meta-scriptSongbook: How Mariah Carey Became The Songbird Supreme, From Her Unmistakable Range To Genre-Melding Prowess |
Mariah Carey Songbook hero
(L-R) Mariah Carey at the 2006 GRAMMYs, at the 1991 GRAMMYs, at the 2008 GRAMMY Nominations Concert, at the 2018 American Music Awards.

Photos (L-R): Kevin Winter; Jim Smeal/Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images; Jewel Samad/AFP via Getty Images; David Crotty/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images


Songbook: How Mariah Carey Became The Songbird Supreme, From Her Unmistakable Range To Genre-Melding Prowess

On the 25th anniversary of Mariah Carey's career-redefining 'Butterfly,' digs into every album and song that made her the unofficial Queen of Christmas and the pop queen of her generation.

GRAMMYs/Sep 16, 2022 - 04:01 pm

Mariah Carey's personal favorite title might be "Queen of Christmas," but she has plenty more to her name: Five-time GRAMMY winner, Songwriters Hall of Fame inductee, record-breaking chart-topper, and bonafide superstar — among many more.

The five-octave vocalist almost instantly became a household name upon her debut with 1990's "Vision of Love," which marked her first No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100. Carey has since landed an astounding 19 atop the chart (only one behind the record-holding Beatles), and sold more than 200 million albums worldwide.

But Carey's long list of achievements didn't come without hard work. The Long Island native spread herself thin between waitressing, beauty school and singing backup for Brenda K. Starr, all the while penning her own music with hopes of making it as an artist herself. Then, with the help of Starr, Carey's demo tape ended up in the hands of music mogul Tommy Mottola and the rest, as they say, is history. 

After starting out her illustrious career with five multi-platinum albums in a row — including her smash holiday album Merry Christmas — Carey decided that a new musical direction was long overdue. And with that, on Sept. 16, 1997, Carey released her self-proclaimed magnum opus: Butterfly.

With contributions from Diddy, Q-Tip, Bone Thugs-n-Harmony, and Dru Hill, Butterfly leaned heavily toward R&B and hip-hop compared to Carey's previous works. While a couple of tracks allude to Carey and Mottola's deteriorating marriage, at its core, Butterfly is a coming-of-age story through the lens of a young woman who is finding her voice, becoming more independent, and enjoying her newfound liberation.

In fact, Carey loves Butterfly so much, she's releasing eight bonus tracks on Sept. 16 to commemorate the anniversary. is also getting in on the celebration, revisiting the hits, trailblazing remixes, holiday tunes, and musical risks that made the Songbird Supreme one of the most imitated vocalists and influential artists — and why her catalog remains a blueprint.

Listen to's official Songbook: An Essential Guide To Mariah Carey playlist on Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Music, and Pandora. Playlist powered by GRAMMY U.

The Impressive Start

Swiftly amassing a string of No. 1 and top 10 hits, including "Vision of Love," "Can't Let Go," and "Dreamlover," Mariah Carey was on the fast track to becoming one of the top-selling artists of the '90s before the age of 25.

Released in 1990, Carey's eponymous debut studio album spawned an impressive four Hot 100 chart-toppers: "Vision of Love," "Love Takes Time," "Someday," and "I Don't Wanna Cry." Carey's five-octave range and signature whistle register made the then 20-year-old an instant success. But her producing and songwriting chops — unbeknownst to many at the time — set her apart from fellow divas Whitney Houston and Celine Dion.

To capitalize off the success of her debut album, Carey churned out her second studio effort, Emotions, a few months after earning her first two GRAMMY Awards in 1991. (She took home Best New Artist and Best Pop Vocal Performance, Female for "Vision Of Love.") For Emotions, Carey enlisted C+C Music Factory's Robert Clivillés and the late David Cole for the LP's uptempo tunes, including "Make It Happen," as well as the lesser-known tracks "You're So Cold" and "To Be Around You."

The title track became Carey's fifth No. 1 single. With this feat, she's the only artist to have her first five singles soar to the top of the Hot 100.

