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Kendrick Lamar, Sam Smith & More To Perform At 2018 GRAMMYs

Kendrick Lamar

Photo: Lester Cohen/Getty Images

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Kendrick Lamar, Sam Smith & More To Perform At 2018 GRAMMYs

U2, Elton John and Miley Cyrus also among artists added to the lineup of performers for Music's Biggest Night; tune in to the 60th GRAMMYs on Jan. 28 on CBS

GRAMMYs/Jan 17, 2018 - 07:30 pm

The Recording Academy has expanded its lineup for the 60th GRAMMY Awards in a big way, adding current nominee Kendrick Lamar plus performances by GRAMMY winners Sam Smith and U2.

In addition, Miley Cyrus will take the stage with GRAMMY winner Elton John to perform one of his classic hits just two days ahead of the taping of "Elton John: I'm Still Standing — A GRAMMY Salute," a TV tribute concert celebrating the music and legacy of John and his longtime writing partner, Bernie Taupin.

Seven-time GRAMMY winner Lamar earned seven nominations this year, including Record Of The Year, Best Rap Performance, Best Rap Song, and Best Music Video for "HUMBLE."; Album Of The Year and Best Rap Album for DAMN.; and Best Rap/Sung Performance for "LOYALTY.," featuring Rihanna.

Previously announced GRAMMY performers include Alessia Cara, Cardi B, Childish Gambino, Daddy Yankee, Luis Fonsi, Kesha, Khalid, Lady Gaga, Little Big Town, Logic, Patti LuPone, Bruno Mars, P!nk, Ben Platt, and SZA.

Hosted by award-winning TV personality/performer James Corden, the 60th GRAMMY Awards will be broadcast live from Madison Square Garden in New York on CBS on Sunday, Jan. 28, at 7:30 p.m. ET/4:30 p.m. PT.

How Hip-Hop Took Over The 2023 GRAMMYs, From The Golden Anniversary To 'God Did'
LL Cool J, Flavor Flav, Busta Rhymes, Lil Uzi Vert, Nelly, Spliff Star, Queen Latifah, Ice-T, Chuck D, Joseph Simmons, Darryl McDaniels, Grandmaster Flash, and Black Thought at the 2023 GRAMMYs

Photo: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for the Recording Academy

list

How Hip-Hop Took Over The 2023 GRAMMYs, From The Golden Anniversary To 'God Did'

It's the 50th anniversary of hip-hop, but the 2023 GRAMMYs celebrations didn't stop at the epic, MC-saturated blowout. Here are five ways the genre took over Music's Biggest Night.

GRAMMYs/Feb 6, 2023 - 10:06 pm

The 2023 GRAMMYs' ambitious, world-beating tribute to hip-hop's 50th anniversary is getting a lot of ink — for a very good reason.

Featuring an ensemble ranging from progenitors like Grandmaster Flash and Run-DMC, to legends such as Too Short and Missy Elliott, and modern-day practitioners like Lil Baby, GloRilla and Lil Uzi Vert, the tribute segment was stunning not only on a logistical level, but on conceptual, emotional and historical planes.

But the Recording Academy's tribute to this landmark in time wasn't siphoned off to that 15-minute segment — not even close. In fact, the entirety of Music's Biggest Night radiated with the courageous, intrepid, forward-thinking spirit of hip-hop.

The tribute performance was just one of many nods to rap during GRAMMY week. Days before, Lil Wayne, Missy Elliott and Dr. Dre were honored by the Recording Academy’s Black Music Collective in a ceremony that contained performances by Snoop Dogg, 2 Chainz and Ciara. And the pre-GRAMMY gala featured a performance from Weezy, Latto and Lil Baby.

At Music’s Biggest Night, the hip-hop love roared fully to life. Here are five ways hip-hop took over the 2023 GRAMMYs, a foreshadowing of an entire year in celebration of the epochal artform — with the extended hip-hop tribute as a springboard.

