Photo: Leon Bennett/WireImage via Getty Images
Cardi B Receives ASCAP Songwriter Of The Year Award At Rhythm & Soul Awards
The GRAMMY-winning rapper has penned lyrics for "Bodak Yellow," "I Like It," Ozuna's "La Modelo" and more
Hip-hop heavyweight Cardi B was named Songwriter Of The Year at the 34th annual ASCAP Rhythm & Soul Music Awards Thursday night, June 20.
During her acceptance speech at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills, Calif., the GRAMMY-winning rapper said the win validated her career success.
"Sometimes I gotta see it and feel it for myself because it’s hard," she said. "Everybody always wants to say I made it because of this or made it because of that. I made it because I worked my ass off… Thank you very much, ASCAP. This is an honor for me."
She also mentioned how she feels pressure to always do more in the industry: “Sometimes I feel like I'm not doing too much because when it comes to female rappers, it’s like you’re never doing too much or they’re always pitting you against another female rapper. People on my team are like, 'Cardi, you’re crazy. You won a GRAMMY. Cardi, all your songs are charting."
Cardi B won Best Rap Album for Invasion Of Privacy at the 61st GRAMMY Awards and has penned lyrics for "Bodak Yellow," "I Like It," Ozuna's "La Modelo" and more. In a 2017 interview with VladTV, the singer said she's studied the work of rappers before her to get her own writing down.
"I'm from New York and I listened to hip-hop like practically my whole life, and then as I'm writing things I study when these guys be freestylin', what is considered bars, what are considered metaphors and this is why I'm so grateful I want to school because I get to put things together. My vocabulary is not the greatest, but I do read," she said.
Other honorees included rapper T.I., who received the Voice Of The Culture, and Berry Gordy Jr., who received the ASCAP Rhythm & Soul Heritage Award on behalf of Motown Records.
Credit: Paul Natkin/Getty Images
20 Iconic Hip-Hop Style Moments: From Run-D.M.C. To Runways
From Dapper Dan's iconic '80s creations to Kendrick Lamar's 2023 runway performance, hip-hop's influence and impact on style and fashion is undeniable. In honor of hip-hop's 50th anniversary, look back at the culture's enduring effect on fashion.
In the world of hip-hop, fashion is more than just clothing. It's a powerful means of self-expression, a cultural statement, and a reflection of the ever-evolving nature of the culture.
Since its origin in 1973, hip-hop has been synonymous with style — but the epochal music category known for breakbeats and lyrical flex also elevated, impacted, and revolutionized global fashion in a way no other genre ever has.
Real hip-hop heads know this. Before Cardi B was gracing the Met Gala in Mugler and award show red carpets in custom Schiaparelli, Dapper Dan was disassembling garment bags in his Harlem studio in the 1980s, tailoring legendary looks for rappers that would appear on famous album cover art. Crescendo moments like Kendrick Lamar’s performance at the Louis Vuitton Men’s Spring-Summer 2023 runway show in Paris in June 2022 didn’t happen without a storied trajectory toward the runway.
Big fashion moments in hip-hop have always captured the camera flash, but finding space to tell the bigger story of hip-hop’s connection and influence on fashion has not been without struggle. Journalist and author Sowmya Krishnamurphy said plenty of publishers passed on her anthology on the subject, Fashion Killa: How Hip-Hop Revolutionized High Fashion, and "the idea of hip hop fashion warranting 80,000 words."
"They didn't think it was big enough or culturally important," Krishnamurphy tells GRAMMY.com, "and of course, when I tell people that usually, the reaction is they're shocked."
Yet, at the 50 year anniversary, sands continue to shift swiftly. Last year exhibitions like the Fashion Institute of Technology’s Fresh, Fly, and Fabulous: Fifty Years of Hip-Hop Style popped up alongside notable publishing releases including journalist Vikki Tobak’s, Ice Cold. A Hip-Hop Jewelry Story. Tabak’s second published release covering hip-hop’s influence on style, following her 2018 title, Contact High: A Visual History of Hip-Hop.
"I wanted to go deeper into the history," Krishnamurphy continues. "The psychology, the sociology, all of these important factors that played a role in the rise of hip-hop and the rise of hip-hop fashion"
What do the next 50 years look like? "I would love to see a hip-hop brand, whether it be from an artist, a designer, creative director, somebody from the hip-hop space, become that next great American heritage brand," said Krishnamurphy.
In order to look forward we have to look back. In celebration of hip-hop’s 50 year legacy, GRAMMY.com examines iconic moments that have defined and inspired generations. From Tupac walking the runways at Versace to Gucci's inception-esque knockoff of Dapper Dan, these moments in hip-hop fashion showcase how artists have used clothing, jewelry, accessories, and personal style to shape the culture and leave an indelible mark on the world.
