The 2018 Grammy Awards was a night of triumphs and a series of WTF just happened moments. I want to discuss five performances of the night that broke that internet and had black Twitter buzzing! Now, these performances will not be reviewed in the order as they happened, but rather the order in which I remembered them in.
The night opened with a performance or as he put it, a satire by Kendrick Lamar. Constructing a medley of several songs from his DAMN album including XXX and DNA, Kendrick proved that a Hip Hop performance could have a strong political message and still be visually captivating and entertaining. He let the cries of the need for justice and the dismantlement of certain political systems be heard. Dave Chapple took the stage between a couple songs to poke fun at the tension in the air that Kendrick had created. I thought that this was a pretty interesting move. I loved that the audience was left feeling “uncomfortable” and Chapple certainly did a good job narrating the social consciousness that was happening right in front of their eyes. However, by adding humor to the situation, some of the audience members (who the message applied to) I felt were being let off the hook.
DJ Khalid has been WINING these past couple of years and the release of Wild Thoughts added yet another win to his resume. THERE WAS A LOT GOING ON in this performance. It was like Khalid placed us right in the middle of a movie set and said ACTION. The choreography was at the center of attention and not so much the artists. We saw Rihanna, DJ Khalid, and Bryson Tiller strategically moving in and out of the spotlight as they became lost behind the dancers and extras. I have to say, I usually am not a fan of Rihanna performances, but she did her thing on this one. I have never seen Rihanna dance that much in one song! Was it the best? No, but she looked like she was having fun and that energy transferred throughout the screen. Bryson barely made any impact at all for he became a little bit TOO lost on stage. Overall the Wild Thoughts performance was fun. Honestly, even though the performance did indeed belong to DJ Khalid, I felt that he could’ve been saved. We did not need a hype man screaming out randomness every five seconds.
My favorite performance of the night came from Childish Gambino. Can you say FUNK! Can you say, SOUL! Sometimes all you need is that homegrown soul, a band, and a microphone to put on a great performance and Gambino did just that. Singing his song Terrified, Gambino gave us a show that was reminiscent of Prince, Marvin Gaye and had sprinkles of P Funk. The whole set was an outer space psychedelic vibe. He gave you screeching high notes that you could feel in your gut. Just as the album version of the song is arranged, child singer JD McCrary aka baby Tevin Campbell grabbed a mic and took it on home. This was an amazing moment.
After being cheated out of all of her Grammy nominations, SZA still took the Grammy stage to perform Broken Clocks. Firstly, congratulations to SZA for even being nominated not alone performing at the Grammys on her first album. People have their various opinions on SZA’s performance. I have seen SZA perform live once before so I knew what to expect. She doesn’t really give you a whole lot and her shows do not have a strict routine. She sort of just vibes to the music and that’s what she did at the Grammys. I think she needs to work on her breath control while performing live. The performance saw her a little winded at some parts which had an effect on her pitch. I am very glad that she decided to perform Broken Clocks instead of the super popular song The Weekend. That song gave her a reputation for being a spokesperson for “side chicks” and her album as a whole is more than that.
Lastly, let’s talk about the most anticipated performance of the night, Bruno Mars and Cardi B performing Finesse. Bruno Mars knows how to put on a great show so the bar was already set high. He took us back to the late 80s and early 90s New Jack Swing era. You know, that Teddy Riley or that Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis R&B funk. Baggy clothes and cross colors set the theme as Bruno vibrantly danced his heart out on stage. Cardi B who made her Grammy debut as well, gave exciting infectious energy while opening and closing the performance. I did notice that the audience was sitting down on her towards the beginning. You did eventually start seeing people standing up and clapping including Beyoncé who was in the front row. By the time the performance concluded, everyone was on their feet. It was a feel good and fun Grammy moment. Lately, I have been thinking about Bruno Mars’ career. How long do you think Bruno will be able to keep this 90s gig up? It is working heavily in his favor right now but do we really need another 90s inspired album by him? He may have to pull out something completely different on his next go around.
The 2018 Grammys featured more performances than the ones discussed here. What were some of your favorite or least favorite moments of the night?