"Did you realize that you are a champion in their eyes . . ."
-- "Champion" from Graduation
I'm quite sure that for Kanye West, music's biggest night left him with a bittersweet aftertaste. After three consecutive years of being nominated in the Album of the Year category, the super-producer was once again shut out of winning the coveted prize at Sunday's 50th Annual Grammy Awards. But don't feel bad for 'Ye, he won four trophies for the night, including Best Rap Album for his great LP, Graduation.
Like Usher said before Quincy Jones announced the winner for the Album of the Year honor -- "There are no losers, Kanye."
People are in shock that veteran pianist Herbie Hancock won the trophy for his Jazz LP River: The Joni Letters. But the real shock here is that Herbie's win was also only the second such honor for a jazz album in the Grammys 50-year history. Damn! So rather than give the award to the odds-on favorite, the Grammy voters decided to play catch up and correct a 43-year miscue of not honoring a jazz album.
But aside from that, I think Herbie deserves the prize. I have listened to Herbie's River: The Joni Letters, a tribute disc to singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell, and it's a wonderful collection. There are some great performances on the set by Corinne Bailey Rae and Tina Turner. And of course, the instrumentation, musicanship and production on the disc is top notch. In comparison, Herbie's River: The Joni Rivers is like a jazz version of Santana's Supernatural CD, and that disc won Album of the Year at the 2000 Grammys.
And I cannot forget about Kanye's glow-in-the-dark rendition of "Stronger" backed by Daft Punk -- simply an outstanding performance. The glasses were hot, the suit jacket was hot and his haircut with "MAMA" etched into his head was, ah, well,
over the top metrosexual. 'Ye's emotional performance of "Hey Mama," his tribute to his late mother Dr. Donde West, brought tears to my eyes as 'Ye sang to his beloved matriarch. Go, Kanye!
Best Rap Solo Performance: "Stronger"
Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group: "Southside" (with Common)
Best Rap Song: "Good Life" (Featuring T-Pain)
Best Rap Album: Graduation
To check out the complete list of Grammy winners, click HERE.