The 56th annual Grammy Awards – which aired Sunday, Jan. 26 – saw the usual amount of drama, as well as a fair amount of shocking wins. Many were surprised to see Macklemore and Ryan Lewis pick up several trophies in the rap category, winning Best Rap Performance, Best Rap Song and Best Rap Album. Additionally, the duo’s Best New Artist victory was even more bewildering for some fans, many of whom claimed they have been listening to Macklemore for more than a decade. The (somewhat muddled) official parameters for the award state that the artist must have just released “the first recording which establishes the public identity of the artist.”
Immediately after the show, Macklemore issued an apology to Kendrick Lamar via text message, which was widely circulated online after the Seattle rapper shared it on Instagram. Many expected Lamar to win Best Rap Album for his 2012 effort “good kid, m.A.A.d. city,” and Macklemore clearly agreed, writing, “You got robbed. I wanted you to win.” In this act of sportsmanship – a somewhat atypical move in the realm of hip-hop – Macklemore shocked fans by seemingly conceding the recognition he has been working toward for many years. Yet, some felt differently. By publicizing the exchange on social media, they argued, it appeared that Macklemore was attempting to call attention to himself, rather than to express any sincere condolences.
Another big winner of the show was 17-year-old New Zealand native Lorde, who picked up Song of the Year and Best Pop Solo Performance for “Royals” (2013). Her performance of the anti-consumerist song was accompanied by black and white visuals of stone angels. This caused some to mock the singer-songwriter on Twitter, saying the presentation made her look like a witch. However, despite the ridicule, Lorde’s heartfelt delivery helped to solidify her reputation as a young artist who – with her blas? attitude – has broken the mold for pop stars.