Photo: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for The Recording Academy
Hit-Boy attends the 2020 GRAMMY Awards
Hit-Boy On Producing Big Sean's 'Detroit 2' And Nas' 'King's Disease,' Carving His Own Path As An Artist
The two-time GRAMMY-winning superproducer tells GRAMMY.com about his creative process behind some of the biggest hip-hop albums of 2020 and how he's paving a path as a rapper in his own right
Hit-Boy might be music's busiest person in 2020. Across a four-month timespan, the two-time GRAMMY-winning superproducer quarterbacked four of the biggest projects in rap this year. In May, he dropped the fourth and final installment of his The Chauncey Hollis Project solo series, followed by Also Known As Courtesy Of Half-A-Mil, his collaborative album with Dom Kennedy, in July. He followed up with King's Disease, the 13th album from rap icon Nas, in August, and Big Sean's fresh-out-the-oven Detroit 2, released Friday (Sept. 4)—both of which he executive-produced.
But for Hit-Boy, it's just another day in the office.
"It's too many artists trying to tap in for me to just work on one thing at a time, but I still am able to give my focus," he tells GRAMMY.com on the eve of the release of Detroit 2. "It's like quantity and quality. I don't know how to explain it right now."
With his mind on his music and his music on his mind, Hit-Boy is used to juggling a packed calendar in the studio. He's kept a 24/7-schedule since first breaking into the industry in the late 2000s. He's since become one of the go-to producers in the game, creating hits for everyone from Kanye West to Beyoncé to Mariah Carey. The versatile creative sees genre-hopping as a learning experience.
"I just get to learn more about different ways people make music," he says of his broad production style. "People in the pop world are totally different from people who make beats for Big Sean and JAY-Z … I honestly just like to learn, no matter what type of music it is."
Hit-Boy, who started off rapping before transitioning to making beats, is also busy carving his own lane as an artist. His new solo album, The Chauncey Hollis Project, and his team-up with Dom Kennedy, Also Known As, see him switching from behind the board as a producer to in front of the mic as a rapper. It's the latest progression in Hit-Boy's ever-evolving creative journey.
"I'm gonna just keep developing, just keep working, man," he says of his next steps. "It's a never-ending process for me."
GRAMMY.com caught up with Hit-Boy to talk about his creative process behind Big Sean's Detroit 2 and Nas' King's Disease, how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted his artistic approach and how he's paving a path as a rapper in his own right.
You've worked with just about everyone in music, from Kanye West to Jennifer Lopez to Beyoncé. Do you ever get nervous or anxious when you work with a huge superstar?
Earlier in my career, yeah. I definitely used to get a little nervous, but I always just believed I had something, even if all of it wasn't great. I know I have something in the batch that was going to catch people's attention. That's the same method I take on now, but I've just advanced so much at just being a musician and locking in on making beats ... Now that I got that science figured out, I'm just on damn near autopilot right now. I'm just getting placement after placement.
It sounds like you're in high demand. How do you juggle it all? Are you working on multiple projects at once? Or do you stay exclusively focused on one album or one project from beginning to end?
It's too many artists trying to tap in for me to just work on one thing at a time, but I still am able to give my focus. Like with Nas' album, King's Disease, we made time for our sessions, made sure there wasn't too many people around and locked in. My relationship with [Big] Sean—I've got a bunch of stuff on Detroit 2. I was able to still be in the zone, working on his sht, then also do a Nas album in the middle of that, and then work on Polo G's album and work on all this other sht I got going.
I feel like my method is like: Get to the studio before people show up, make as many tight beats as I can, all type of styles. Then whoever comes through that day, I'm going to have at least one or two that's going to catch your ear ...
It comes from me having my label deal and more so trying to focus on, I feel like, what was too many things at one time, which was trying to be an artist myself, signing a bunch of artists, trying to be a hot producer, trying to produce for everybody at once. That was too much, but now ... I work with whoever comes in my realm and respects what I do ... It's like quantity and quality. I don't know how to explain it right now.
You recently executive-produced Nas' latest album, King's Disease. Can you talk about the creative and production process behind that album?
I mean, obviously he's Nas. You know what I'm saying? Certain people know me—I'm Hit-Boy. But it's like, let's remove that and let's just try to make songs, let's just try to make records ... You could still pop your sh*t and talk about what you want to, but at the same time, let's just make this as enjoyable as possible. When we was going in, we just was letting the room lead the way and the energy was taking us to every next piece of the puzzle.