The cover art to Eric B and Rakim’s Paid in Full
Dapper Dan And Logomania: Luxury + High Fashion Streetwear
Dapper Dan, the legendary designer known as "the king of knock-offs," played a pivotal role in transforming luxury fashion into a symbol of empowerment and resistance for hip-hop stars, hustlers, and athletes starting in the 1980s. His Harlem boutique, famously open 24 hours a day, became a hub where high fashion collided with the grit of the streets.
Dapper Dan's customized, tailored outfits, crafted from deconstructed and transformed luxury items, often came with significantly higher price tags compared to ready-to-wear luxury fashion. A friend and favorite of artists like LL Cool J and Notorious B.I.G., Dapper Dan created iconic one-of-a-kind looks seen on artists like Eric B and Rakim’s on the cover of their Paid in Full album.
This fusion, marked by custom pieces emblazoned with designer logos, continues to influence hip-hop high fashion streetwear. His story — which began with endless raids by luxury houses like Fendi, who claimed copyright infringement — would come full circle with brands like Gucci later paying homage to his legacy.
Athleisure Takes Over
Hip-hop's intersection with sportswear gave rise to the "athleisure" trend in the 1980s and '90s, making tracksuits, sweatshirts, and sneakers everyday attire. This transformation was propelled by iconic figures such as Run-D.M.C. and their association with Adidas, as seen in photoshoots and music videos for tracks like "My Adidas."
LL Cool J. Photo: Paul Natkin/Getty Images
LL Cool J’s Kangol Hat
The Kangol hat holds a prominent place in hip-hop fashion, often associated with the genre's early days in the '80s and '90s. This popular headwear became a symbol of casual coolness, popularized by hip-hop pioneers like LL Cool J and Run-D.M.C. The simple, round shape and the Kangaroo logo on the front became instantly recognizable, making the Kangol an essential accessory that was synonymous with a laid-back, streetwise style.
Dr. Dre, comedian T.K. Kirkland, Eazy-E, and Too Short in 1989. Photo: Raymond Boyd/Getty Images
N.W.A & Sports Team Representation
Hip-hop, and notably N.W.A., played a significant role in popularizing sports team representation in fashion. The Los Angeles Raiders' gear became synonymous with West Coast hip-hop thanks to its association with the group's members Dr. Dre, Eazy-E, and Ice Cube, as well as MC Ren.
Slick Rick in 1991. Photo: Al Pereira/Getty Images/Michael Ochs Archives
Slick Rick’s Rings & Gold Chains
Slick Rick "The Ruler" has made a lasting impact on hip-hop jewelry and fashion with his kingly display of jewelry and wealth. His trendsetting signature look — a fistful of gold rings and a neck heavily layered with an array of opulent chains — exuded a sense of grandeur and self-confidence. Slick Rick's bold and flamboyant approach to jewelry and fashion remains a defining element of hip-hop's sartorial history, well documented in Tobak's Ice Cold.
Tupac Walks The Versace Runway Show
Tupac Shakur's runway appearance at the 1996 Versace runway show was a remarkable and unexpected moment in fashion history. The show was part of Milan Fashion Week, and Versace was known for pushing boundaries and embracing popular culture in their designs. In Fashion Killa, Krishnamurpy documents Shakur's introduction to Gianni Versace and his participation in the 1996 Milan runway show, where he walked arm-in-arm with Kadida Jones.
TLC. Photo: Tim Roney/Getty Images
Women Embrace Oversized Styles
Oversized styles during the 1990s were not limited to menswear; many women in hip-hop during this time adopted a "tomboy" aesthetic. This trend was exemplified by artists like Aaliyah’s predilection for crop tops paired with oversized pants and outerwear (and iconic outfits like her well-remembered Tommy Hilfiger look.)
Many other female artists donned oversized, menswear-inspired looks, including TLC and their known love for matching outfits featuring baggy overalls, denim, and peeking boxer shorts and Missy Elliott's famous "trash bag" suit worn in her 1997 music video for "The Rain." Speaking to Elle Magazine two decades after the original video release Elliot told the magazine that it was a powerful symbol that helped mask her shyness, "I loved the idea of feeling like a hip hop Michelin woman."
Diddy Launches Sean John
Sean "Diddy" Combs’ launch of Sean John in 1998 was about more than just clothing. Following the success of other successful sportswear brands by music industry legends like Russell Simmons’ Phat Farm, Sean John further represented a lifestyle and a cultural movement. Inspired by his own fashion sensibilities, Diddy wanted to create elevated clothing that reflected the style and swagger of hip-hop. From tailored suits to sportswear, the brand was known for its bold designs and signature logo, and shared space with other successful brands like Jay-Z’s Rocawear and model Kimora Lee Simmons' brand Baby Phat.