GloRilla 2023 GRAMMYs

GloRilla performing at the 2023 GRAMMYs. Photo: Getty Images for the Recording Academy

A Global Hip-Hop Rager For The Ages

Until Music's Biggest Night, to fit hip-hop's evolution and essence into 15 minutes would seem logistically untenable. But the Academy did the impossible.

The Questlove-curated set moved lightning-quick from '70s and '80s pioneers, to 2000s radio dominators like Nelly, all the way to the current era.

Like with the last Super Bowl's ensemble cast of rap greats, the result was emotionally walloping, historically edifying and visually spectacular.

Most importantly, the music was exceptional — a tip of the hat to a precious form of American expression. To anyone who still subscribes to some form of stigma — you don't know what you're missing.

The Rap Categories Contained Serious Jewels

Let's take a step back, though, and examine the 2023 GRAMMYs' hip-hop nominees and winners themselves.

Kendrick Lamar was well-represented in both the General and Rap fields, and commensurately for Mr. Morale and the Big Steppers and Lamar's non-album single "The Heart Pt. 5."

For the former, Lamar won Best Rap Album; for the latter, Best Rap Song and Best Rap Performance. With the success of "The Heart Pt. 5," he is now the most-awarded artist in the latter category.

Together, these offerings comprise something of a creative and emotional watershed for Lamar. As for Pusha T, It's Almost Dry — nominated for Best Rap Album — contained some of his most crystal-sharp coke raps to date.

Plus, the sheer range of guests on DJ Khaled's GOD DID — nominated for Best Rap Album — could be the ultimate testament to his indomitable spirit, curatorial acumen and infectious sense of largesse.

This also applies to fellow nominees from Future, who won Best Melodic Rap Performance for "WAIT FOR U," to Jack Harlow, who was nominated liberally throughout the Rap field.

Given the level of craft throughout, hip-hop isn't just ripe to be celebrated for its past, but for its boundless future.

Dr. Dre Was Presented With A Global Impact Award

At the 2023 GRAMMYs, seven-time GRAMMY winner Dr. Dre was the recipient of the inaugural Dr. Dre Global Impact Award for his multitude of achievements through his innovative, multi-decade career.

Dr. Dre was presented the award after a plethora of televised bona fides, and offered his thanks to the Recording Academy and Black Music Collective for the prestigious honor in light of the Recording Academy's celebration of the 50th anniversary of hip-hop.

Takeoff Tribute 2023 GRAMMYs

A tribute to Takeoff during the 2023 GRAMMYs. Photo: Getty Images for the Recording Academy

Quavo Performed A Moving Tribute To The Late Takeoff

There's a bittersweetness to celebrating hip-hop on a global scale in 2023, as so many of its best and brightest have died far too young in recent years.

Among these tragedies was the senseless death of Takeoff, one-third of the family-bound rap trio Migos, along with Offset and Quavo.

Read More: Remembering Takeoff: Why The Unassuming Rapper Was Foundational To Migos

As part of the In Memoriam segment, backed by worship ensemble Maverick City Music, Quavo honored his late nephew with a soul-searing version of "Without You."

"Tears rollin' down my eyes / Can't tell you how many times I cried," he rapped before an empty microphone stand, poignantly hung with Takeoff's chain. "Days ain't the same without you / I don't know if I'm the same without you."

DJ Khaled 2023 GRAMMYs

John Legend, Fridayy, and DJ Khaled performing at the 2023 GRAMMYs. Photo: Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images for The Recording Academy

DJ Khaled & Company Closed The Curtain With "GOD DID"

At the end of the ceremony, DJ Khaled brought out collaborators Jay-Z, John Legend, Lil Wayne, Fridayy, and Rick Ross for a rendition of GOD DID's title track, which was nominated for Song Of The Year, Best Rap Song and Best Rap Performance.

Seated horizontally in an opulent, Last Supper-esque tableau, the stars sang their hooks while bathed in purple light, closing out the 2023 GRAMMYs with laconic flair.