I just knew that it was a high standard with this project. People was going to really click play on this, and if it was whack, they was gonna let me know. So for so many people I respect, like younger producers like Metro [Boomin], like Pi'erre [Bourne], Tay Keith, and then I got people like Timbaland, Swizz [Beatz] and all these OGs also reaching out [and] just showing respect—that just shows me [that] this hit the core of music lovers. People who really listening, they understanding this is really quality sh*t.
You also executive-produced the new Big Sean album, Detroit 2. What sort of vibe or sound did you try to create on that album?
I just wanted everything to sound modern, even like some of the soulful [songs]. The song we dropped with [Nipsey Hussle], rest in peace, "Deep Reverence"—it's like a real throwback, Roc-A-Fella-ish sample vibe, but then the drums sound modern; they sound new. So I kinda kept that through the whole project. It's just remnants of music we enjoyed, but it's placed in a modern way, so definitely just trying to make sure it was just a fresh sound.
You mentioned a bunch of artists coming into your studio. Are you currently producing with artists in-person? Or are you working mostly virtually and remotely due to the COVID-19 pandemic?
We started the Nas album before the pandemic hit. That's what's crazy: We named it King's Disease before we even knew about the corona. Giving us that time during the pandemic when it was super shut down, we got to really sit and just really produce the record like how we wanted to. That was a good thing.
I'm kinda doing it both ways. People been hitting me [up] crazy. I've been emailing stuff out, but we always get the better connection when it's in-person. Me and [Big] Sean, we worked on all our stuff just face-to-face. I'm cooking beats from scratch. We really just building it from the ground up, so it's always good to do it that way. But if you do have to email, there's nothing wrong with that either.
What do you lose and what do you gain from producing virtually and working remotely compared to working with someone in-person?
You just get more of a connection when you work in-person. You're able to get that instant feedback ... It just makes it easier to navigate. When you [send it], you're just kind of shooting blind and just hoping that the person connects with the beat you sent. It's just two different things. They both worked out for me, personally, I have to say. I feel like my best beats come when I'm just dolo, just vibing out, zoning out and just letting whatever come to me. But I also been tapping into just making a lot more beats with people, too. It's just all music at the end of the day.
Speaking of the pandemic, we've been in quarantine for a long time now. You're in and out of it in your studio. How has this pandemic and quarantine era impacted your creativity?
I honestly feel like I'm more creative than ever ... My son was born right when we went into quarantine, within a day or two. It's just been good for me to have his energy and be able to spend more time with him and not have to fly out [to] no places and doing even more than I'm already doing. I feel like it's just been a blessing for me, for real. It's just looking good, so I'm trying to keep the energy up.
In addition to your production work, you're also an artist. You're able to switch from behind the board as a producer to in front of the mic as a rapper. What kind of challenges come with that creative duality?
Man, it's kind of all just music to me ... Like sometimes, I might not even rap on my own beat; I get beats from other people. I'm able to just separate it that way. I'm not looking at it like, "Oh, I'm Hit-Boy. I'm about to make a song." I'm just like, "I'm about to say what needs to be said on [this beat]." Then when I make the beat, it kinda make me even more tapped in because I can get into the Hit-Boy bag and then just still give it that honest perspective.
What are you developing to carve a lane for yourself as Hit-Boy, the artist?
I'm just recording ... I put out The Chauncey Hollis Project. I did that in installments. I put out three songs at a time until it equaled 12 songs. That was just a moment for me, just being honest, just talking about my life, where I've been, where I'm going, what I'm on now. Just more of that, you know what I'm saying? More projects, more and more people featuring on my music now because I'm working with so many artists. They be hearing my sh*t. They like, "OK, I want to hop on this." I'm gonna just keep developing, just keep working, man. It's a never-ending process for me.
As a producer, you're switching from producing harder rappers like Travis Scott and Clipse to pop stars like Ariana Grande and Selena Gomez. Creatively, what do you gain from jumping around genres like that?
I just get to learn more about different ways people make music. People in the pop world are totally different from people who make beats for Big Sean and JAY-Z and stuff like that, for the most part. There are some people that can hop in multiple lanes, but not everybody can do that. I honestly just like to learn, no matter what type of music it is.
What are some other genres that you are curious to explore that you haven't explored yet?
Like some hardcore rock 'n' roll sh*t. Who knows, man? Country, I haven't done no serious country records. I'm down to just try whatever, as long as it makes sense and I could still really feel the music.
We're almost at the end of the year, which is crazy to think about. What do you have left in the pipeline for 2020?
