From 1989 to 2017, these were the most defining hip-hop Grammy moments.
The 60th Annual Grammy Awards, which is being held at Madison Square Garden, will air this Sunday, January 28th. Hip-hop artists absolutely dominated the nominations this year, which is a reflection of how big the genre has become. In 1989, the Grammys introduced the first hip-hop category, Best Rap Performance. DJ Jazzy Jeff and The Fresh Prince won the award, but the rappers boycotted the event because the ceremony wouldn't air the rap category. It was a time where critics were split. Several heavyweights believed rap to be a fad, while many others perceived the growth and potential within the genre as the next big thing. It took another decade before a rapper would win Album of the Year, and then another decade for the Academy to nominate the genre realistically. For almost 30 years, well-favored rock and pop songs took home the most coveted awards while rap records that were far more popular on the charts weren't even nominated.
SZA, Kendrick, Jay-Z, Khalid and Childish Gambino are set to change the game. This year's Grammy nods feature rappers heavily, while no solo white male rock artists were nominated in any of the ceremony's biggest categories. Jay leads all nominees with eight nods, Kendrick follows with seven nods, and SZA and Khalid are tied with five nods each. The Album of the Year category features three rappers pitted against Bruno Mars and Lorde. The Record of the Year category features the same three rappers, Jay, Gambino, and Kendrick. In the Song of the Year category, Logic is the only white male to be nominated, for his suicide awareness record "1-800-273-8255." He's up against Jay, Bruno, and the Luis Fonsi, Daddy Yankee and Justin Bieber for their “Despacito” collaboration.
As hip-hop became more popular, its artist started to define the Grammy ceremony. When Will Smith boycotted the ceremony, they didn't even want rappers on television. Fast forward to 2018, and now rappers are the stars of the show. Throughout the years, hip-hop has offered us some timeless moments for the culture during music's most important night. These are the top 15 most epic hip-hop moments in Grammy history.