Grammys 2023: Rap Awards and a tribute to hip-hop’s 50th anniversary

Since 1995, special awards for rap have been presented at deu Grammys. Kendrick Lamar won the awards for “Best Rap Album”, “Best Rap Song” and “Best Rap Performance” this year. His 2022 album MR MORALE AND THE BIG STEPPERS is the third of his albums to win Best Rap Album. In 2016 he received this honor for TO PIMP A BUTTERFLY and in 2018 for DAMN. He received the other two awards for the single “The Heart Part 5”, which was also released in 2022.

In his speech, Lamar thanked his family for having the courage to be vulnerable and “the culture” for allowing him to grow and bring something unique to hip-hop. Also during the February 5 show, producer and rapper Dr. Dre named after him “Dr. Dre Global Impact Award”, which was presented for the first time this year.

A special ceremony for black music

On February 2nd, the “Black Music Collective”, an organization founded in 2020 within the Recording Academy, which organizes and awards the prizes annually, organized a Grammy pre-show at which black artists were explicitly honored.

A Global Impact Award was also presented there, which, in addition to Dr. Dre also received Lil Wayne, Missy Elliott and music executive Sylvia Rhone. During her long career, the latter worked in artist management for a number of labels and, among other things, helped Missy Elliott to achieve her big breakthrough. Since 2019 she has been the Chair of Epic Records. The February 2nd show was accompanied by a series of performances honoring the honorees. Their songs have been featured by other greats such as Snoop Dogg, Busta Rhymes, Tyga and 2 Chainz.

50 years of hip hop

Hip-hop was also honored separately at the awards ceremony, organized by the entire Recording Academy, on February 5. The art movement will be 50 years old in 2023. 1973 is the official year of birth, as that was the year Kool DJ Herc threw a couple of block parties in the Bronx, where so-called Masters of Ceremony (MCs) rhymed and talked to looped break beats for the first time to heat up the assembled crowd.

To mark the anniversary, The Roots drummer and producer Questlove has curated a tribute performance where the greats shook hands and miced. It featured Black Thought, Rakim, Public Enemy, Queen Latifah, Methodman, Big Boi, Busta Rhymes, Missy Elliott, Nelly, Jadakiss, Lil Baby, Lil Uzi Vert, and GloRilla, among others.

dr Dre said in his acceptance speech for the award that day, “Where would I be without hip-hop? Honestly, where would many people be without hip hop? He saved my life, he was a life preserver for a Compton kid.”

However, it also became clear during the show that music and culture are insufficient life preservers when the socio-economy sets the rhythm of life. At the annual “in memoriam” segment, Migos rapper Quavo, among others, commemorated his cousin and Migos co-founder Takeoff, who tragically died in 2022. He performed the song “Without You” dedicated to him.

Hip hop at the Grammys

In recent years, the Grammys’ relationship with hip-hop, rap and associated artists has often been criticized. One of the defining moments for this review occurred in 2014 when Macklemore and Ryan Lewis’ THE HEIST took home the award for Best Rap Album, while Kendrick Lamar’s GOOD KID, MAAD CITY was also nominated. The winner himself shared the media misunderstanding that followed. He then published a screenshot of a message that he had sent to Lamar that same evening, telling Lamar that he should have won. In more recent years, however, the Recording Academy has done some things to give hip-hop the space and honor that many fans and artists feel it deserves.