give it a chance with a keen ear from a production standpoint.
Best Rap Album
Doesn’t surprise us that Kendrick entered the stage and rocked the house. But we’re disappointed he didn’t win in this category. To use a sports analogy, in 1995 Albert Belle hit 50 homers and 50 doubles – something that had never been done – yet the MVP went to Mo Vaughn with much lesser numbers. Kendrick put out an album that was more than unique. It was as pop as he probably ever wanted to be (to get airplay), but his soul of Hip Hop remained intact. good kid m.A.A.d city would have been a classic if it were rapped over silence because it stirs the soul on so many levels transcending music. While Macklemore and Lewis’ The Heist is talented, it’s something that can be duplicated because it appeals to what some would want to see of Hip Hop instead of being challenged to understand what Hip Hop actually is and intended to be. It’s almost as if his passion on Big Sean’s "Control" was a therapeutic foreshadowing of what transpired at the Grammys…his back to the future protest if you will. There are no qualifiers with this opinion and if the trend continues, music just went the way of Elvis instead of recognizing true art and creativity. Be sure his next project will be inspired fire.
For the full list of winners, go to Grammy.com.