Lil' Kim. Photo: Ron Galella/Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images
Lil’ Kim Steals The Show
Lil' Kim’s daring and iconic styles found a kindred home at Versace with
In 1999, Lil' Kim made waves at the MTV Video Music Awards with her unforgettable appearance in a lavender jumpsuit designed by Donatella Versace. This iconic moment solidified her close relationship with the fashion designer, and their collaboration played a pivotal role in reshaping the landscape of hip-hop fashion, pushing boundaries and embracing bold, daring styles predating other newsworthy moments like J.Lo’s 2000 appearance in "The Dress" at the GRAMMY Awards.
Lil Wayne Popularizes "Bling Bling"
Juvenile & Lil Wayne's "Bling Bling" marked a culturally significant moment. Coined in the late 1990s by Cash Money Records, the term "bling bling" became synonymous with the excessive and flashy display of luxury jewelry. Lil Wayne and the wider Cash Money roster celebrated this opulent aesthetic, solidifying the link between hip-hop music and lavish jewelry. As a result, "bling" became a cornerstone of hip-hop's visual identity.
Jay-Z x Nike Air Force 1
In 2004, Jay-Z's partnership with Nike produced the iconic "Roc-A-Fella" Air Force 1 sneakers, a significant collaboration that helped bridge the worlds of hip-hop and sneaker culture. These limited-edition kicks in white and blue colorways featured the Roc-A-Fella Records logo on the heel and were highly coveted by fans. The collaboration exemplified how hip-hop artists could have a profound impact on sneaker culture and streetwear by putting a unique spin on classic designs. Hova's design lives on in limitless references to fresh white Nike kicks.
Daft Punk and Pharrell Williams. Photo: Mark Davis/WireImage
Pharrell Williams' Hat At The 2014 GRAMMYs
Pharrell Williams made a memorable red carpet appearance at the 2014 GRAMMY Awards in a distinctive and oversized brown hat. Designed by Vivienne Westwood, the hat quickly became the talk of the event and social media. A perfect blend of sartorial daring, Pharrell's hat complemented his red Adidas track jacket while accentuating his unique sense of style. An instant fashion moment, the look sparked innumerable memes and, likely, a renewed interest in headwear.
Kanye’s Rise & Fall At Adidas (2013-2022)
Much more than a "moment," the rise and eventual fall of Kanye’s relationship with Adidas, was as documented in a recent investigation by the New York Times. The story begins in 2013 when West and the German sportswear brand agreed to enter a partnership. The collaboration would sell billions of dollars worth of shoes, known as "Yeezys," until West’s anti-semitic, misogynistic, fat-phobic, and other problematic public comments forced the Adidas brand to break from the partnership amid public outrage.
Supreme Drops x Hip-Hop Greats
Supreme, with its limited drops, bold designs, and collaborations with artists like Nas and Wu-Tang Clan, stands as a modern embodiment of hip-hop's influence on streetwear. The brand's ability to create hype, long lines outside its stores, and exclusive artist partnerships underscores the enduring synergy between hip-hop and street fashion.
A model walks the runway at the Gucci Cruise 2018 show. Photo: Pietro D'Aprano/Getty Images
Gucci Pays "homage" to Dapper Dan
When Gucci released a collection in 2017 that seemingly copied Dapper Dan's distinctive style, (particularly one look that seemed to be a direct re-make of a jacket he had created for Olympian Dionne Dixon in the '80s), it triggered outrage and accusations of cultural theft. This incident sparked a conversation about the fashion industry's tendency to co-opt urban and streetwear styles without proper recognition, while also displaying flagrant symbols of racism through designs.
Eventually, spurred by public outrage, the controversy led to a collaboration between Gucci and Dapper Dan, a significant moment in luxury fashion's acknowledgement and celebration of the contributions of Black culture, including streetwear and hip-hop to high fashion. "Had Twitter not spotted the, "Diane Dixon" [jacket] walking down the Gucci runway and then amplified that conversation on social media... I don't think we would have had this incredible comeback," Sowmya Krishnamurphy says.
A$AP Rocky x DIOR
Self-proclaimed "Fashion Killa" A$AP Rocky is a true fashion aficionado. In 2016, the sartorially obsessed musician and rapper became one of the faces of Dior Homme’s fall/winter campaign shot by photographer Willy Vanderperre — an early example of Rocky's many high fashion collaborations with the luxury European brand.