We've got, obviously tonight, that Big Sean, Detroit 2. Then I got an album with Benny The Butcher that's dropping; we got some dope features on that, some dope, soulful production. I feel like that was the thing with the Nas album. People saw I was producing that, they was like, "He known for club records and 'Ns in Paris.' But what can he give Nas?"
And then once people heard it, it was like, "OK, we get it now." I feel like with the Benny project, it's going to be [an] even deeper thing. He's a new artist, so it's just a blank canvas to be able to paint something that could be something crazy.
How do you compare working with newer artists like Benny The Butcher and superstars like Beyoncé and Kanye West?
They both hungry for this sht. Beyoncé, she work like a new artist, too. But Benny, he got some crazy, hungry—just really coming from the streets and coming from his background. For him, coming to the studio, he be like, "Man, this sht fly that we in the studio together." I feel the same way. He really taking advantage of the moment. When we in there, when I'm playing some sh*t, he understands what's going on. He just attacking everything with the highest intensity.
So we should keep an eye on Benny The Butcher is what you're saying.
You released the fourth and final installment of your The Chauncey Hollis Project solo series in May, followed by Also Known As Courtesy Of Half-A-Mil, your collab album with Dom Kennedy, in July. What do those two albums offer as separate entities?
The music I make with Dom has just got its own specific feeling. And I went for just soulful, just giving people an honest me on my project. That's what I always try to do on every song. But with [Also Known As], we always just kind of create a vibe, something that females can mess with, and then you can just ride to it ... We always just creating music. We always just recording ...
Those two albums put you directly in the artist seat. Where can we expect those two artist projects to go next?
Honestly, I can't even call it, bro, because I was just moving off instinct. When I decided to drop the first installment [of The Chauncey Hollis Project], the first three songs, it was the night before. I just had recorded the songs, started mixing them, and I was like, "Man, I want to drop this sh*t." I made the decision [to drop it] Wednesday, [then] dropped it Thursday ...
I still got people hitting me, people DMing me daily, listening to The Chauncey Hollis Project, listening to [Also Known As], people in they ride playing it. It's like, "OK, we headed in the right direction." So I can't even call it, man. You never know how this thing is going to go. But I'm just going to continue to make the music that I feel, and hopefully people connect with it.
Go with the flow.
Yup. We one song, one project at a time.
Are you always thinking about music, 24/7?
I am, man. That goes back to when I said I had my artist [deal] and I was working with Kanye and I was working with Beyoncé and JAY-Z. I had a point where I was like, "Man, I'm definitely not even taking no sessions if it's not Kanye, JAY-Z or Beyoncé." That's a crazy thing to be able to say within your lifetime. I'm not going to say it hurt me, but I feel like I should have been spreading my sound out a little bit more, especially with not having a tag and not having my brand all the way up where I needed it to be.
Now I feel like I've been playing catch-up. That's why I was able to do a bunch of songs on [Big] Sean's sht, do a bunch of sht on [Nas'] King's Disease, because I'm seeing the field different now. Once I catch that connection with an artist, it's over—we just tapping in. It's something about the type of grooves and the type of beats I'm making right now that makes people want to make songs, so [I'm] really trying to take this sh*t to a different level.
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: Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic; Steve Granitz/WireImage; ABC via Getty Images; Amy Sussman/Getty Images; Prince Williams/WireImage
Here Are The Producer Of The Year, Non-Classical GRAMMY Nominees At The 2024 GRAMMYs
The five nominees for Producer Of The Year at the 2024 GRAMMYs have been pivotal to the landscape of pop, rock and hip-hop. Read on for how Hit-Boy, Jack Antonoff, D'Mile, Metro Boomin and Daniel Nigro have raised the bar over the past year.
The golden gramophone for Producer Of The Year, Non-Classical is perhaps the ultimate accolade for anyone whose talents are best served behind a mixing desk. Phil Ramone, Rick Rubin, and Max Martin are just a few of the legendary behind-the-scenes names who've received the coveted award since it was added to the ceremony in 1975. But winners such as Pharrell Williams, Mark Ronson, and Stevie Wonder have also proven that the Recording Academy are open to honoring those who can take center stage, too.
This year's crop have undoubtedly all been pivotal to the pop, rock and hip-hop landscapes of the past 12 months. Two-time winner Jack Antonoff continued on his mission to conquer the charts for all of eternity by joining forces with two of his superstar regular cohorts, while first-time nominee Daniel Nigro helped not just one but two teen stars parlay their early success into adulthood.
