And the winner is … Kendrick Lamar! The 30-year-old musician took home the Grammy for best rap album at Sunday’s ceremony for DAMN., beating out some of hip-hop’s biggest stars for the coveted honor.
“This is a special award because of rap music — this is the thing that got me on the stage. This got me to tour all around the world, support my family,” he said in his acceptance speech. “Most important, it showed me the true definition of what being an artist was.”
“From the jump, I thought it was about the accolades and the cars and the clothes, but it’s really about expressing yourself and putting that paint on the canvas for world to evolve — for the listener, the next generation after that,” he added. “Hip-hop has done that for me.”
The rapper concluded his speech with a shout-out to eight-time 2018 nominee JAY-Z, “Jay for president!” JAY-Z gave a standing ovation for Kendrick’s win.
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There was fierce competition this year. DAMN. beat out 4:44 (JAY-Z), Culture(Migos), Laila’s Wisdom (Rapsody) and Flower Boy (Tyler, the Creator).
The win is extra special for K-Dot fans who watched as the lyricist’s To Pimp a Butterfly was snubbed in the album of the year category in 2016. Afterward, fans (im)patiently waited for his follow-up project and were not disappointed when Lamar, 30, dropped the 14-track masterpiece last April.
“The initial goal was to make a hybrid of my first two commercial albums. That was our total focus, how to do that sonically, lyrically, through melody — and it came out exactly how I heard it in my head … It’s all pieces of me,” he told Rolling Stone last year.
“Going from To Pimp a Butterfly to DAMN., that s— could have crashed and burned if it wasn’t executed right,” he added.
The 60th annual Grammy Awards, hosted by James Corden, were broadcast live on CBS from Madison Square Garden in New York City.