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NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 15: Music director Alex Lacamoire and Actor, composer Lin-Manuel Miranda celebrate on stage during "Hamilton" GRAMMY performance for The 58th GRAMMY Awards at Richard Rodgers Theater on February 15, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images)
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Round Of Applause: 9 Grammy Moments That Brought Us To Our Feet

We're talking moments to die for. 

For better or worse, the 58th annual Grammy Awards was the talk of the town on Monday night (Feb. 15). The award show, often heralded as the biggest night in music, paid much deserved homage to some of music's most groundbreaking artists, if only for a brief moment.

READ: Lyrical Genius Lin-Manuel Miranda Meets Rap God Eminem

Lionel Richie received a star-studded tribute led by John Legend. Fallen icons like B.B. King, David Bowie and Maurice White of Earth, Wind, & Fire were eulogized on stage by top-tier musicians who loved and adored them. And Queen of Salsa, the late Celia Cruz, finally received a Lifetime Achievement Award.

READ: 10 Standout Latinos Who Raised The Bar In 2015

Among the plethora of unforgettable moments that occurred live at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, were scenes that moved us to our feet with sheer excitement and emotional sway. Check 'em out and let us know – did we miss any?
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Ricky Martin celebrated his Grammy win on the red carpet
The red carpet was full of stars like Selena Gomez, Diplo and Demi Lovato. However, during the red carpet festivities, other artists like Ricky Martin, Ruban Blades and Pitbull celebrated with gusto their Grammy wins. The Recording Academy announced the first round of winners of the night of categories that do not get aired on the live telecast. Martin took home the Grammy for Best Latin Pop Album for his recent body of work A Quien Quiera Escuchar. Meanwhile, Pitbull claimed his first Grammy after he tied with Natalia Lafourcade's Hasta La Raiz in winning Best Latin Rock, Urban or Alternative Album for his 2015 album Dale.

ASAP Yams' mother graced the red carpet alongside A$AP Rocky
Instead of rocking a fly model on his arm, A$AP Rocky decided to bring the late A$AP Yams' mother Tatianna Paulino to the show. Pretty Boy Flako introduced Paulino to Shad Moss and the masses on the red carpet. She even got to partake in the artist interviews where said she exclaimed she was excited to see The Weeknd perform.

Lin-Manuel Miranda brought Hamilton to the Grammy stage
Lin-Manuel Miranda and the cast of Hamilton brought their critically acclaimed show to the Grammy stage. During their live broadcast from the Richard Rodgers Theatre in New York City, Miranda led the cast in one of the show's memorable numbers. Soon after their spectacular performance, Miranda and the cast accepted the Grammy for Best Musical Theater Album. Seriously, how dope us that?! The Puerto Rican star of the Broadway show stunned audiences around the world by, again, rapping his acceptance speech. !Wepa!

Kendrick Lamar stole the show with his unapologetic imagery
Not only did Kendrick Lamar finally get the recognition he deserved this year, but he totally owned the Grammy stage with his iconic performance of songs off his Grammy award-winning album To Pimp A Butterfly. The Compton lyricist started off his performance in chains and donning an inmate uniform, and was later followed by a radiant African ensemble.

Tori Kelly crystalized her place in music with her Grammy debut
It's been an amazing, breakthrough year for Tori Kelly. The songstress, who is of Jamaican and Puerto Rican descent, made her Grammy debut in the best way possible with a nomination for Best New Artist and a joint performance with fellow new artist James Bay. Both singers hit the stage for a mash-up of their respective singles “Hollow” and “Let It Go." Judging by the roar of cheers from the audience, Kelly's first Grammy appearance will not be her last.

Demi Lovato paid homage to Lionel Richie
Since stepping back into the limelight, Demi Lovato has proven herself worthy of superstardom, and now even in the eyes of Lionel Richie. The former Disney actress joined John Legend, Luke Bryan and Tyrese Gibson in a touching tribute to the OG "Hello" singer. As she poured her heart and soul into her performance, Richie gave Lovato his approval from his seat before joining her and the rest of the all-star group on stage to complete the tribute. She even made hubby Wilmer Valderrama cry! 