Hit-Boy and Metro Boomin both vied for the title of hardest-working rap producer with an exhausting list of credits. At the other end of the scale, D'Mile, focused most of his attention on just one burgeoning talent.
Here's a closer look at the nominees for Producer Of The Year at the 2024 GRAMMYs.
Jack Antonoff will be hoping to replicate Babyface's mid-'90s dominance by becoming only the second-ever artist to win the Producer Of The Year, Non-Classical GRAMMY three times in a row. The pop maestro is on the cusp of history thanks to fruitful working relationships with two of the era's most prolific female singer-songwriters.
Antonoff has been recognized for co-producing the entirety of Taylor Swift's Midnights, the dreamlike concept album which spawned a record-breaking 10 U.S. Top 10 singles in the same week including Lana Del Rey collaboration "Snow on the Beach." The latter's equally alluring Did You Know There's A Tunnel Under Ocean Blvd also benefited from Antonoff's magic touch on all but three of its 16 tracks including a guest appearance from his own alt-pop outfit Bleachers.
Antonoff's production empire further grew this year when he entered the studio with another Swift-adjacent (albeit briefly) act, The 1975, for their fifth LP, Being Funny In A Foreign Language. But despite his chart ubiquity, the New Jersey native insists he has little interest in courting the mainstream.
"I do think that there's a misconception about what I do and what pop music is," he told The Face in September. "There's a certain group of people who think it's about appealing to the masses, [which is] not how I feel. I've never made anything hoping that everyone would like it."
Alongside his own individual accolades, Antonoff has previously shared GRAMMYs with his first band fun. (Best New Artist, Song of the Year for "We Are Young") Swift (Album of the Year for both 1989 and Folklore), and St. Vincent (Best Rock Song for "Masseduction" and Best Alternative Music Album for Daddy's Home).
But proving that all the awards glory hasn't gone to his head, Antonoff dedicated much of his acceptance speech last year to the unsung hero who joined him on stage: "I sit in the studio all day with one person — this is Laura, who engineers and mixes the records with us. We just sit there all f—ing day. We were there yesterday, we'll be there tomorrow, and this is all completely for Laura."
Dernst "D'Mile" Emile II
While last year's nomination came for his work with a modern R&B legend, Mary J. Blige, this year's is courtesy of a relatively new diva on the block.
Dernst Emile II, a.k.a. R&B/hip-hop producer D'Mile took the production reins on 10 of the 11 tracks on Victoria Monét's long-awaited full-length debut Jaguar II. The lush melting pot of disco, dancehall, funk, and soul firmly established the Ariana Grande hitmaker as a star in her own right.
It certainly lived up to the expectations that D'Mile, who also worked on Monét's Jaguar EP, put forward to GRAMMY.com last year: "We dug a little deeper. She is an artist that I feel really comfortable with. There might be a couple of songs that you wouldn't expect from her, and then there are songs that are just incredible records."
Of course, D'Mile has already made GRAMMY history having become the first-ever songwriter to pick up consecutive Song Of The Year awards, first winning with H.E.R.'s "I Can't Breathe" and then with Silk Sonic's "Leave the Door Open."
D'Mile sadly didn't get to accept the former in person due to COVID-19 protocols. But thankfully, the hitmaker did get to join Bruno Mars and Anderson .Paak on stage for the latter where he dedicated the award to his late Haitian vocalist mother Yanick Étienne (the same Philly soul throwback also picked up Record Of The Year and Best R&B Song).
When asked about his pioneering feat by Vulture, D’Mile still appeared to be in a state of shock: "Man, these past two — even three — years have been just a wild ride for me. I definitely didn't expect to set a record. Even when I heard that it was possible, I was like, Wow, really? No one's ever done that? It's just wild to me that I'm at the GRAMMYs, let alone winning..."
D'Mile better get used to the feeling. The New Yorker was also victorious at the 2022 GRAMMYs thanks to his contributions on Lucky Daye's Best Progressive R&B Album Table for Two. And this second consecutive nod suggests it's only a matter of time before Producer of the Year - Non-Classical is added to the trophy cabinet that also includes an Academy Award for Best Original Song.
From Ty Dolla $ign and Big Sean to Travis Scott and ASAP Rocky — name pretty much any major hip-hop star of the last 20 years and there's a good chance Chauncey Alexander Hollis Jr., a.k.a. Hit-Boy, has given them some audacious beats.