It was a fitting conclusion to Music's Biggest Night, one that placed hip-hop where it belongs: on the top shelf.

2023 GRAMMY Nominations: See The Complete Winners & Nominees List

Sam Smith & Kim Petras Deliver Fiery Performance of "Unholy" | 2023 GRAMMYs
Photo of Kim Petras and Sam Smith performing at the 2023 GRAMMYs.

Photo: Kevin Winter/Getty Images for The Recording Academy

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Sam Smith & Kim Petras Deliver Fiery Performance of "Unholy" | 2023 GRAMMYs

Sam Smith and Kim Petras took the 65th GRAMMY Awards to the depths with a transgressive performance of their hit song.

GRAMMYs/Feb 6, 2023 - 03:22 am

Hey, daddy, daddy! Sam Smith and Kim Petras took the 65th GRAMMY Awards to the body shop with a transgressive performance of their smash collaboration "Unholy."

Surrounded by long-haired acolytes in identical red sheaths, Smith kicked off the performance in an outfit of latex and a devil-horned top hat before Petras made her grand entrance in a giant cage guarded by a trio of she-devils. "Mummy don’t know daddy’s getting hot/ At the body shop, doin’ something unholy," the duo belted in hellish harmony as a wall of fire erupted on stage behind Petras’ personal prison.

The performance came shortly after the close pals accepted the GRAMMY for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance, making Petras the very first trans woman to ever win in the category. In her giddy acceptance speech, the German pop princess gave a heartfelt shoutout to her late friend and collaborator SOPHIE, who helped pave the way with her own GRAMMY nomination in 2019 for Best Dance/Electronic Album for her album Oil of Every Pearl Un-Insides.

Speaking to the Recording Academy after she was nominated, Petras reflected on her place in the long line of trans GRAMMY nominees and winners, dating back to Wendy Carlos and, belatedly, Jackie Shane in the 1960s and ‘70s. "I’m proud," she told GRAMMY.com. "I just feel like they’ve all kind of been overlooked a lot, and never really got what they deserved regarding their influence…It’s cool to be in the same category as those artists that I really look up to."

Upon its September release, "Unholy" rocketed to the top of the charts all over the world, helping Smith and Petras become the first publicly non-binary and trans artists, respectively, to top the Billboard Hot 100. 

The industrial dance track also provided a major breakthrough moment for Petras. Not only was "Unholy" her first No. 1, it was also her very first entry on the Billboard chart and first platinum-certified song by the Recording Industry Association of America.

Since receiving their joint nomination, Smith has released their fourth studio album Gloria and Petras has followed "Unholy" up with singles "If Jesus Was a Rock Star" and "brrr" in anticipation for her major-label debut full-length on Republic Records.

Check out the complete list of winners and nominees at the 2023 GRAMMYs

Watch Kendrick Lamar Win Best Rap Album For 'Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers' | 2023 GRAMMYs Acceptance Speech
Photo of Kendrick Lamar winning the GRAMMY for Best Rap Album at the 2023 GRAMMYs.

Photo: Kevin Winter/Getty Images for The Recording Academy

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Watch Kendrick Lamar Win Best Rap Album For 'Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers' | 2023 GRAMMYs Acceptance Speech

Kendrick Lamar took home the award for Best Rap Album, recognizing how 'Mr. Morale' allowed him to grow as an artist.

GRAMMYs/Feb 6, 2023 - 02:37 am

Kendrick Lamar won the GRAMMY for Best Rap Album for Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers at the 2023 GRAMMYs. Lamar thanked his family for giving him the "courage and vulnerability" to tell his stories, as well as his fans for trusting him with the stories. 

DJ Khaled, Future, Jack Harlow, and Pusha T were the other nominees in the prestigious category. 

Watch Lamar's speech below, and listen to music from all of the nominees on our official Amazon Music playlist.

