Rap­pers, women had a big night

61st an­nual Grammy Awards

The Times-Tribune - - FRONT PAGE - BY MESFIN FEKADU

LOS AN­GE­LES — Women re­turned at the Gram­mys on Sun­day as fe­male acts won al­bum of the year and best new artist, while rap also tri­umphed, with Child­ish Gam­bino’s “This Is Amer­ica” be­com­ing the first rap-based song to win record and song of the year.

Kacey Mus­graves’ “Golden Hour” picked up al­bum of the year, and Dua Lipa won best new artist.

“I don’t even know what to say,” Mus­graves said. “I am very thank­ful. Win­ning doesn’t make my al­bum any bet­ter than any­body else in that cat­e­gory.”

Gam­bino was the night’s big win­ner, pick­ing up four hon­ors, in­clud­ing best mu­sic video and best rap/sung per­for­mance.

Drake sur­prised the mu­sic world when he emerged on 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 hard-earned 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.

Cardi B made his­tory as the first solo fe­male to win best rap al­bum (Lau­ryn Hill won as a mem­ber of the Fugees at the 1997 Gram­mys).

She was shak­ing on­stage as she tried to give a thankyou speech with her rap­per­hus­band Off­set hold­ing her arm.

“The nerves are so bad. Maybe I need to start smok­ing weed,” she said as the au­di­ence laughed. “I just want to say thank you every­body that was in­volved ... I want to thank my daugh­ter.”

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 sol­i­dar­ity 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.

MATT SAYLES / IN­VI­SION VIA AP

Kacey Mus­graves ac­cepts the award for best coun­try al­bum for “Golden Hour” Sun­day at the 61st an­nual Grammy Awards in Los An­ge­les.

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