Drake wins rap song Grammy, Child­ish Gam­bino makes his­tory

Daily Times (Primos, PA) - - ENTERTAINMENT - By Mesfin Fekadu

LOS AN­GE­LES >> Drake sur­prised the mu­sic world Sun­day when he emerged on the Grammy stage to ac­cept the best rap song trophy but told the room of mu­si­cians that win­ning awards isn’t nec­es­sary if you have real fans at­tend­ing your con­certs and singing your songs.

Drake, who rarely at­tends awards shows, won the honor for his mas­sive hit “God’s Plan.”

“You’ve al­ready won if you have peo­ple who are singing your songs word for word, if you’re a hero in your home­town. Look, if there are peo­ple who have reg­u­lar jobs who are com­ing out in the rain and the snow, spend­ing their hard­earned money to buy tick­ets to come to your shows, you don’t need this right here. I prom­ise you. You al­ready won,” he said at the Sta­ples Cen­ter in Los An­ge­les.

He tried to con­tinue speak­ing but was cut off as the cer­e­mony sud­denly went to a com­mer­cial.

Rap has en­dured a long­time los­ing streak at the Gram­mys. The last time a rap­per won al­bum of the year was in 2004, with Outkast. Only a hand­ful of rap­pers have won best new artist.

Drake has a chance to be­come the first rap­per to win record of the year later in the show. Child­ish Gam­bino made his­tory when his track “This is Amer­ica” be­came the first rap­based song to win song of the year. Gam­bino has won three awards so far, in­clud­ing best mu­sic video and best rap/sung per­for­mance.

The Gram­mys kicked off with a group of pow­er­ful women, in­clud­ing Michelle Obama and Lady Gaga, de­scrib­ing the role of mu­sic in their lives — a dis­play that came a year after fe­male voices were some­what muted at the 2018 cer­e­mony.

“Mu­sic has al­ways helped me tell my story,” said Obama, who sur­prised the au­di­ence with her ap­pear­ance. “Whether we like coun­try or rap or rock, mu­sic helps us share our­selves. It al­lows us to hear one an­other.”

Gaga told the crowd: “They said I was weird, that my look, that my choices, that my sound wouldn’t work. But mu­sic told me not to lis­ten to them.”

Jada Pin­kett Smith and Jen­nifer Lopez also spoke and stood in sol­idary with Obama, Gaga and Ali­cia Keys, who is host­ing the show air­ing on CBS.

“Yes, ladies,” Keys said. “There’s noth­ing bet­ter than this.”

The open­ing con­trasted with last year’s Gram­mys, where male acts dom­i­nated in nom­i­na­tions and the only wo­man com­pet­ing for the top award, Lorde, didn’t get a chance to per­form on­stage.

But this year, Gaga, Brandi Carlile and Kacey Mus­graves won three Gram­mys each.

Carlile took three hon­ors in the Amer­i­cana cat­e­gory and will com­pete for the three big­gest awards dur­ing the live show: al­bum, song and record of the year.

Gaga also won three, in­clud­ing best pop duo/group per­for­mance, a win she shared with Bradley Cooper.

Gaga, now a nine-time Grammy win­ner, won best pop solo per­for­mance for “Joanne,” while hit “Shal­low,” from “A Star is Born,” was named best song writ­ten for vis­ual me­dia. The song is nom­i­nated for an Os­car and also won at the Golden Globes, the Crit­ics’ Choice Movie Awards and the Satel­lite Awards.

Women have a strong pres­ence in the top cat­e­gories. Five of the eight al­bum-of-the-year nom­i­nees are women, in­clud­ing Carlile’s “By the Way, I For­give You,” Janelle Monae’s “Dirty Com­puter,” Cardi B’s “In­va­sion of Pri­vacy,” Mus­graves’ “Golden Hour,” and H.E.R.’s self-ti­tled al­bum are also in con­tention.

Six of the best-new-artist nom­i­nees are women, in­clud­ing H.E.R., Chloe x Halle, Margo Price, Dua Lipa, Bebe Rexha and Jorja Smith.

When asked about the lack of women in the top cat­e­gories at the 2018 Gram­mys, Record­ing Academy CEO Neil Port­now said women need to “step up.” He later ac­knowl­edged that it was a “poor choice of words,” and his much­crit­i­cized re­marks forced the academy to launch a new task force fo­cused on in­clu­sion and di­ver­sity.

Mus­graves picked up best coun­try al­bum for “Golden Hour,” best coun­try solo per­for­mance for “But­ter­flies” and best coun­try song for “Space Cow­boy.”

“I never dreamed that this record would be met with such love,” she said on­stage.

She also gave a shout-out to her hus­band in the au­di­ence, say­ing she wouldn’t have been able to make the al­bum if he “didn’t open my heart like you did.”

Mus­graves per­formed “Rain­bow” from “Golden Hour” dur­ing the show, and hit the stage for a sec­ond time to honor Dolly Par­ton. Mus­graves and Katy Perry joined forces for “Here You Come Again,” later joined by Par­ton her­self. The icon sang a duet ver­sion of “Jo­lene” with Mi­ley Cyrus, who of­ten cov­ers the clas­sic song. But the coun­try mu­sic icon truly shined when she sang “Red Shoes,” with coun­try four­some Lit­tle Big Town pro­vid­ing back­ground vo­cals.

Diana Ross earned a stand­ing ova­tion when she emerged on­stage in a bright red dress to per­form “Reach Out and Touch (Some­body’s Hand)” and “The Best Years of My Life.” She cel­e­brated her 75th birthday early with the per­for­mance, say­ing af­ter­ward, “Happy birthday to me!” Her ac­tual birthday is March 26.

PHO­TOS BY MATT SAYLES — INVISION — AP

Drake ac­cepts the award for best rap song for “God’s Plan” at the 61st an­nual Grammy Awards on Sun­day in Los An­ge­les.

Katy Perry, from left, Dolly Par­ton and Kacey Mus­graves per­form “Here You Come Again” at the 61st an­nual Grammy Awards on Sun­day in Los An­ge­les.

Lady Gaga re­acts be­fore ac­cept­ing the award for best pop duo or group per­for­mance for “Shal­low” at the 61st an­nual Grammy Awards on Sun­day in Los An­ge­les.

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