Hip-hop rules at Grammys show, Adele falls flat

Tue Feb 16, 2016 9:08am EST
 
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By Jill Serjeant

(Reuters) - Hip-hop ruled the Grammys stage on Monday in performances that put racial tension back in the national spotlight and where some of music's biggest stars failed to deliver, or in the case of Rihanna, failed to show up at all.

Kendrick Lamar's "To Pimp a Butterfly" lost out on the coveted album of the year. But it was his passionate, politically charged performance of "The Blacker the Berry" and "Alright," featuring chained black men in a prison, and African tribal dancers, that quickly stole the show.

"I'm African-American, I'm African, I'm black as the moon, heritage of a small village, pardon my residence, came from the bottom of mankind," rapped Lamar, 28, who hails from Compton, California.

Lamar's performance ended with a backdrop of a large map of Africa with the name Compton written across it.

National Public Radio's Eric Deggans called it "A performance that woke up a sleepy #Grammys" and entertainment website E! Online tweeted that "Kendrick Lamar just SHUT. IT. DOWN. at the Grammys."

Lamar wasn't the only rapper making waves.

Broadway's sold-out musical "Hamilton" which mixes rap, jazz, ballads and casts black and Latino actors as the U.S. founding fathers, performed live from New York. The show won the best musical theater album award and its creator, Lin Manuel-Miranda, delivered his acceptance speech in rap.

"Kendrick then Lin Manuel serving nonstop back to back black and brown genius", tweeted Daniel Jose Older.   Continued...

 
Kendrick Lamar performs a medley of songs at the 58th Grammy Awards in Los Angeles, California February 15, 2016.  REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni