There was no hip hop hooray Sunday night.
Bruno Mars won the Grammy for album of the year with “24K Magic,” squelching hopes that an album by a hip-hop artist would win the Recording Academy’s top prize for a third time.
Lauryn Hill’s “The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill” won the album of the year Grammy in 1999, and Outkast’s “Speakerboxxx/The Love Below” won in 2004.
Mars was up against “Awaken, My Love!” by Childish Gambino, “4:44” by JAY-Z, “DAMN.” by Kendrick Lamar and “Melodrama” by Lorde for album of the year.
The race was closely watched as it marked one of the few times in the 60-year history of the Grammys there were no white males nominated in the category.
There was an audible reaction, seemingly of surprise, from the audience when Mars was announced as the winner. Twitter was equally vocal.
“Bruno Mars imma let you finish, but Gambino Kendrick and Jay Z made some of the best albums IN HISTORY #GRAMMYs,” one person tweeted.
Bruno Mars imma let you finish, but Gambino Kendrick and Jay Z made some of the best albums IN HISTORY #GRAMMYs
— ♠ Saiene ♠ (@IgorSaiene) January 29, 2018
HAHAHAH BRUNO MARS WON ALBUM OF THE YEAR OVER DONALD, KENDRICK, AND JAY I HATE EVERYTHING
— alex tan (@jalexandertan) January 29, 2018
Much of the upset seemed to be centered on the fact that Lamar has yet to win album of the year, despite his numerous critically acclaimed projects.
They keep sleeping on Kendrick Lamar for Album of the Year. No disrespect to Bruno Mars but DAMN should’ve won. #GRAMMYs
— Reuben Hernandez (@reuben81691) January 29, 2018
Kendrick put out three of the greatest albums of our lifetime, and three times now he has lost the Grammy for Best Album. First to Daft Punk, then to Taylor Swift, and now to Bruno Mars.
— Aléx Young (@AlexYoung) January 29, 2018
The Grammys has long been criticized for lagging behind popular culture in its recognition of hip hop. The best rap album category wasn’t even created until 1995.
While Mars is a person of color (the Hawaiian native is of Puerto Rican and Filipino descent), there has also been the issue of some fans feeling like artists of color, especially rappers like Lamar, have not been given their just due by Grammy voters.
In 2014, an Instagram post of white rapper Macklemore’s text apologizing to Lamar for winning best rap album went viral.
Macklemore wrote to Lamar, “You got robbed.”
My text to Kendrick after the show. He deserved best rap album… I'm honored and completely blown away to win anything much less 4 Grammys. But in that category, he should have won IMO. And that's taking nothing away from The Heist. Just giving GKMC it's proper respect.. With that being said, thank you to the fans. You're the reason we were on that stage tonight. And to play Same Love on that platform was a career highlight. The greatest honor of all. That's what this is about. Progress and art. Thank you. #grammys
“He deserved best rap album,” Macklemore wrote in the caption accompanying a picture of his text. “I’m honored and completely blown away to win anything much less 4 Grammys. But in that category, he should have won [in my opinion].”