A$AP Rocky's tailored style and impeccable taste for high fashion labels was eloquently enumerated in the track "Fashion Killa" from his 2013 debut album Long. Live. ASAP, which namedrops some 36 luxury fashion brands. The music video for "Fashion Killa" was co-directed by Virgil Abloh featuring a Supreme jersey-clad Fenty founder, Rihanna long before the two became one of music’s most powerful couples. The track became an anthem for hip-hop’s appreciation for high fashion (and serves as the title for Krishnamurphy’s recently published anthology).
Cardi B. Photo: Steve Granitz/WireImage
Cardi B Wears Vintage Mugler At The 2019 GRAMMYs
Cardi B has solidified her "it girl" fashion status in 2018 and 2019 with bold and captivating style choices and designer collaborations that consistently turn heads. Her 2019 GRAMMYs red carpet appearance in exaggerated vintage Mugler gown, and many custom couture Met Gala looks by designers including Jeremy Scott and Thom Browne that showcased her penchant for drama and extravagance.
But Cardi B's fashion influence extends beyond her penchant for custom high-end designer pieces (like her 2021 gold-masked Schiaparelli look, one of nine looks in an evening.) Her unique ability to blend couture glamour with urban chic (she's known for championing emerging designers and streetwear brands) fosters a sense of inclusivity and diversity, and makes her a true trendsetter.
Beyoncé & Jay-Z in Tiffany & Co.’s "About Love" campaign
The power duo graced Tiffany & Co.'s "About Love'' campaign in 2021, showcasing the iconic "Tiffany Yellow Diamond," a 128.54-carat yellow worn by Beyoncé alongside a tuxedo-clad Jay-Z. The campaign sparked controversy in several ways, with some viewers unable to reconcile the use of such a prominent and historically significant diamond, sourced at the hands of slavery, in a campaign that could be seen as commercializing and diluting the diamond's cultural and historical importance. Despite mixed reaction to the campaign, their stunning appearance celebrated love, adorned with Tiffany jewels and reinforced their status as a power couple in both music and fashion.
Kendrick Lamar Performs At Louis Vuitton
When Kendrick Lamar performed live at the Louis Vuitton Men’s spring-summer 2023 runway show in Paris in June 2022 following the passing of Louis Vuitton’s beloved creative director Virgil Abloh, he underscored the inextricable connection between music, fashion and Black American culture.
Lamar sat front row next to Naomi Campbell, adorned with a jeweled crown of thorns made from diamonds and white gold worth over $2 million, while he performed tracks including "Savior," "N95," and "Rich Spirit'' from his last album, Mr. Morale and the Big Steppers before ending with a repeated mantra, "Long live Virgil." A giant children’s toy racetrack erected in the Cour Carrée of the Louvre became a yellow brick road where models marched, clad in designer looks with bold, streetwear-inspired design details, some strapped with oversized wearable stereo systems.
Pharrell Succeeds Virgil Abloh At Louis Vuitton
Pharrell Williams' appointment as the creative director at Louis Vuitton for their men's wear division in 2023 emphasized hip-hop's enduring influence on global fashion. Pharrell succeeded Virgil Abloh, who was the first Black American to hold the position.
Pharrell's path to this prestigious role, marked by his 2004 and 2008 collaborations with Louis Vuitton, as well as the founding of his streetwear label Billionaire Boy’s Club in 2006 alongside Nigo, the founder of BAPE and Kenzo's current artistic director, highlights the growing diversity and acknowledgment of Black talent within high fashion.
Photos:Denise Truscello/Getty Images for The Latin Recording Academy; Frazer Harrison/Getty Images; RONDA CHURCHILL/AFP via Getty Images
Meet The 2023 Latin GRAMMY Nominees For Songwriter Of The Year
In a roundtable discussion, nominees Felipe "Nabález" González Abad, Elena Rose and Kevyn "Keityn" Mauricio Cruz discuss creating hits for some of Latin music's biggest acts, their creative processes, and more.
The people behind the lyrics of this year's biggest songs will be recognized at the 24th Latin GRAMMY Awards. For the first time, the Songwriter Of The Year category was created to put a spotlight on Latin music's composers.
The Latin Recording Academy is highlighting the wordsmiths of Latin music with the Songwriter Of The Year category. To be eligible for the new category, songwriters must have written or co-written six songs during the eligibility period without also being involved as an artist, producer, or engineer.