In 1993, following two multi-platinum albums and a flawless MTV Unplugged performance, Carey welcomed the biggest blockbuster success of her three-decade career: Music Box. Sonically, the LP remains the most pop-leaning of Carey's discography, with the exception of gospel-infused "Anytime You Need a Friend," the album's final single. Perhaps most prominently, Music Box birthed "Hero," one of Carey's signature songs that even the most casual fans can probably recite word for word.

The R&B Period

While Butterfly is cited as Carey's transition from mostly pop music to R&B and hip-hop, 1995's Daydream was her first venture in those worlds thanks to collaborations with Boyz II Men ("One Sweet Day") and Jermaine Dupri ("Always Be My Baby"). "Underneath the Stars" pays homage to Minnie Ripperton, while "Long Ago" echoes Zapp & Roger's "More Bounce to the Ounce" bassline.

Daydream is also notable for kicking off Carey's long-standing tradition of autobiographical album closers. "She smiles through a thousand tears," Carey laments in the second verse of "Looking In," her most personal song at the time. The song served as an important shift for Carey, as it detailed her feelings of unhappiness and "adolescent fears" — despite having a highly successful music career — and showed a deeper side of the singer's songwriting abilities. 

Ahead of Butterfly's 25th anniversary, Carey wrote on Instagram that it's her "favorite and probably most personal album." Butterfly's lead single "Honey" and final single "My All" earned Carey two more No. 1s, but the true highlights are within the deep cuts and other singles. Despite receiving little promotion, "The Roof (Back in Time)" and "Breakdown" quickly emerged as fan favorites. 

Along with a more mature sound, Carey presented a sexier image, as evidenced in the James Bond-themed music video for "Honey" that takes the album's empowerment theme a step further. She did that lyrically as well with the Missy Elliott co-written track "Babydoll," which contains some of Carey's most sensual lyrics.

As the singer noted herself, Butterfly is also deeply personal. Carey recently shared that the album represented a "pivotal moment" in her life following her separation from Mottola, whom she divorced in 1998. She reportedly once stated that she penned the title track "wishing that that's what [Tommy Mottola] would say to me," and "Close My Eyes" intertwines the stories of Carey's tumultuous childhood with her strained marriage. What's more, Butterfly's closing track, "Outside," chronicles her struggles growing up as a biracial person.

Carey continued her foray into more urban musical styles on 1999's Rainbow. She joined forces with Jay-Z for the first time on lead single "Heartbreaker," which also received a high-energy remix with Elliott and Da Brat that featured an interpolation of Snoop Dogg's "Ain't No Fun (If the Homies Can't Have None)" — further displaying her hip-hop sensibility. 

Rainbow, of course, closed with a diaristic song — the gushing "Thank God I Found You," inspired by Carey's then-relationship with Latin star Luis Miguel — but she also sprinkled super-personal tales throughout the album. Ballads like "Can't Take That Away (Mariah's Theme)" and "Petals" offered fans an even deeper glimpse into Carey's personal life.

The (Semi) Forgotten Years

Carey ushered in a new decade by making her big-screen debut in the 2001 movie Glitter. The accompanying soundtrack paid tribute to the '80s, including the Cameo-sampling "Loverboy" and covers of Cherelle's "I Didn't Mean to Turn You On" and Indeep's "Last Night a DJ Saved My Life."

At the time, Glitter marked her lowest first-week sales, despite showing artistic growth. Carey eventually got #JusticeForGlitter, though, as the 12-track LP is hailed as a gem among Carey's most loyal fans — thanks to classic, yet overlooked ballads like "Never Too Far" and "Reflections (Care Enough)." (A #JusticeForGlitter campaign even sparked on social media in 2018, helping the album top the iTunes album chart 17 years after its release.) 

In addition to Glitter's rather disappointing release, Carey was dealing with her own personal struggles: In July 2001, the singer was hospitalized for exhaustion, and in July 2002, she lost her father to cancer. She chronicled those hardships in 2002's Charmbracelet. "And if you keep falling down, don't you dare give in," she sings on opener "Through the Rain."

That same resilience and vulnerability can be heard in "My Saving Grace" and "Sunflowers for Alfred Roy," the latter of which is named after Carey's father. Elsewhere, Carey flexes her ability to excel in any genre, experimenting with jazz ("Subtle Invitation") and hard rock (a cover of Def Leppard's "Bringin' On the Heartbreak").