The Californian already has three GRAMMY Awards to his name, having co-produced Kanye West and Jay-Z's "N— in Paris," showcased his own lyrical flow on Nipsey Hussle's "Racks in the Middle," and worked on all 13 tracks on Nas' King's Disease.
Hit-Boy's prolific new partnership with the latter rap god has undoubtedly helped him pick up a second Producer Of The Year, Non-Classical GRAMMY nomination, specifically his work on the two Magic sequels and King's Disease III. Likewise, his production skills on Dreamville's "Just Face It" and Don Toliver's "Bus Stop."
But the aptly-named beatmaker has also been celebrated for his own headlining efforts, including the Surf and Drown mixtape, the Alchemist collaboration "Slipping Into Darkness," and the Victims and Villains LP recorded alongside nu-soul crooner Musiq Soulchild, all of which arrived within the space of just three months.
Hit-Boy's work schedule may sound truly exhausting, but as he told GRAMMY.com in 2020, the star thrives on keeping busy: "It's too many artists trying to tap in for me to just work on one thing at a time, but I still am able to give my focus. It's like quantity and quality. I don't know how to explain it right now."
And Hit-Boy will certainly be appreciative if it proves to be second time lucky. Discussing his first Producer of the Year nod, he told Variety, "It would definitely be a dream come true … Just to be recognized is amazing, but to win? That would be major, man. Just for the people that have followed my story and know how much I've stayed down, that would be major."
Perhaps surprisingly, considering he's been behind Hot 100 No.1s by Migos and The Weeknd, trap genius Metro Boomin is the only Producer Of The Year, Non-Classical nominee this year without a GRAMMY already to his name. In fact, he's only ever received one nomination — Album of the Year for his sole contribution to Coldplay's Music of the Spheres.
Could 2024 be the year this changes? Well, it wouldn't be for the want of trying. The man born Leland Tyler Wayne has laid down beats for everyone from Travis Scott ("Til Further Notice") and Lil Durk ("War Bout It") to Drake ("More M's") and Young Thug ("Oh U Went") over the period of eligibility.
And like his fellow studio wizard Hit-Boy, Metro Boomin has also been recognized for his own material including his Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse cuts "Am I Dreaming" and "Calling," and three tracks from his sophomore Heroes and Villains ("Creepin'," "Superhero," and "Trance"),
Luckily, the St. Louis native seems likely to take it in his stride if he once again misses out on a golden gramophone. Metro Boomin was seen as a shoo-in for the 2018 Producer Of The Year category but the award went to Greg Kurstin. The hitmaker told Billboard, "You know, we don't be tripping off stuff like that. We just keep it moving, man … I'm just here to service the people. As long as that happens what I do, that's really all that what matters to me."
That doesn't mean Boomin believes he's unworthy of the accolade, though, with the star recently telling Ebony, "I knew I was here to stay before I even really got here, because I knew how much time I was putting into this…..I'm always trying to outdo myself. This is one of the first times in my career that I can really feel the ascension; I can feel something happening, and I'm well aware of it."
Mid-2000s emo rock outfit As Tall as Lions might not have got anywhere near the most prestigious night on the music industry calendar. But frontman Daniel Nigro is now racking up the GRAMMY nominations as one of the go-to guys for Gen-Z.
All four of the New Yorker's previous nods were for his work with Disney Channel graduate Olivia Rodrigo, including the Best Pop Album category in which Sour reigned supreme. But in his first Producer Of The Year, Non-Classical showing, Nigro has also been acknowledged for collaborating with some other cool names.
That includes Chappell Roan, the dark-pop singer-songwriter who called on Nigro to produce the entirety of her debut album The Rise and Fall of a Midwest Princess. Irish troubadour Dermot Kennedy ("Divide") and former Chairlift vocalist Caroline Polachek ("Welcome To My Island") have also helped the one-time jingle writer to build a GRAMMY-worthy discography over the past 12 months.
Of course, it's Nigro's second effort with Rodrigo, Guts, that may best put him in contention for the big prize. He produced and co-wrote all 12 tracks on the pop-punk chart-topper, a committed approach he told Billboard is far preferable to being a songwriter-for-hire: "I know I'm definitely a pop producer [now], but I think I struggled a long time with that whole, 'You're part of a record' … I never felt satisfied doing just a song or two with an artist. I always felt detached. I come from a world where when something happens I want to call you up and celebrate the wins and vent about the losses and be a part of it [all]."
Nigro seems keen to continue guiding the careers of those young enough to be his kids. "I think it's just about being honest and talking about what's going on in their lives," Nigro replied when asked by Vulture what he admires about artists such as Rodrigo and Conan Gray.