The six nominees this year hail from the U.S., Latin America and Spain. Mexican American producer Edgar Barrera, who is the most-nominated person of the year with 13 nods, had a hand in writing hits like Manuel Turizo's "La Bachata" and Grupo Frontera and Bad Bunny's genre-bending collaboration "Un x100to." Colombian songwriter Kevyn "Keityn" Mauricio Cruz — who co-penned Karol G and Shakira's girl power anthem "TQG," as well as Bizarrap's global smash "Shakira: BZRP Music Sessions, Vol. 53" — follows with seven nominations.
Venezuelan American singer Elena Rose and Colombian musician Felipe González Abad ( also known as Nabález) are two nominees who perform and compose music. Barrera, Spanish songwriter Manuel Lorente Freire (a.k.a. Spread LOF), and Mexican singer/songwriter Horacio Palencia declined to be part of this roundtable interview. In honor of the new category, GRAMMY.com caught up with Cruz, Rose, and Abad about the work of Latin songwriters and the importance of this recognition.
How do you feel about being nominated for the first ever Songwriter Of The Year award?
Felipe "Nabález" González Abad: It is such an honor. Since I was a little kid, I’ve always had a lot of respect for songwriting and songwriters. Being a part of this first-ever category means the world because I want to keep doing this for the rest of my life. I’d love to still be a songwriter when I’m 70 years old! . It feels kind of surreal that I get to be nominated with songwriters that I follow and always have as a reference when I write songs.
Kevyn "Keityn" Mauricio Cruz: I'm grateful and happy to be nominated seven times at the 2023 Latin GRAMMY Awards, and in this special occasion for Songwriter Of The Year, which is the first time this category exists. I feel blessed. I already feel like a winner with this nomination. To be nominated with Edgar, Manuel, and a lot of people who are friends of mine, I love it!
Elena Rose: It's a profound honor to be nominated alongside such talented individuals whom I deeply admire and respect. I'm so grateful to the Latin Recording Academy for recognizing and creating a space for those of us behind the songs. To be acknowledged in this manner, especially as a Latina woman, reinforces the belief that dreams are within reach.
Why is it important to you that this category now exists?
González Abad: Music isn’t meant to be made by a single person. You can have the ability to produce, to write, sing, even do your own marketing strategy but sooner or later you have to have a team. We songwriters are at the beginning of that "creativity chain" and we’re the first players of that musical team where the music game begins.
A beautiful studio production without a great song won’t transcend as much. Without good songs, there’s simply no music industry. Having a songwriter category is one of the best ways to deliver this message and to have a space where songwriters are heard and awarded.
Mauricio Cruz: Because I feel like we're equally as important as the singer and the producer. All three of those components make a song. The lyrics are like the soul of the song. Before our work wasn't seen as that important. Now it's time to put importance on the recognition that a songwriter deserves.
Rose: This award sheds light on the multifaceted roles within the industry that often go unnoticed. It's a misconception that one can only be at the forefront as an artist. Each of us can carve our niche, and my aspiration is to inspire young girls to venture beyond the conventional. This recognition is not just for me, but a testament to the resilient women before me who paved the way. It's a tribute to those who ensured that doors would be open for the next generation.
How would you describe the experience of hearing the words you write come to life as songs?
González Abad: It’s a feeling of great responsibility. You have to be careful about what you mean and actually convey in your lyrics because not only might an artist you grew up listening to sing it, but also probably 30,000 people in a large venue! It also feels amazing, powerful, and it really feels like you’re putting your part in the history of music. Whenever I see a crowd singing something I wrote, I always think back to being in the studio when I was writing that part, and it is very inspiring.
Mauricio Cruz: Karol G is someone who has believed in me since day one. The day I arrived in Medellín with [my manager] Juan Camilo Vargas, who is a friend of Karol's, he showed her my work and she loved it. Every time we get together, the magic between me, her, and [her producer] Ovy on the Drums, leads to something great. They're like family. With Shakira as well, it's been amazing. I've learned a lot from her. She's on another level and has a different way of writing lyrics. She's another person with whom I share a beautiful friendship with.
Rose: Every time I get on an Uber in a different country that's not my homeland, or when I'm somewhere else and hear one of those songs, they often feel like messages from God, signaling that everything is OK. Even if it's a tune written by a friend of mine, it feels like a sign that I'm on the right track, fulfilling my purpose. It reminds me to remain grateful and that our hard work has a deeper purpose.
How would you describe your songwriting process when you're working with an artist?
Mauricio Cruz: I always try to work off of the vibe. I always try to find a way for there to be a good environment for us to work in, so beautiful things can come out of it. So that it doesn't feel forced. Because of that, me and the artists have a good connection. I always try to be a good person, not only a good songwriter, and that leads to great things.
González Abad: Empathy! It starts with being kind, having respect for one another, connecting on a social level before seeking inspiration. Literally, good vibes. You can later on write the saddest song in the world, but if there’s no connection before, I doubt a good song will come out.