Check out the complete list of winners and nominees at the 2023 GRAMMYs.

Hip-Hop's Secret Weapon: Producer Boi-1da On Working With Kendrick, Staying Humble And Doing The Unorthodox
Boi-1da in Toronto in January 2023.

Photo: Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images

interview

Hip-Hop's Secret Weapon: Producer Boi-1da On Working With Kendrick, Staying Humble And Doing The Unorthodox

The self-described "young veteran" producer, up for four awards at the 2023 GRAMMYs, including Producer Of The Year, Non-Classical, has his hand on songs by Drake, Beyoncé and Kendrick Lamar. He spoke with GRAMMY.com about creating with hip-hop greats.

GRAMMYs/Feb 1, 2023 - 04:22 pm

If a rapper staying atop the mainstream for more than a decade is a herculean feat, then a producer doing the same is downright sisyphean. Boi-1da, the 36-year-old Canadian producer who netted four nominations at the 2023 GRAMMYs — including the coveted Producer Of The Year, Non-Classical — has risen to the very top of the industry, and remained there because he hasn’t lost the perspective from when he first started rolling the boulder up the hill

"I feel like my awareness is a lot of the reason I’ve been doing this for a long time, because I’m very socially aware of what’s going on and I can see," he tells GRAMMY.com. "In some rooms, you’ve got to find out what role you play. Sometimes, you've gotta play a bigger role. I find, working with newer artists, you have to play more of a mentoring role. But I find with other people, it’s about finding your use and being a utility." 

Boi-1da initially rose to prominence as one of Drake’s trusted beatsmiths and has his thumbprint on hits like "Best I Ever Had," "Over," and the GRAMMY-winning "God's Plan." His credits grew to include Rihanna's "Work" and Kanye West's Donda. Yet, even by these standards, 2022 was a banner year: Boi-1da contributed to Beyoncé’s Album of the Year nominee Renaissance ("Heated"), scored a pair of credits on Kendrick Lamar’s progressive, polarizing AOTY hopeful Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers ("N95," "Silent Hill"), and crafted the understated, elegant instrumental for Jack Harlow and Drake’s Best Rap Song contender "Churchill Downs." 

Hip-hop producers are often pigeonholed, but Boi-1da’s three biggest records from last year have virtually no sonic overlap. This malleability is the cornerstone of the self-described "young veteran"’s success, as he realized that eschewing one signature sound was the best way to remain in the zeitgeist.

"There have been many times where I’ve created sounds and it gets emulated and everybody starts doing it," he says. You’re liable to hear Boi-1da in every phylum of contemporary rap and pop music, from the horror movie menace of Nardo Wick’s "Wicked Freestyle," to Alessia Cara’s emphatic kiss-off "Lie to Me" to the bristling boom-bap of Freddie Gibb’s "Space Rabbit." More than 15 years into his career, Boi-1da continues to reinvent himself, and is gearing up to release his first solo studio album later in 2023.

Ahead of Music's Biggest Night, the GRAMMY-winning producer shared stories about working with Drake, Beyoncé, and Kendrick, as well as the importance of mentoring young talent, and why even after more than a dozen nominations, getting GRAMMY recognition still feels special.

This is your second time getting the Producer Of The Year nod after being nominated in 2019. What does that recognition mean to you and are there any ways it feels different than the first time?

I feel like it’s the highest honor as a producer. So I was extremely honored the first time and to be here again is even more of an honor. I’m not gonna lie, the first time I did it, I was going crazy and I was like, Man, that was so hard to even get nominated. I didn’t win the first time, so I was like, I’m gonna try equally hard and see if I can get back here. And by the grace of God, I’m back here again. You know, it just took a lot of hard work, a lot of putting my head down and making a lot of sacrifices.

What do you think has changed the most about the way you’ve approached making music since you were last nominated?

I think the growth point is truly the way I listen to music and the way I intake music. I’m learning to do that differently. I think the approach of creating is always the same for me, other than adding new elements, new sounds and whatnot. 

