Host James Corden said on the red carpet before the show that viewers could expect “the most unique and bold opening you could ever imagine.”
The screen flashed “This is a satire by Kendrick Lamar” before Dave Chappelle appeared. “Hi, I’m Dave Chappelle,” the comedian said. “And I just wanted to remind the audience that the only thing more frightening than watching a black man be honest in America is being an honest black man in America. Sorry for the interruption.”
A dramatic sequence followed, with Lamar’s dancers dressed in red, each figuratively shot down by the Blow My High rapper.
Many celebrities and fans took to Twitter to discuss Lamar’s powerful performance.
kendrick lamar is a national treasure.
— el-p (@therealelp) January 29, 2018
TWO WORDS… KENDRICK LAMAR
— Normani (@NormaniKordei) January 29, 2018
— Ellen DeGeneres (@TheEllenShow) January 29, 2018
— Amber Tamblyn (@ambertamblyn) January 29, 2018
Omg, the k dot performance on the grammy' s 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥💯💣💣💣💣
— Ronald J Harvey (@ronaldharveyjr) January 29, 2018
KENDRICK LAMAR LADIES AND GENTLEMEN!!!!
— Cyn Santana (@Cyn_Santana) January 29, 2018
This Kendrick Lamar opening performance is already one for the ages, holy shit. #GRAMMYs
— Elaine L. (@LaineyGossip) January 29, 2018
READ MORE: Grammy Awards 2018: Complete winners list
Lamar was nominated for seven awards this year.
He won best rap album for DAMN. and best rap/sung performance for Loyalty, with Rihanna.
At the end, Lamar closed with: “Jay for president.”
In the pre-telecast, Lamar won best rap song, best rap performance and best music video for HUMBLE.
Lamar won five Grammy awards, bringing his lifetime total to 11.
Best Rap/Sung Performance
Kendrick Lamar ft. Rihanna – LOYALTY.
— Globalnews.ca (@globalnews) January 29, 2018
— Geeks of Color (@GeeksOfColor) January 28, 2018
Lamar has delivered outstanding performances on the Grammy stage before. He stunned in 2016 with a medley from his celebrated album To Pimp a Butterfly. He performed The Blacker the Berry as he led what looked like a chain gang, his band members performing from jail cells. He finished with the rallying Alright, standing in front of a map of Africa emblazoned with the word Compton.
Lamar also shared the Grammy stage with Imagine Dragons in 2014.
— layton fishburn (@FishburnLayton) January 29, 2018
Watch part of Lamar’s performance in the video above.
—With files from the Associated Press