Tyler, the Creator is a Grammy winner. That might not seem like that biggest moment from a night where an 18-year-old swept each of the major awards categories and Billy Porter turned the red carpet into the 1893 World’s Fair, but it undeniably meant something.
The Grammys — which, partially due to Kobe Bryant’s tragic and sudden death just hours earlier, spent close to zero seconds of the night addressing the controversial firing of its first female CEO Deborah Dugan — have long steered away from disruption. But on Sunday night, they gave the spotlight to a disruptor, and he had a true, bonafide, superstar moment.
Tyler, who has gone from a cockroach-eating shock artist to a “threat to public order” to a prank show host to an LGBTQ+ ambassador to finally, a formidable production genius and fully realized auteur, got to have his night on Sunday.
The 28-year-old danced like a maniac on stage — accompanied by Boyz II Men, Charlie Wilson and of course, a silk-white bowl-cut whig. He won a Grammy award (his first ever) for best rap album. He sweetly welcomed his mom on stage to thank her for raising him so well. And finally, he told the Grammys how meaningless they are.
“It sucks that whenever we — and I mean guys that look like me — do anything that’s genre-bending or that’s anything they always put it in a rap or urban category. I don’t like that ‘urban’ word — it’s just a politically correct way to say the n-word to me,” he said after the ceremony.
Plenty of stuff happened at the 62nd Grammy Awards (some of it was even important!), but Tyler’s moment felt like something different. At the most optimistic, it was a victory lap for an artist who has defined so much of fashion, humor, music and culture for an entire decade (and will continue to for years — whether or not it’s because of an awards ceremony).
“Alright, I don’t know if I’m ever gonna be up here again, so bear with me,” Tyler said at the start of his acceptance speech. Maybe he’s right about that part — but Sunday night, he was there.
The *also* most important
This is the part where we talk about the other stuff that mattered this week. Basically, the stuff that mattered a lot, but maybe just not as much as the other stuff above, which mattered more than this stuff. This stuff still matters a lot though. Makes sense?
Billie Eilish was really not trying to win another Grammy: Being 18 is honestly stressful enough. Add five Grammy awards and a record-breaking night as the youngest album of the year winner of all time, and suddenly studying for your AP Physics exam probably doesn’t seem so bad by comparison.
Eilish was caught on camera mouthing “please don’t be me” just before her 4th victory of the night — and who can blame her? It’s a high pressure situation for anyone, let alone a teenager. Also like most teens, she really just wanted Ariana Grande to win.
Bad Bunny wrote the song we all need right now: It would be both insane and impossible to recap the countless ways in which Kobe Bryant’s career shaped the trajectory of hip-hop lyrics, or the numerous, heart-wrenching tributes that poured in from musicians following his death. There can — and should be plenty of time for that in the next several months, so let’s keep this simple.
On Monday, Bad Bunny released what is likely the first Kobe tribute song to arrive after his death. The track, called “6 Rings,” isn’t just a touching send-off to a figure that meant so much to the Puerto Rican rapper, it’s also a testament to No. 24’s legacy. “6 Rings,” which is sung in Spanish, is evidence that Kobe was an international, if not universal, figure.
Big bops, new tunes
This part, which will be the part after the part above it, is the part where we talk about some music — music that will definitely always be important music. Whether it’s a rising artist, a new album or a *vibe-appropriate* playlist, this is the part where those things will appear.
Waxahatchee is really up to something: Katie Crutchfield took more than 30 months to work up the sequel to her critically adored breakout, Out in the Storm. Now the indie rock powerhouse is back, with a new album — Saint Cloud, arriving March 27 — and an impressively sincere new single, “Fire.”
Social media flex of the week
This part — the last part — is the part where we look at one social media moment that made the music world a little more interesting this week.
This week, that moment is Ezra Koenig, rocking this “Millennial dad just dropping into Trader Joe’s for a small bag of shishito peppers” fit on his way to a Grammy for best alternative album of the year.