I feel like music is so different and it’s rapidly changing, so there’s a lot of adjustments. I feel like that’s the only thing that has really changed for me. I’ve been doing this for a long time; I feel like I’m kind of like a young veteran. Right now, there are a bunch of new kids growing up in this generation of music and their taste and style is totally different. I like to come left-field and do stuff unorthodox and different, so figuring out how to pivot and keep yourself relevant is what I’ve been doing.

The Daft Punk sample on that Drake and 21 Savage song "Circo Loco" feels like something the Boi-1da of 10 years ago wouldn’t have done.

Definitely. What I find today with a lot of music is people love extremely familiar samples over really straight-to-the-point beats. Not a lot of detail, something familiar, which is basically what we did with a song like "Circo Loco." The type of producer I am, I like to make beats; I’ll make one of five types of beats that sound the same, or use ideas that sound the same, and then I’ll move on.

That’s the way I’ve been able to stay relevant for so long, moving on from sounds. There have been many times where I’ve created sounds and it gets emulated and everybody starts doing it. You can be mad and sit there and be like, "Yo, everybody’s biting my style." I feel like I’m just that creative where I can move onto the next thing and be like "Okay, cool, you guys can have that. I’ll make something else."

It shows, because the three biggest songs you produced this year, "Heated," "Churchill Downs," and then "N95," those are wildly different poles in rap/R&B/pop music production. Were you and Drake already working on "Heated" when Beyoncé reached out?

Drake had been working with B; that was just an idea that we had started with Drake and he and B ended up finishing up the idea with me. I think Beyoncé added to the production as well.

I wasn’t around for the process of Beyoncé making that song, but I was heavily involved in the production. Whenever I work with Drake or someone like Beyoncé, it’s on easy mode. You have something they like, they usually know exactly what they want to do with it and you just trust ‘em completely. Sometimes, I’m hands off, I’m like, "Cool, y’all like it? Here you go. I know what you guys do and you guys do that."

The liner notes on a lot of your songs, like "I Got a Shot" off Jack’s album, that has a ton of people credited. Is there a level of ego sublimation with that where it’s like "You might not be able to hear my contributions in the final product, but I know that I did my part to get this song where it needs to go?"

[Jack Harlow] likes it to be a room full of producers. It’s like a band. We’d construct stuff and put it together. I have no ego when it comes to collaborating. I really just want the song to sound exactly how I want it to sound. If it takes 50 people to do that, then so be it. I’d rather it sounds the best that it can sound than like, "Oh, no, I’m getting lower publishing on this song."

It’s so fun to be in there with a bunch of people. You get that feeling of doing something and you see somebody else’s reaction and it just motivates you to be like, "Yeah, okay, I know what I’m doing." When I was younger, I’d sit in a room by myself and make music. That’s cool and all and I still do it, but it’s so much fun to be in a room of people with different energies. 

How did the "Churchill Downs" record come together?

When it comes to "Churchill Downs," I worked pretty closely with Jack. He and Drake are very good friends. Jack would always say, "Yo, I wanna do a song with Drake. Let’s make an idea." We were really and truly figuring it out. We were working in L.A. for some-odd weeks and I ended up going back home.

I went to a friend’s birthday party and he told me, "I’ve been working with this producer, I want you to hear some of his stuff." He gave me a flash drive…and it was full of samples. The first sample I heard was the one for "Churchill Downs." It sounded like a harp and a woman singing. I got home and chopped it up and did a little bounce to it and sent it over to my boy [TT] Audi, and he added some stuff to the beat and it was complete. 

I had sent it to Jack because he was still in the studio. He immediately fell in love with the beat. He played me his part in the song and said, "I really want Drake on this record." I was like, "S—, you’re homies with Drake, too. Just hit him. I’m pretty sure he’ll rock with this. It’s hard." They met up on their own and recorded that song together.