After that’s done, there’s always somebody that has an idea, a potential title, a life-changing experience, a heartbreak, a romantic feeling, a hook, a melody, the beginning of a verse, or probably just has the idea of doing something similar they heard on a song they or I liked. Then, it’s just a matter of getting some melodies in, connecting with the lyrics and putting the song together.
Rose: My songwriting process is deeply spiritual and authentic. Before diving into the songwriting, I prioritize establishing a genuine connection. I always begin by speaking with the artist, trying to understand where they are emotionally and mentally. It's important for me to remind them of their unique greatness and to assure them that our collaboration is purposeful.
For me, the session serves as a sacred space for venting, healing, and infusing intention into our shared narrative. My role, as I see it, is to be there for them, offering reassurance, comfort, and a haven during our time together. My primary goal is to translate their emotions into words and music, serving their needs in the duration of our session.
What is your advice for people that want to get into songwriting?
González Abad: Be honest. Music is for the fans but you as a creator, you are the first fan your song has to have! So be a fan of your work. Always ask yourself, If I don’t like this or if I’m not really feeling this or the path, how can I expect somebody else to vibe with this? This does not mean you can never be in uncomfortable sessions or positions as a songwriter in the studio — discomfort throughout the process is great! But the result has to always sit well at the end for you as a creator.
Also, understand that delivering your ideas to your co-writers in the studio is just as important as listening to their ideas, melodies, hooks or lyrics. Don’t be that person that never listens. Silence is always key! Be comfortable around silence, awkward and quiet moments. Read the room.
Mauricio Cruz: Don't try to be like anyone else. It's fine to be inspired by other people, but be yourself. Progress doesn't happen in a straight line. Try to embrace what makes you standout.
Rose: My advice to everyone is to always be mindful of the people you keep around you. Never be in a room where you feel you're the most accomplished. If you find you're the best in that room, you're in the wrong one. Remember, silence can also be music, so listen more and observe. What you have to offer is special and given to you by God. Stay confident and believe you've got this.
What can we expect from next that you can tell us?
González Abad: I am currently exploring a lot. Playing with regional music, electronic music, cumbia, and ballads. Latin music is at a very high peak but there is still so much we can do as songwriters and producers. So, expect a lot of new cumbia songs, even new styles of '90s pop ballads, and even electronic dance music with Latin artists.
Mauricio Cruz: There's more songs coming. Next year, I'll be coming back even stronger. I'm working on a project with Edgar that I can't talk too much about yet. There's big things coming with him. What we've worked on together before is incredible, but what's on the way is even bigger.
Rose: I'm currently pouring my heart and soul into my debut album, with a strong emphasis on my journey as an artist. The beauty of having been a songwriter for other artists is that they've become my guides and mentors. Their experiences and guidance have not only shown me the essence of being a contemporary artist but also made me realize that I have my own unique voice that needs to be heard.
What do you see for the future of songwriters in Latin music?
González Abad: Practicality. I love when songwriting is taken to a very human level where everybody can understand the lyrics to a song, no matter the genre. If you look at a beautiful bolero, the lyrics are very poetic to us in 2023, but nowadays lyrics are very practical. There could be a chorus with something I can text my girlfriend on a Friday night. Straight to the point. I love that. Also, AI is a big topic nowadays but I’m not afraid of AI replacing songwriters. I don’t think it’ll happen.
Mauricio Cruz: I believe we're going to get to a point where we're more respected. The songwriters of today are working hard so that tomorrow our very important craft is more respected. There's nothing more beautiful than leaving a legacy that marks a before and after in this way to make it easier for the next songwriters coming up.
Rose: Looking ahead with love, as I often do, I see many beautiful things unfolding both for the creatives and within the industry. I sense a growing respect for songwriting, recognizing it as a potent medium for dream fulfillment. I hope it continues to serve as a platform for powerful messages that can transform lives. Every word we pen as songwriters holds immense power, and the world is in dire need of positive and impactful messages. I'm optimistic about the direction we're headed.
Photo: Arturo Holmes/Getty Images, Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for T.J. Martell Foundation, ANGELA WEISS/AFP via Getty Images, Natasha Campos/Getty Images for Songwriters of North America; Amy Sussman/Getty Images
2024 GRAMMYs: Meet The Nominees For Songwriter Of The Year
The 2024 GRAMMY nominees for Songwriter Of The Year have arrived: Edgar Barrera, Jessie Jo Dillon, Shane McAnally, Theron Thomas, and Justin Tranter.