"I think in their generation, something that they gravitate towards is the specificity of lyrics and honesty, which is always interesting," he continued to Vulture. "Whereas our generation was much more about metaphor and vagueness in lyrics, something that's left for interpretation, you know? It seems this generation is much more into something that's right on the nose."
The 2024 GRAMMYs, officially known as the 66th GRAMMY Awards, returns to Los Angeles' Crypto.com Arena on Sunday, Feb. 4, 2024, and will broadcast live on the CBS Television Network and stream live and on-demand on Paramount+ at 8-11:30 p.m. ET/5-8:30 p.m. PT.
The Recording Academy and GRAMMY.com do not endorse any particular artist, submission or nominee over another. The results of the GRAMMY Awards, including winners and nominees, are solely dependent on the Recording Academy’s Voting Membership.
Westside Gunn On How Virgil Abloh & "Coming To The End" Of His Rap Career Inspired 'And Then You Pray For Me'
A self-proclaimed "super-vet" of the rap world, Westside Gunn knows his time as a rapper is nearing its finale — but first, he wants to "give you a journey" with his new album, 'And Then You Pray For Me.'
When Westside Gunn refers to himself as "the king of the underground," it's not hyperbole. The veteran rapper has spent the last decade-plus providing hip-hop with a streetwise, neo-boom-bap style that echoes heavily in the music of today. And as the founder of independent hip-hop label Griselda (and its related rap collective), Gunn's influence is felt through stars like his brother, Conway the Machine, his cousin, Benny the Butcher, and the enigmatic Mach-Hommy.
But Gunn considers himself more a curator than a musician. He is obsessed with fashion and high art, more prone to mention going to see opera or buying a painting than jumping into a rhyme cipher.
All of Westside Gunn's obsessions come together on his new album And Then You Pray For Me. The rapper is positioning the project as a sequel to his 2020 LP Pray For Paris, which was inspired by Gunn attending a Paris Fashion Week runway show as a guest of the late Virgil Abloh. Abloh was the art director for both albums, which feature figures from iconic artworks laden with Gunn's signature chains; And Then You Pray For Me uses both the Mona Lisa and Caravaggio's The Entombment of Christ.
While the 21-track album features plenty of Gunn's trademark neo-boom-bap sounds, he updates things a bit by including some songs that have a trap music influence. It contains stellar guest turns from old friends like Conway, Benny, Stove God Cooks, Rome Streetz, and Boldy James. But there are also surprising appearances from artists you might not normally associate with Griselda — Jeezy, Rick Ross, Denzel Curry, and Ty Dolla $ign.
Gunn has recently referred to And Then You Pray For Me as his last album, but don't expect him to slow down. He's making movies, planning big moves in the fashion world, and continuing to guide the careers of other artists.
GRAMMY.com caught up with Gunn as he was, naturally, shopping in New York City's SoHo neighborhood ("I'm over here on Mercer [Street], so it's Lanvin, Balenciaga, Marni, Bape — it's all right here," he boasts). We discussed his creative pairing with Abloh, why he's really a curator at heart, and his views on underground rap's evolution over the past decade.
The conversation has been edited for length and clarity.
Not to start on a super serious note, but as I was preparing for this conversation, I realized that we just passed the 17-year anniversary of the murder of your cousin, rapper Machine Gun Blak. If he could see you now, and if he could hear the new album, what do you think he might say?
First of all, he'd be all on [the album]. But he'd be super proud, man. Even when he's not here, he's one of my biggest fans, I feel like. His energy is Westside Gunn. Westside Gunn is a perfect example of Machine Gun Blak — just the raw, the grittiness. The grimy part of Westside Gunn, that's Machine Gun Blak. That's his spirit.
But I think he would love this album. It's a great piece of work. It's my favorite that I ever worked on. Out of all my projects ever, this is the most fun I ever had making one.
Does it feel like it's been 17 years since he died?
Nah. It doesn't seem like 17 years, honestly. And it's crazy because I just went to his grave site. I remember [the day he died] like it was yesterday. I vividly remember that day — what was going on, what I was doing, where I was going, everything.
Where were you when you found out?
See, back in those days, that's when we were still in the streets. So I was just about to go make a move. I was talking to him on the phone, and I was like, "I'll hit you when I get over to Atlanta." Because at that time, I was making moves. That's before all of this. It's the things I rap about now. When you hear the lyrics, these are those days.