I was amazed looking back through stuff you were doing 10, 11 years ago that there were songs of yours that Kendrick was on back then. How has your creative relationship with Kendrick changed over the decade that you’ve known each other?

I’ve known Kendrick Lamar for a long time. I knew him actually before Good Kid, M.A.A.D. City. I had met him through one of my good friends who actually signed him.  Our relationship hasn’t changed. Kendrick is one of the coolest guys ever. Me and him always lock in and create music together. We have tons of music that we’ve made together and he’s just a great dude. 

Kendrick really makes folks wait and wants to come with something that feels totally different and distinct with each new body of work. What was the direction that he was trying to push on Mr. Morale, and what did you bring to it?

When it comes to me working with Kendrick, it’s really just raw ideas and raw thoughts. A lot of the time, I’m not sure where it’s going or what he’s gonna do with it because I’m not really around for the song recording process. I like to sometimes just give artists…their own creative space and free-flow and whatnot. That’s why he’s one of my favorite guys to work with, because you go in there and it’s like, "Alright, what are we doing?" 

I didn’t really know what was gonna happen with ["N95"] and where he was gonna go with it lyrically. I just recall me, Jahaan [Sweet] and Sounwave in there, we had cooked up the idea and I was like, "Man, this sounds really dope but I’m not sure where it’s going." 

I ended up hearing it right before the album came out. We had done that before the pandemic and the pandemic happened and nobody saw each other for the longest time…and he did what he did to it. It’s always fun working with Kendrick because it’s just raw, it’s literally everybody doing whatever they wanna do and it meshing together.

You’ve done a lot through collaborations with Splice and people like Jahaan Sweet and WondaGurl, who’ve come up as proteges of yours. Why is taking that active role in mentorship and demystifying the production process important to you?

I didn’t have a mentor. I didn’t have YouTube, I didn’t have tutorials, I had to figure out everything [on my own]. I lived in Durham, Ontario, there was absolutely nothing to do, nothing going on. There was no way of reaching out to artists or reaching out to producers. So it’s like, if I could be some kind of mentor or do anything for anybody, I do it because I never had it. I know how it feels to be not heard and have to fight, tooth and claw, to get to where you gotta get to.

The feeling of serving and giving back is always rewarding, more rewarding than getting, to be honest. Remember, I had nothing, I came from Canada. People didn’t know we made hip-hop music in Canada or take us seriously. I’d go to America and people would ask me if there were polar bears where I live. But that’s the reason why I do it and I love it and I still continue to do it. I give bursaries to the highest music marks of my high school. I just always stay in tune and check stuff out. I love music and I love being around it and inspiring as much as I can.

You gotta stay in tune with the young guys, that’s the future right there. You’ve gotta [be] tapped in with them, because at the end of the day, it’s like you’re making music for them.

You’ve been nominated for 19 GRAMMYs, that’s staggering. Does that ever stop feeling special for you and the people in your circle, like Drake and 40?

No, it always feels great to be nominated and even win awards, as well. It just goes to show that sometimes, everybody that’s a human being will get into their head, especially as a musician. Especially someone like myself who has been doing it for a really long time, you sometimes question if you’re still doing the right thing, if you’re still dope. So literally being nominated for awards is a great feeling and [one] that will never get old to me. It lets me know that I’m still doing stuff that people love and heading in the right direction. 

Is there anything else you want to mention about what you’re working on in 2023?

I’m working on a compilation album right now. It’s gonna be really dope, a lot of your favorite artists, a lot of new artists you’ve never heard of. A lot of dope music and I’m really excited to finish it and put it out. 

It’s been in the works for a while. I’ve started and stopped it a few times because I’m really a perfectionist and I want to get it right. I’m not caring about numbers, I want to make the best project. I want people to hear it and be like "Wow, this is amazing." I care more about that than anything, which is why I’ve started and stopped it so many times. Music changes and I really just want to get it perfect.

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