The Comeback

After two back-to-back underperforming albums with Glitter and Charmbracelet, it became easy for critics to write off Carey — that is, until the spring of 2005, when The Emancipation of Mimi arrived.

Following a moderate hit in lead single "It's Like That," second single "We Belong Together" proved that Mariah Carey the Chart Queen was back. Not only did the ballad spend 14 consecutive weeks at the No. 1 spot, but it was later crowned the "Song of the Decade" by Billboard

But Carey's reign didn't end there. Follow-up singles "Don't Forget About Us" and "Shake It Off" skyrocketed to No. 1 and No. 2, respectively. The album also earned her three more GRAMMYs at the 2006 GRAMMY Awards: Best Contemporary R&B Album, as well as Best R&B Song and Best Female R&B Vocal Performance for "We Belong Together." (She earned 10 nominations total in 2006 and 2007.)

The success continued with 2008's E=MC² and 2009's Memoirs of an Imperfect Angel, which spawned another No. 1 ("Touch My Body" from E=MC²) and a top 10 hit ("Obsessed" from Memoirs). The albums contain some of Carey's most carefree material ("I'm That Chick"), as well as vivid storytelling ("Betcha Gon' Know (The Prologue)") and a taste of her sense of humor ("Up Out My Face").

In the 2010s, as music streaming continued to disrupt the industry, Carey once again proved her staying power, earning two top 5 albums — 2014's Me. I Am Mariah… The Elusive Chanteuse and 2018's Caution — and a top 20 hit with "#Beautiful," featuring then-rising R&B star Miguel.

The Remixes And Rarities

Carey is so dedicated to the art of the remix that she put out a double-disc project, The Remixes, in 2003. But she displayed her remix mastery nearly 10 years before that release, with the Bad Boy version of the Daydream hit "Fantasy" in 1995. When the late ODB growls, "Me and Mariah go back like babies with pacifiers" over a thumping Tom Tom Club-sampling bassline, Carey showed there were no boundaries to her music.

Over the decades, Carey has also teamed up with legendary DJs Shep Pettibone and David Morales for club versions of some of her biggest hits, including 1990's "Someday" and 1993's "Dreamlover." When it comes to her best hip-hop reimaginings, standouts include "Thank God I Found You" (Make It Last Remix), "Always Be My Baby" (Mr. Dupri Mix), and "I Still Believe/Pure Imagination" (Damizza Remix), the latter of which features a genius Willy Wonka interpolation and is a true testament to Carey's artistry.

As for B-sides, longtime fans treasure Music Box's "Do You Think of Me" and "Everything Fades Away" and "Slipping Away" from the Daydream sessions. In 2020, they were treated to The Rarities, a double-disc collection consisting of more B-sides and unreleased material collected throughout the decades, including a heartfelt cover of Irene Cara's "Out Here on My Own" and the original mix of "Loverboy," both recorded during the Glitter era.

The Christmas Magic

Fresh off the success of her first headlining tour, Carey was at her commercial peak when she tried her hand at Christmas music in the second half of 1994.

As expected, the now-iconic Merry Christmas is packed with festive classics like "Silent Night," "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)," and "Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town." But it's the original "All I Want For Christmas Is You" that emerged as a new holiday standard. And that holds true even more than 25 years after its release: In December 2021, the song became the first to top the Hot 100 four chart years in a row — 2019, 2020, 2021 and 2022 (it held the top spot on the Jan. 1-dated chart).

Carey released Merry Christmas II You, an aptly titled sequel to Merry Christmas, in 2010. The album includes underrated singles "When Christmas Comes" (which was re-released as a duet with John Legend in 2011) and "Oh Santa!," which she performed alongside Ariana Grande and Jennifer Hudson during her star-studded 2020 Christmas special on Apple TV+.

The timeless success of "All I Want For Christmas Is You" earned Carey the unofficial title of "Queen of Christmas," but her extensive catalog and artistic versatility prove she's an icon outside of her holiday throne. Mariah Carey melded genres, influenced a generation of vocalists, and became the first artist with No. 1 singles across four decades — solidifying a legacy as the true Songbird Supreme.