It's GRAMMY nominations time! Among the all-genre categories for the 2024 GRAMMYs, songwriters Edgar Barrera, Jessie Jo Dillon, Shane McAnally, Theron Thomas and Justin Tranter round out the second-ever pack of nominees for Songwriter Of The Year, Non-Classical.
After being introduced for the first time in 2023, the Songwriter Of The Year, Non-Classical category was moved to the General Field this year along with Producer Of The Year, Non-Classical. It's a monumental change for the Recording Academy's Awards process, and as Recording Academy CEO Harvey Mason Jr. said, an effort to "stay aligned with the ever-evolving musical landscape."
Tobias Jesso Jr. won last year's inaugural gramophone for Songwriter Of The Year, Non-Classical, and this year's batch of nominees represent excellence in songcraft across all types of genres — from pop and hip-hop to country, K-pop, Broadway and multiple flavors of Latin music. They've worked hand in hand with global superstars like Miley Cyrus, Bad Bunny, Niall Horan, and Jungkook, and also written earworms to help up-and-coming artists like Reneé Rapp, Rels B, Tyla and Megan Moroney introduce themselves to new fans.
Before finding out who will join Tesso Jr. as the category's second-ever winner, get to know more about all five of this year's nominees below.
Edgar Barrera, also known by his moniker Edge, has been a longtime force in Latin music, with a total of 20 Latin GRAMMYs to his name. (Last year, the Miami-based producer even led the pack with the most nominations of the night at 13.) His success has also crossed over to the GRAMMYs, where he's been nominated 17 times since breaking out in 2013; he took home the golden gramophone for Best Tropical Latin Album in 2015 for his work as a producer and recording engineer on Carlos Vives' Más Corazón Profundo.
In the years since, Barrera has become a wildly in-demand songwriter and producer and helped bring subgenres of Latin music into the spotlight, from Karol G's Tejano-leaning "Mi Ex Tenía Razón" to the Spanish hip-hop of Rels B's "yo pr1mero." Of course, the grandest feather in his cap for the year might just be serving as a co-writer on "un x100to," Bad Bunny's foray into regional Mexican music with Grupo Frontera, which shot up the Billboard Hot 100 by landing at No. 5.
In an interview with Apple Music's Zane Lowe, Benito explained why the collab was so important to him. "It's very necessary because the world needed to know more about all culture, the Latin culture — another perspective [that] is not only reggaeton and perreo and urban music," he said. "There are also other very beautiful and very wild genres of Latin music."
Jessie Jo Dillon
One could say Jessie Jo Dillon's songwriting prowess might be hereditary. Her father Dean Dillon, after all, spent his career helping define the sound of '90s country by writing a plethora of songs for George Strait, Toby Keith and Kenny Chesney. The King of Country also gave Jessie Jo her first songwriting credit after she collaborated with her dad on 2009's "The Breath You Take," which was nominated for Best Country Song at the 2011 GRAMMYs.
Fast forward to more than a decade later and the younger Dillon has carried her family legacy into the 2020s, outlining the vast and varied sounds of today's country on songs like Jelly Roll's "Halfway to Hell," Old Dominion's "Memory Lane" and HARDY's "screen." A three-time nominee before the 2024 GRAMMYs (she also received Best Country Song nods for Cole Swindell's "Break Up in the End" in 2019 and Maren Morris' "Better Than We Found It" in 2022), Dillon's work with Brandy Clark helped her earn the Songwriter Of The Year nomination as well as her fourth Best Country Song nom, for Clark's "Buried."
Shane McAnally is both a titan and a trailblazer in the world of country music, as an eight-time GRAMMY nominee who is also openly gay. After starting out his career as a solo artist, the Texan transitioned to songwriting and producing full-time after writing "Last Call" by Lee Ann Womack in the summer of 2008 and later collaborating closely with Kacey Musgraves on her 2013 debut album, Same Trailer, Different Park. (His longtime partnership with Musgraves has won McAnally all three of his GRAMMYs, including Best Country Album for Same Trailer Different Park and Best Country Song for both "Merry Go 'Round" and "Space Cowboy.")
McAnally's talents gained wider recognition throughout 2019 and 2020 as audiences watched him mentor aspiring songwriters alongside Ryan Tedder and Ester Dean for two seasons on NBC's "Songland." His 2024 Songwriter Of The Year recognition both come from his continued work in the country world (Sam Hunt's "Walmart," Walker Hayes' "Good With Me") and the ways he's expanded the scope of his writing in pop (Niall Horan's "Never Grow Up"), contemporary Christian (Lauren Daigle's "He's Never Gunna Change") and musical theater (the music and lyrics for Broadway's "Shucked," including Alex Newell's barn-storming standout "Independently Owned").
