Donald Glover won a trio of awards -- Record of the Year , Best Music Video and Song of the Year -- for “This Is America.” His absence was felt as his name was called three times and he wasn't there to receive the award. This is the first time a rap song has won Song of the Year and also the first time since 1989 that a living nominee wasn’t around to receive one of the major four awards.
Drake surprised folks when he actually showed to collect his Grammy gold for Best Rap Song . He spoke from the heart during his speech, but it seems like producers goofed when they cut him off during what was actually just a brief pause.
Cardi B won Best Rap Album for Invasion of Privacy , capping off an incredible 2018. She seemed genuinely overcome with emotion, breathlessly giving a speech showing her gratitude to her man, her baby and her collaborators. She's the first woman to win Best Rap Album as a solo artist. ( Lauryn Hill won as part of The Fugees in 1997.) It was Cardi's first time being nominated and first time winning. After the show, she posted a video giving a few more thank yous and dedicating her win to the late Mac Miller , who she said deserved to share the trophy.
- Best Comedy Album: Dave Chappelle ’s Equanimity & The Bird Revelation
- Best Gospel Performance/Song: “Never Alone” Tori Kelly featuring Kirk Franklin
- Best Gospel Album: Hiding Place by Tori Kelly
- Best Score Soundtrack for Visual Media: Black Panther
- Best Music Video: "This Is America" by Childish Gambino
- Best Rap Song: "God's Plan" by Drake
- Best R&B Album: H.E.R.
- Best R&B Song (Songwriters Award): "Boo'd Up" by Ella Mai
- Best Urban Contemporary Album: Everything Is Love by The Carters
- Best Rap Performance: TIE: "King's Dead" by Kendrick Lamar , Jay Rock , Future & James Blake and "Bubblin'" by Anderson Paak
- Best Rap/Sung Performance: This is America by Childish Gambino
- Best Rap Album: Invasion of Privacy by Cardi B
- Best New Artist: Dua Lipa
- Producer of the Year (Non-Classical): Pharrell
- Song of the Year: "This is America" by Childish Gambino
- Record of the Year: "This is America" by Childish Gambino
- Album of the Year: Kacey Musgraves
Ariana Grande , who won Best Pop Vocal Album for Sweetener during the pre-show, threw a fit on Twitter. She fired off a few angry tweets complaining that her ex, Mac Miller , lost after the Recording Academy invited his parents to the ceremony. She later clarified that she didn't have any issue with Cardi, she was just shocked that Mac didn't win.
Rap and R&B artists lost out in two major categories -- Best New Artist and Album of the Year. It's a shame considering the Recording Academy changed rules to allow for more nominees in hopes of guaranteeing a more diverse selection.
Here are some other highlights:
- Young Thug joined Camila Cabello , Ricky Martin , and J Balvin for a colorful version of “Havana.”
- Janelle Monae crushed it with an amazing, Prince-inspired medley of tracks off Dirty Computer.
- Post Malone and Red Hot Chili Peppers played back-to-back performances, with Posty starting off mellow before running through his half of “Rockstar.” 21 Savage obviously wasn’t there, given his current immigration status, and Post didn’t acknowledge or shout him out, aside from letting 21’s ad-lib play at the end of the song.
- Cardi performed “Money” and even though she only did one song, it was everything — dramatic, sexy and full of life. Her look gave off Disney villainess vibes and her moves had her husband Offset’s tongue wagging in the crowd.
- The usually energetic Travis Scott had a so-so performance, where he performed inside a 20-foot cage, with dancers moshing around outside and climbing up the walls.
- J-Lo anchored a Motown tribute that was more awkward than anything else. The performance was pretty clearly lip-synced, and led to a lot of questions on social media about whether Lopez was really the right choice.
- Diana Ross redeemed things for Motown with a moving medley of her greatest hits, surrounded by family members like Tracee Ellis-Ross . At one point, she handed the microphone to Jaden Smith .
- Donald Glover wasn't the only artist who stayed home. Kendrick Lamar and Future weren't there for TDE's win for Best Rap Performance . At least Jay Rock was there to represent for the squad.
- Alicia Keys kept a steady energy as host, keeping things positive throughout by heaping praise on presenters and performers, and making time for some playful interactions with the crowd.