How Many GRAMMYs Has Britney Spears Won? 10 Questions About The "Hold Me Closer" Singer Answered

BMC's Recording Academy Honors 2024 Mariah Carey
Mariah Carey accepts the Global Impact Award during the Recording Academy Honors presented by the Black Music Collective

Photo: ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images


Here's What Happened At The Black Music Collective’s Recording Academy Honors 2024 GRAMMY Event Celebrating Mariah Carey & Lenny Kravitz

The power of staying true to yourself was at the center of the 2024 GRAMMY Week event. Honorees Mariah Carey and Lenny Kravitz were lauded by colleagues and performers, including Stevie Wonder, Quavo, Babyface and Andra Day.

GRAMMYs/Feb 3, 2024 - 08:34 pm

On a wet but buzzing Thursday evening ahead of the 2024 GRAMMYs, leading lights in the music industry gathered for the third annual Recording Academy Honors Presented By The Black Music Collective. Along the event's black carpet, stars and industry insiders were showing out — taking photos, reconnecting with friends and collaborators, and chatting with the press. 

The official 2024 GRAMMY Week event was held Feb. 1 — the first day of Black History Month — at the Fairmont Century Plaza in Los Angeles and was sponsored by Amazon Music and City National Bank. Each year, BMC presents its Global Impact Award to legendary musicians advancing the culture, and 2024’s honorees Lenny Kravitz and Mariah Carey, loomed over the entire evening before they'd even arrived.

Flava Flav, sporting his patented clock necklace, was also hyped about the evening. "It means everything to be at the GRAMMYs tonight. This is big," Flav told The rapper then spoke about the two transcendent stars being honored. "I feel real big about the honorees. Mariah Carey, always been proud of her and I love her songs…Lenny Kravitz is my dude. That’s my man. So congratulations Lenny!" 

The significance of the event was felt from the first foot set on the black carpet. Afrobeats star Fireboy DML weighed in on the importance of the night. "I’m honored. It feels good. It’s always important to be in spaces like this," Fireboy told, adding that he's excited about his upcoming fourth album. "It’s important for the culture." 

As attendees inside the jam-packed ballroom room eagerly awaited the main guests of the night, Recording Academy CEO Harvey Mason Jr. spoke about the momentum being built through Black Music Collective. 

"[Last year] I spoke how great it was to be holding the second annual BMC event. To me it meant we established a new tradition. And now the tradition proudly continues," Mason Jr. told the audience, emphasizing how the influence of Black culture can be found in all corners of the world and across musical genres. 

A performance by Nigerian superstar Davido, a first-time GRAMMY nominee, spoke to the power of musical diversity in the Academy and BMC. Although the crowd had sat down with their appetizers, many stood up to vibe out as Davido performed his nominated song, "Unavailable."

By the time Andra Day, adorned in a bright red leather coat, got to the end of her rendition of "Strange Fruit" with support from trumpeter Keyon Harrold, everyone in the ballroom was on their feet. It was a great moment for Day, whose cover of Billie Holiday’s 1939 cry for justice hammered home the connection between Black artists across different genres and across time.

Gabby Samone garnered the second standing ovation of the night for her take on Nina Simone’s "Four Women." Simone has had a number of major cosigns as her star has grown brighter, and her fans include Jennifer Hudson and none other than Mariah Carey. Samone's performance was followed by a powerful song from Erica Campbell, whose I Love You is nominated for Best Gospel Album this year.

A set from DJ Mannie Fresh, Kravitz took the stage to receive the first BMC Global Impact Award of the night. Introduced by mentee H.E.R, she talked about "American Woman’s" genre-bending influence on her own career and Kravitz's own influence from childhood. "The fashion, the confidence, the badass walk, and the killer vocals made me at six years old say to my dad ‘I wanna play guitar.’ ‘I wanna be a rockstar.’ ‘I wanna be like Lenny Kravitz,’" H.E.R. said. 

She then listed off some of Kravitz’s other accomplishments including working on "Rustin," the new Netflix film about critical civil rights architect Bayard Rustin, as well as Kravitz’s work in philanthropy through his Let Love Rule Foundation. 

