I think the Grammy’s best performance of the night came as a surprise early in the evening, thanks to DaBaby. “Rockstar” ft Roddy Ricch spent seven weeks at the top of the Billboard Hot 100 last year and went into this year’s Grammys with three nominations. The song’s almost a year old and he’s performed it so many times at this point that it was great to see him switch it up by adding a choir of voices to the track without completely changing the song we know and love (I hate when they perform an unrecognizable version). But let’s talk about that choir…
They all lined up behind him for the entire performance, giving it their all, and cracking us up.
The closeup camera shots of DaBaby with “Glenn Close” in the background are the best and naming them “DaBaby Boomers” really tickled me.
It was campy without being corny and I think that’s because these mature folks were so committed to their assignment. They were props in his background and we were supposed to laugh at them, assuming they’re representative of the supreme court justices or judges on some sort of higher court system in the U.S. where judges incarcerate Black Americans at 5x the rate of white Americans. On the red carpet DaBaby told the AP that when he gets a platform like the Grammys, he likes to add extra touches to a song to make sure it’s as impactful as possible, leading him to also write a third verse to the record written especially for the night:
“My skin don’t look the same so I get singled out. Right now I’m performing at the Grammys, I’ll probably get profiled before leaving out. Don’t be in denial like we all even out, you could be in the projects or a mansion, we all Black men when we leave the house.”
Later in the evening Lil Baby (unrelated) used his performance to honour Rayshard Brooks, who was shot dead by police in Lil Baby’s hometown of Atlanta last summer, after police responded to complaints that he was sleeping in his car outside of a Wendy’s drive-thru. Amid protests after Brooks’ death, the Wendy’s was burned down which was depicted in Lil Baby’s set. It was a really powerful performance which also include Kendrick Sampson, the actor from HBO’s Insecure, who was shot with runner bullets and beat with a baton during protests in Los Angeles in May 2020 and social justice leader Tamika Mallory, who demanded “justice, equity, policy, and everything else that freedom encompasses” from President Biden.
Love to see two guys with the most streamed songs of 2020 using this moment of promo for something more important.