A native of St. Thomas, Theron Thomas got his start writing songs and producing as one-half of R. City with his brother Timothy Thomas. The duo initially signed a deal in 2007 under Akon's KonLive Distribution after meeting the rapper in Atlanta and writing album cut "The Rain" for his 2006 sophomore LP Konvicted. By 2015, they'd landed a top 10 hit of their own, thanks to their single "Locked Away" featuring Adam Levine, and released their debut album, What Dreams Are Made Of. The whole time, Thomas and his brother were also writing for other artists, churning out bangers for the Pussycat Dolls ("When I Grow Up"), Rihanna ("Man Down"), Miley Cyrus ("We Can't Stop") and more.
In the past year, Thomas has brought his own hit-making pen to high-profile hip-hop collabs by Chlöe and Future ("Cheatback"), Ciara and Chris Brown ("How We Roll") and Lil Durk's and J. Cole ("All My Life"). He's also worked with rising stars like Ayla and Sekou and even segued into the world of K-pop by contributing to "Seven," Jungkook's Latto-assisted debut solo single.
"I always say I'm the Chick-fil-A of the music business," Thomas said in an interview with HOT 97 in February. "I'm here to serve and I'm here to bring something to the table."
Justin Tranter has been at the forefront of pop circles since the mid-2010s, when he pivoted from fronting NYC rock band Semi Precious Weapons to life as a full-time songwriter. By 2015, he'd been named one of Rolling Stone's "20 Biggest Breakouts" of the year and penned hits for the likes of Justin Bieber ("Sorry"), Selena Gomez ("Hands to Myself"), DNCE ("Cake By the Ocean"), Fifth Harmony ("Like Mariah"), and more.
In 2023 alone, his songwriting chops have helped establish Reneé Rapp as a rising voice to watch on pop-driven tracks like "Pretty Girls" and "Gemini Moon"; given Miley Cyrus a follow-up hit to her global (and now GRAMMY-nominated) smash "Flowers" in the form of the secretly raunchy "River"; and kept Måneskin's raucous party rolling with "Honey! (Are U Coming?)," the lead single off the reissue of their third studio album Rush!, retitled Rush! (Are U Coming?). Like McAnally, Tranter also expanded his resume into musicals by overseeing the original music for Paramount+'s Grease: Rise Of The Pink Ladies.
Photo: Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic
GRAMMY Rewind: Kendrick Lamar Honors Hip-Hop's Greats While Accepting Best Rap Album GRAMMY For 'To Pimp a Butterfly' In 2016
Upon winning the GRAMMY for Best Rap Album for 'To Pimp a Butterfly,' Kendrick Lamar thanked those that helped him get to the stage, and the artists that blazed the trail for him.
Updated Friday Oct. 13, 2023 to include info about Kendrick Lamar's most recent GRAMMY wins, as of the 2023 GRAMMYs.
A GRAMMY veteran these days, Kendrick Lamar has won 17 GRAMMYs and has received 47 GRAMMY nominations overall. A sizable chunk of his trophies came from the 58th annual GRAMMY Awards in 2016, when he walked away with five — including his first-ever win in the Best Rap Album category.
This installment of GRAMMY Rewind turns back the clock to 2016, revisiting Lamar's acceptance speech upon winning Best Rap Album for To Pimp A Butterfly. Though Lamar was alone on stage, he made it clear that he wouldn't be at the top of his game without the help of a broad support system.
"First off, all glory to God, that's for sure," he said, kicking off a speech that went on to thank his parents, who he described as his "those who gave me the responsibility of knowing, of accepting the good with the bad."
He also extended his love and gratitude to his fiancée, Whitney Alford, and shouted out his Top Dawg Entertainment labelmates. Lamar specifically praised Top Dawg's CEO, Anthony Tiffith, for finding and developing raw talent that might not otherwise get the chance to pursue their musical dreams.
"We'd never forget that: Taking these kids out of the projects, out of Compton, and putting them right here on this stage, to be the best that they can be," Lamar — a Compton native himself — continued, leading into an impassioned conclusion spotlighting some of the cornerstone rap albums that came before To Pimp a Butterfly.
To Pimp a Butterfly singles "Alright" and "These Walls" earned Lamar three more GRAMMYs that night, the former winning Best Rap Performance and Best Rap Song and the latter taking Best Rap/Sung Collaboration (the song features Bilal, Anna Wise and Thundercat). He also won Best Music Video for the remix of Taylor Swift's "Bad Blood."
Watch Lamar's full acceptance speech above, and check back at GRAMMY.com every Friday for more GRAMMY Rewind episodes.