Once the din died down, Kravitz took a trip back to childhood, too. He shared how, when he went to go see the Jackson 5 with his family, and was so hooked that he dreamed of becoming part of the storied troupe. "I fantasized that I was their long lost brother and turned the Jackson 5 into the Jackson 6," he said.

Kravitz also spoke the various genres of music that helped mold him, drawn from many different corners. From his "grandfather’s block in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn," where he "witnessed the birth of hip-hop," to being shaped by legends like Jimi Hendrix, Marvin Gaye and Nina Simone. He also shouted out his godmother, the late great actress Cicely Tyson. 

In a particularly cool mashup of genre and generation, Quavo provided vocals to "Fly Away," flanked by P-funk all star George Clinton, Earth, Wind & Fire bassist Verdine White, and Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Chad Smith. At the end of the performance, Kravitz went over to each performer and hugged them.

After a brief intermission, record producer and BMC Chair Rico Love shouted out leadership, including the Recording Academy board of trustees and Ryan Butler, Vice President of DEI. Love spoke about Black Music Collective as a space where everyone can feel at home. "The life of a creator is so hard. And lonely. That’s why it’s valuable to build community," he emphasized. 

Black Music Collective’s scholarship program, in collaboration with Amazon Music, Love said, will once again support HBCU students who aspire to be in the next generation of music industry power players. In 2023, scholarships were awarded to students at Florida A&M University, Texas Southern University, Norfolk State University, among others. Love recalls the mentors he had when he was coming up and is glad BMC is also paying it forward. 

Last night’s program found one of the few people on the planet that even Mariah Carey might be star struck by. Before the pop legend received her Global Impact Award, Stevie Wonder appeared and sat down over a keyboard. 

"Very excited to be here to celebrate someone that has been a friend and I’ve been a fan of since the very beginning of hearing her voice," he said, before serenading Carey with "I Just Called to Say I Love You," ending the rendition with "I love you, I love you, you are my hero."

Mariah Carey was seemingly surprised and star-struck herself. Once she overcame the awe, Carey detailed the pressure she faced early in her career to avoid leaning into Black music. "When I first started in the music business, I was often told to ‘conform’ to certain expectations. I was not encouraged to focus on my love for Black music," she told the crowd.

Later, some of Carey’s other friends and collaborators performed, including Babyface, who once sang backing vocals on Carey’s "Melt Away." (Carey then returned the favor by singing on "Every Time I Close My Eyes.") Another Carey collaborator, Busta Rhymes, performed crowd favorite "I Know What You Want" and offered sincere thanks to Carey for her boldness and desire to "run with the wolves." Tori Kelly also sang "Vision of Love" during this segment and earlier in the night, gospel legend Yolanda Adams performed "Make It Happen." The third annual Recording Academy Honors/BMC event certainly did make it happen, as attendees flooded out of the ballroom and into the streets pumped with pride.

2024 GRAMMYs: See The Full Nominees And Winners List

Head to all year long to watch all the GRAMMY performances, acceptance speeches, the GRAMMY Live From The Red Carpet livestream special, the full Premiere Ceremony livestream, and even more exclusive, never-before-seen content from the 2024 GRAMMYs.

Mariah Carey
Mariah Carey

Photo courtesy of Mariah Carey


Mariah Carey To Receive Global Impact Award At Recording Academy Honors Presented By The Black Music Collective

The third annual GRAMMY Week event will take place on Thursday, Feb. 1, 2024, at the Fairmount Century Plaza.

GRAMMYs/Jan 31, 2024 - 08:00 pm

Mariah Carey might be a winner of five golden gramophones, and a nominee for 34 — but her recognition by the Recording Academy doesn't stop there.

The global pop icon has been announced as one of this year's Recording Academy Global Impact Award Honorees. Carey will be honored with the Recording Academy Global Impact Award, a CEO Merit Award that recognizes Black music creators whose dedication to the art form has greatly influenced the industry and whose legacy of service inspires countless individuals worldwide, celebrating those who, through leadership and passion, empower others to embrace their authentic selves and contribute to positive change.

