Nearly a year after his death, the 2020 Grammy Awards honored the memory of late rapper Nipsey Hussle. On Sunday, January 26, artists Kirk Franklin, DJ Khaled, John Legend, Meek Mill, Roddy Ricch and YG paid tribute to their fallen friend on the Grammys stage. The artists were joined by a whole stage of performers as well as video clips of Nipsey himself rapping along. At the end of the performance, Khaled gave a special shout-out not only to the rapper, but also to Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna Bryant, who passed away on the morning of the awards show.
The Grammys announced the memorial performance ahead of the show. “An activist, entrepreneur and rapper, Nipsey Hussle had a lasting impact on not just his community, but also the culture at large,” Ken Ehrlich, an executive producer for the awards show, said in a press release. “There is no denying the influence he had and his legacy will be felt for generations to come. We are honored to bring together this amazing group of artists to celebrate Nipsey’s life and pay tribute to his many contributions to music.”
In addition to the tribute, the rapper was also awarded two posthumous nominations for his work — and he snagged the Grammy for both of them. “Racks in the Middle” was also nominated for Best Rap Song, though Nipsey himself isn’t one of the credited writers.
During the show, the rapper’s song “Racks in the Middle” with Roddy Ricch & Hit-Boy was named as the Best Rap Performance, and “Higher” with DJ Khaled and John Legend won Best Rap/Sung Performance. As the other two artists accepted the award for “Higher,” they made sure to thank their late friend.
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Back in March 2019, the renowned artist passed away at age 33 after he was shot in Los Angeles. Since then, his loved ones have already honored his memory in some stunning ways. Lauren London memorialized her late boyfriend with a tattoo in April 2019 that featured the message “God will rise” as well as his face. “Real love never dies,” she wrote on Instagram. “When you see me, you will always see him.”
Sister Samantha Smith also got a tattoo featuring her brother’s face. “To my brother who is the key to life, to my brother [whose] strength is unmatched, to my brother who is honorable, to my brother who keeps his word, to my brother who puts integrity before anything, to my brother who is the color of love,” she captioned the photo she shared on Instagram. “Forever your baby sister/60th Street Samantha,” she finished. “I love you beyond what love entails.”
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