This year’s 56th Annual Grammy Awards show was filled with head-scratchers, from Pharrell’s hat to a mass wedding officiated by Queen Latifiah to robots winning best album and song and then being unable to deliver an acceptance speech because they are nonverbal futuristic machines. The biggest head-scratcher of them all was a Compton, Calif.-raised rapper, who arguably had one of the best rap albums in the last decade, being completely shut out of the awards.
While Kendrick Lamar and Imagine Dragons killed onstage with a mashup of their songs “m.A.A.d. city” and “Radioactive,” it was another rapper who would clean house in the rap category.
Macklemore & Lewis would sweep virtually all rap categories, winning four Grammys and beating out a who’s who of top rappers. Jay Z, Drake, Eminem, Kendrick Lamar and Kanye West proved to be light work for the Seattle-based indie-rap duo as they won best rap album (The Heist,) best rap song (“Thrift Shop”) and best rap performance (“Thrift Shop”).
In fact, the first award of the broadcast show was an indicator that it was going to be Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’ night, since the duo was given the new-artist honor, beating out country singer Kacey Musgraves (who won for best country album), British singer Ed Sheeran, English dubstep artist James Blake and Lamar.
“First and foremost, I want to thank our fans, the people that got on us on this stage,” rapper Macklemore, whose real name is Ben Haggerty, said in accepting with producer Lewis. “Before there was any media, before there was any buzz … it spread organically through them, and without them, there would be no us.”
Later, during Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’ performance of “Same Love,” Queen Latifah, who had been deputized by Los Angeles County, along with Madonna, officiated a marriage ceremony for 33 gay and straight couples.
Going into Sunday night’s ceremony, the front-runner and sure-money bet was on rapper Jay Z, who led the field with nine nominations, although none were in the top categories of record, song or album of the year, and in the end Jigga left with one award for his collaboration with Justin Timberlake for Magna Carta Holy Grail. He may have won viewers over with his speech that made clear the significance of the award in his household.
“I want to thank God for this award,” he said, “but I also want to thank him mostly for putting this beautiful light of young lady in my life. I also want to tell [my daughter] Blue, ‘Look—Daddy got a gold sippy cup.’ “
Lamar, whose album good kid, m.A.A.d city was lauded by critics as one of the best albums of the year, was nominated for seven awards, but Lamar would be shut out of them all, causing a Twitter firestorm.