Frank Ocean, Drake & Others Broaden R&B/Rap Horizons at 2013 Grammys
Last night's 55th Annual Grammy Awards was an overall win for the R&B and rap genres, especially R&B. The wins of the night were true to what ruled hip-hop and R&B in 2012: emotion. From Drake's Best Rap Album victory for his sophomore album, "Take Care," to Frank Ocean's Best Urban Contemporary Album win for "channel ORANGE," the Grammys praised those who took risks in creating genre-bending work while staying true to themselves.
Miguel and Usher won Grammys for the best R&B songs of 2012: "Adorn" and "Climax." Yeah, Miguel does have some ways to go in the fame department, considering his own RCA labelmate, Kelly Clarkson, didn't know who the singer-songwriter was, but the genre's progress is undeniable and has a much more lively presence with these soulful singers are winning at an award show the caliber of the Grammys. Robert Glasper won his first Grammy -- Best R&B Album -- for his fifth studio album, "Black Radio."
Frank Ocean makes fearless moves with passion fueling him, defying radio conventions and conveying deep vulnerability. The singer-songwriter -- who just two years ago was shelved by his own label, Island Def Jam -- closed the Grammys with a courageous performance of "Forrest Gump" where he croons to his lover, a man that ran out of him life: "Forrest Gump, you run my mind boy/ Running on my mind, Forrest Gump / Forrest green, forrest blues/ I'm remembering you/ This is love, I know it's true/ I won't forget you." He rightfully so took home the first award for the newly created category intended for artists that incorporate contemporary elements to R&B.
With a glass of bubbly in his right hand, Drake toasted to his win for Best Rap Album while on the red carpet. "Take Care," which has sold over two million copies worldwide, showcases the rapper at his best: dousing emotional verses about his life with great melodies, unafraid of being judged.
Rap wouldn't be rap if not for some bragging, more than welcomed when intertwined with introspection. Jay-Z -- who performed alongside Justin Timberlake for "Suit & Tie" -- sipped some D'USSÉ from one of his three Grammy awards. Hov', with Kanye West (who did not attend), won for for Best Rap Performance and Rap Song (for "Ni--as in Paris") and Best Rap/Sung Collaboration (for "No Church in the Wild," alongside of Frank Ocean and The-Dream).
The Carters took another win when Beyoncé won Best Traditional R&B Performance for "Love on Top." The win is proof of the strength of Bey's reign. "Love on Top" was a single off Bey's 2011 album "4." Bey's win comes at the heel of wooing millions of viewers at Super Bowl XLVII, alongside Jennifer Hudson, Alicia Keys and the rest of Destiny's Child.
R&B and rap's momentum will only continue, if not pick up speed, in 2013. This year brings solo efforts by Beyoncé, Justin Timberlake, Kanye West and Drake.
"I think that with 'Take Care' I really found myself, found my stride. And I'm excited to continue on with the new album... titled 'Nothing Was the Same.' I'm just excited about life in general," Drake told E! News, while smiling from ear to ear.