27 Jan 2014
- Written by Stephen A. Crockett Jr./The Root
This year's 56th annual Grammy awards were 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 non-verbal futuristic machines. To the biggest head-scratcher of them all, a Compton-raised rapper who had arguably one of the best rap albums in the last decade being completely shut out of the awards show.
While Kendrick Lamar and Imagine Dragons killed on stage 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 wining 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 had been an indicator that it was going to be Macklemore & Ryan Lewis' night as 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 frontrunner and sure-money bet was on rapper, Jay Z, who led the field with nine nominations, although none were in 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 "Holy Grail" and 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 (their daughter) Blue, 'Look — Daddy got a gold sippy cup.'"
Kendrick 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 huge Twitter firestorm.
Lamar wasn't alone in his all-star level snubbing. Canadian rapper Drake, who had been nominated for five awards, also went home empty handed and Taylor Swift, who had been up for four awards, saw none go her way.
Justin Timberlake won three awards, including best R&B song for "Pusher Love Girl."
17-year-old New Zealander, Lorde, won for song of the year for "Royals," and took home another honor for best pop solo performance.
French duo Daft Punk won four awards including album of the year for "Random Access Memories" and record of the year for "Get Lucky," their infectious dance anthem that features the vocal styling of Pharrell Williams (who won four awards including producer of the year.) And that is a good thing considering that Daft Punk hide their identities behind storm trooper-esque robot suits, which meant Pharrell, had to speak for them during their acceptance speech for record of the year.
"On behalf of the robots ... " he said then noted, "Of course they want to thank their families."
But the real winner of the night might have been Pharrell's park-ranger-meets Canadian-Mountie hat that looked like he had borrowed it from the set of "Alice in Wonderland." Pharrell's hat has its on Twitter account, which as of press time has over 12,000 followers.