Carey is the second of three Recording Academy Global Impact Award Honorees to be announced. Just yesterday, four-time GRAMMY Award winner Lenny Kravitz was unveiled as the first 2024 Recording Academy Global Impact Award Honoree; one more honoree will be announced on Thurs, Feb. 1, 2024.

Music executive and renowned photographer Lenny S will curate the Icons Gallery at the event, a captivating art activation paying tribute to generations of influential Black music icons. 

Adam Blackstone will return for the third consecutive year as music supervisor of the Black Music Collective event. MVD Inc will also return for the third consecutive year to produce the event.

The third annual Recording Academy Honors, sponsored by Amazon Music and City National Bank, will take place just days before Music's Biggest Night, with Amazon Music returning as a sponsor for a third consecutive year.

Live from Arena in Los Angeles and hosted by Trevor Noah, Music's Biggest Night will be broadcast live on Sun, Feb. 4, 2024, at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT on the CBS Television Network and will be available to stream live and on demand on Paramount+.

Prior to the Telecast, the GRAMMY Awards Premiere Ceremony will be broadcast live from the Peacock Theater at 12:30 p.m. PT and will be streamed live on

The 66th Annual GRAMMY Awards will be produced by Fulwell 73 Productions for the Recording Academy for the fourth consecutive year. Ben Winston, Raj Kapoor and Jesse Collins are executive producers.

Keep checking this space for all things Mariah Carey and the 2024 GRAMMYs!

2024 GRAMMY Nominations: See The Full Nominees List

Lenny Kravtiz To Receive Global Impact Award
Lenny Kravitz


Lenny Kravitz To Receive Global Impact Award At The Recording Academy Honors Presented By The Black Music Collective Event During GRAMMY Week 2024

The Global Impact Award will celebrate Lenny Kravitz's personal and professional achievements in the music industry. The third annual GRAMMY Week event will be held at the Fairmont Century Plaza on Thursday, Feb. 1.

GRAMMYs/Jan 30, 2024 - 08:48 pm

Ahead of the 2024 GRAMMYs, four-time GRAMMY-winning artist Lenny Kravitz will receive the Recording Academy Global Impact Award at the third annual Recording Academy Honors Presented By The Black Music Collective, an official GRAMMY Week 2024 event taking place Thursday, Feb. 1, at the Fairmont Century Plaza in Los Angeles. The event is sponsored by Amazon Music and City National Bank. Kravitz is the first of three Recording Academy Global Impact Award Honorees; additional honorees will be announced ahead of the event.

The Global Impact Award is a CEO Merit Award that recognizes Black music creators whose dedication to the art form has greatly influenced the industry. Honorees are lauded for their inspirational legacy of service and celebrated for the myriad ways recipients' leadership and passion has empowered others to embrace authenticity and contribute to positive change.

The 2023 recipients of the Recording Academy Global Impact Award were GRAMMY Award-winning artists Dr. Dre, Missy Elliott, Lil Wayne, and legendary music executive Sylvia Rhone.

MVD Inc will also return for the third consecutive year to produce the event and The Black Music Collective event will once again feature GRAMMY nominee Adam Blackstone as the musical supervisor of the evening. Music executive and renowned photographer Lenny S will curate the Icons Gallery at the event, a captivating art activation paying tribute to generations of influential Black music icons.

How To Watch The 2024 GRAMMYs Live: GRAMMY Nominations, Performers, Air Date, Red Carpet, Streaming Channel & More

Kendrick Lamar GRAMMY Rewind Hero
Kendrick Lamar

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.

GRAMMYs/Oct 13, 2023 - 06:01 pm

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."

Looking for more GRAMMYs news? The 2024 GRAMMY nominations are here!

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.

"Hip-hop. Ice Cube. This is for hip-hop," he said. "This is for Snoop Dogg, Doggystyle. This is for Illmatic, this is for Nas. We will live forever. Believe that."

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." 

Lamar has since won Best Rap Album two more times, taking home the golden gramophone in 2018 for his blockbuster LP DAMN., and in 2023 for his bold fifth album, Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers.

Watch Lamar's full acceptance speech above, and check back at every Friday for more GRAMMY Rewind episodes. 

10 Essential Facts To Know About GRAMMY-Winning Rapper J. Cole