Last year, Nipsey Hussle’s debut album Victory Lap was nominated for Best Rap Album. Since his death last March he was nominated for three more, and on Sunday he won Best Rap Performance for “Racks in the Middle.” A tribute to the late rapper was one of the most emotional moments of the night.
Meek Mill opened the set with a touching verse remembering Nipsey’s legacy: “I just left your viewing at the Staples Center / Obama wrote you a letter, yeah you made it nigga,” he rapped before Roddy Ricch sang an emotional hook. “Long live Nipsey Hussle,” DJ Khaled screamed before launching into “Higher,” a collaboration with John Legend released months after the rapper’s death, adding a verse from YG. Kirk Franklin tied up the performance, conducting a choir dressed in all-white, reminiscent of Puff Daddy’s tribute to Biggie in 1997. What would already be a gripping performance feels even heavier after the news of Kobe Bryant’s death announced hours before the show.
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