He called me, and it was a situation. He was talking about it, and I was like, "Sorry to cut you off, but I gotta go handle this. When I get there, I'll hit you back so we can finish talking about it."
At that time I was still catching the Greyhound from Alabama to Atlanta. But it was crazy because I missed the bus, and I never miss the bus. So I was on my way back to the house in Alabama, and my grandma called me.
This era of your career, which this album is a cap to, began in 2012 when you realized you had to step up and be an artist because Conway The Machine had gotten shot and you weren't sure he'd be able to rap anymore. I've always been curious about your state of mind at that moment.
Even then I was still in-the-streets Gunn. We was working so hard, man. I was acting as his manager and investing my bread, my time. I really wanted Conway to be the biggest artist in the world. Unfortunately, when he got shot, it was a devastating blow.
Of course, that's my brother. That's the number one thing. And it was also like, the streets is crazy. I thought, I'm a smart guy. If I just put in my effort, I could really make this happen. At that time, I was really in the streets, and I felt like the [other] rappers weren't. It was like, you're really rapping about us.
It was that kind of mentality — that if I come in this game, can't nobody touch me, because I'm as real as it comes. I just put my hustle skills from the streets into this, and it all worked out.
During the heyday of that era of Griselda, you guys released a flood of projects — dozens and dozens of mixtapes and albums.
It was a flood. It was the craziest flood since No Limit [Records].
What was a typical day like for you when all that was going on, circa the mid-2010s?
Just being at [producer] Daringer's house. Getting high, eating f—in' Franco's pizza, drinking Loganberry, and Daringer cooking the craziest beats you ever heard in your life. The rest is history. Just having fun, man. Everybody had they hustles. Believe it or not, even Daringer was hustling! We from Buffalo, man.
You've always been someone who understood the importance of branding. Even on early Griselda projects, you'd promote GxFR [Griselda by Fashion Rebels, Gunn's clothing line at the time].
Yeah, because that's the thing: Griselda Records comes from Griselda by Fashion Rebels. I had the clothing brand first. I was already doing a clothing line and it was just like, What am I going to name this record company?
I've always been into fashion. I actually do more fashion-related things than hip-hop-related things. I'm a true designer. I've been designing since I was a kid, and that's the thing that I want to get into more.
I've been rhyming since '12. That's over a decade. If we're looking at NBA years, NFL years, I'm already a super-vet. I'm not trying to be one of them dudes that went from averaging 40 a game to now I'm averaging five, looking crazy and old.
I know when to gracefully bow out. And I know I'm coming to the end. I don't want to keep rapping forever about the same things, because in my life I'm maturing. I'm doing other things. I'm collecting art. I'm going to see operas.
But it's not the end right now. Right now, I just want to give people the best music. And I also want to let people in. I've been doing these [YouTube] episodes for this album where I've been letting people into my life for the first time in my career. Everybody has been loving it.
For the first time, people are actually getting to see the inside of Westside Gunn's life. I think that's one of the things that I lacked on, was letting people in. If I would have let people in a long time ago, I'd be way bigger. But everything is about time, and I'm not tripping.
Before I hang up the mic, I still want to kind of give you a journey with the music. This new project, it's a super different vibe. I've never made an album sound like this. It's the perfect art piece that I could have possibly created.
It's just the space I'm in in life. It comes with maturity — traveling the world, kids getting older, things like that. You can hear the music has matured. It's still raw though. That's the thing about me. I'm still gonna give you that Griselda Westside Gunn. That's never gonna change. I'm not going too far out of context.
For this album, you've introduced the alter ego "Super Flygod." What does that name mean?
Listen, man, Super Flygod right now is talking to you with a ponytail. I'm on another level. Super Flygod is what I've always been, but times 10. I'm super bougie. I love five-star meals. I love five-star hotels. I love wearing $10,000 outfits. I love getting massages. I love smelling good. I love just looking good. That's Super Flygod.
It's just a different energy. It's something the game never seen before. I did the unthinkable at least 100 times already. I'm still doing it.
What was it like for you to see Conductor Williams — a producer who has worked with Gunn and Griselda for many years — land a single on a Drake album?
Beautiful. That's what we do it for. He did exactly what he was supposed to do, and that's be on the No. 1 album in the world. He deserves all of that. That's what we're in this game for — to be able to leave a legacy and take care of our babies. So for him to be on the No. 1 album, that's a super blessing.
That's the thing about Conductor — it's just gonna be the beginning. He's on my new album a few times. So he's gonna have a hell of a month. It's the biggest month of his life. Business is booming for Conductor.
You've used the word "curation" a lot over the course of your career, and especially in regards to this album. What does that word mean to Westside Gunn?
First of all, that's my favorite thing to do on an album. Curation from me is me. I can curate for you, I can curate for MC Hammer. It's you, but it's me.
When I curate a project, that's me naming every song, that's me picking every beat, that's me doing the sequence, that's me making the art cover, that's me doing the merch. You see what I'm saying? It's you, but it's me. All you're doing is showing up and rapping. That's all you gotta do.
Virgil Abloh is credited with art directing this album's cover. What did that mean, specifically?
When I went out to Paris [for Paris Fashion Week in 2020], I really wasn't going to make music. I just felt the energy from Virgil having me out there. When I hit him and told him it was done, it was just like, "There's only one person that can do this cover." It had to be him.
Virgil was an icon. So to have Virgil cooking up for you is already legendary. This don't happen to nobody from Buffalo, man. But when he was cooking, he was making me multiple pieces. At first, the idea was, I'm gonna do a trilogy [of Pray albums]. I was gonna have the Mona Lisa be the picture that represents all three of them together. I was thinking [of a] box set, with a Mona Lisa front and three different covers inside.
Once he passed, it changed what I wanted to do with it. But we were already talking about dropping [a second Pray album]. We were already going to re-release the first shirts we did, and I was going to do new ones. But when [his death] happened, I put everything on a standstill and I didn't really know how I wanted to approach it again.
It was like, Damn, should I do the trilogy, or should I just make it a part two? I had different options. At the end of the day, it was just like, I think I'm just going to finish it up. I really want to give the people the work we created together before I throw in the towel. I felt it was only right. That's something that I want the world to always see and remember — what me and him cooked up together.
You say in your new YouTube documentary series that this new album will probably go over people's heads. What aspects of it do you think people might not get initially, or take a few years to catch up to?
The same reason why they're catching up now to the s— that I was doing five years ago, and everybody acts like it's new. I've always been ahead of my time. Always. I probably get copied off of the most in the industry. But you see that I've always gotten respect from everybody: from the Drakes, from the Tylers, the Rockys, Kendricks, Coles, anybody. I'm a one-of-one. It's never been seen before.
The respect I get, it could be on a mainstream level, but then I could still be on an underground level. I can do something with an Estee Nack, but then turn around and do a song with Mary J. Blige. That's who Westside Gunn is. I got songs with everybody you can possibly think of, rhyming-wise or production-wise. All the legends, even our fallen legends. I can't even think of no other emcee that got a record with Sean Price, Prodigy, DMX, and MF DOOM. It's impossible to name another one.
Westside Gunn is so cultured, people don't even understand. That's what I mean about [being] over people's heads. People still don't even get it. They're scratching their head, like, "How is this guy on [Kanye West's] Donda? How is this guy on [Travis Scott's] Utopia?"
There's a big part of underground rap now that can be traced directly to what Roc Marciano began doing in 2010, and what you guys started doing just a few years later. What do you think when you see a lot of your aesthetic from that time in the current underground scene?
The current underground scene, I'm loving it. Because you gotta think — at that time, like you said, it was only really Roc Marci, Action Bronson — a couple heads. That's in the space that we come from. Of course, we still had the J. Coles and Big Seans and all that, but that was another lane. We're in the same neighborhood, two different streets.
But on our street, people on the block was Roc Marci and Action Bronson. Danny Brown, he lived on the block. People like that. When I came on the scene, that's all it was. But I took the bull by the horns. Like I said, I'm a hustler. I was still hustling in the street. I had a hustler mentality, and once I told myself I had to quit cold turkey, I never looked back. I just went extra hard.
With the new heads, I'm proud of them. At the end of the day, I'm happy that I was able to be somebody that they could study. That they could see these vinyl deals or how this merch is played — I'm kind of like the blueprint. I'm not going to say I'm the king of the underground, but I'm the king of the underground.
Even though I'm the king of the underground, I'm still on Donda. I'm still on Utopia. I'm still making all these big songs and these big records. And even yesterday, we put up the Post Malone clip saying if he could work with anybody, it'd be me.
I'm the one that put the most points on the board, in every way possible. But this is also showing the new heads, If I could work hard, I'm gonna be the next Roc Marci, I'm gonna be the next Action Bronson in that space.
What is the possibility of getting the original Griselda trio of you, your brother and your cousin back together for a project?
That's coming in '24. You don't even you got to ask twice. That's already done, my brother.
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.