Celia Cruz was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award
Queen of Salsa and Cuba's cherished diva Celia Cruz was honored with the highly coveted Lifetime Achievement Award. Although the well-deserved recognition was short-lived (read: two seconds on the presentation screen), Cruz's family had another reason to celebrate the life of the iconic musician, who previously claimed three Grammy Awards and four Latin Grammy Awards during her extensive career. Cruz joined the likes of Run DMC, Ruth Brown, Earth, Wind & Fire, Herbie Hancock, and Jefferson Airplane who were all honored with the award.

Miguel acknowledged the 35th anniversary of Michael Jackson's first Grammy win
Miguel took the opportunity to recognize an important accolade in the late Michael Jackson's legendary career. The "Waves" singer delivered his rendition of Jackson's "She's Out of My Life" along with Greg Phillinganes, who was the song's original keyboardist. Not only did he acknowledge Jackson's historical Grammy moment, Miguel also extended homage to Spike Lee for the upcoming release of his Off the Wall documentary, due out later this year.

Pitbull celebrated his first Grammy win with Sofia Vergara on stage
Random? Maybe. But Mr. Worldwide still solidified his grand moment in Grammy history with an unforgettable performance. The Miami representer closed out the grand event by performing his radio smash hit "El Taxi" and his new single "Bad Man" with the help of Travis Barker, Joe Perry and Robin Thicke. During his vibrant act, Pitbull spit his lyric in which he references Sofia Vergara, and brought the actress out on stage. Vergara shed her cardboard taxicab getup and revealed a sparkly gold outfit before busting out some hot moves.

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Window display at Harmony Music Shop, a record store in New York City, New York, possibly located in the Bronx, 1980. (Photo via Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images).
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10 Classic Vinyls To Add To Your Collection For National Record Store Day

Record Store Day is often used to collect new or limited edition vinyl, but why not go against the grain and do a deep dive?

Saturday (April 13) is a day of events for music lovers, especially those fascinated with the crackles and pops of an enjoyable vinyl. As record stores bring out their best pieces, Sonos has done the same with their vinyl set ($799 USD) that includes a Play:5 and a Pro-Ject Essential III Phono. The innovative setup allows you to use their helpful app to play the records (if you're trying to live in the future).

 

But you can't have a setup without records. Beastie Boys, NWA, Eminem and Outkast all have must-have albums to add to your collection, but there are many others that deserve a spin.

Enjoy these picks and make sure you add them to your collection today.

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Diana Ross, Everything Is Everything (1970) Donna Summer, Donna Summer on The Radio Greatest Hits Vol. 1 & 2 (1979) J.Cole, KOD (2018) Childish Gambino, Awaken My Love! Virtual Reality Vinyl (2017) Miriam Makeba, The Voice Of Africa (1964) Nipsey Hussle, Victory Lap (2LP Vinyl) (2018) Flying Lotus, Captian Murphy's Duality (2012)

Editor's Note: Flying Lotus' alter ego project is extremely hard to find so save your coins for when it comes your way.

Prince and the Revolution, Purple Rain (1984) Jay-Z, 4:44 (2017)

Editor's Note: Okay, we know officially the album isn't on vinyl, so be wary of bootleggers. This is also a gentle reminder for Mr. Carter to drop his critically acclaimed album on wax! 

J.I.D., The Never Story (2018)

Learn more about Sonos' vinyl set here.

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Nipsey Hussle performs onstage at the STAPLES Center Concert Sponsored by SPRITE during the 2018 BET Experience on June 23, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Ser Baffo/Getty Images for BET)

The Marathon Continues: Nipsey Hussle's 10 Best Songs

On March 31, the world mourned the loss of rapper, activist and community leader Nipsey Hussle (born Ermias Asghedom), who was gunned down by 29-year-old Eric Holder following a dispute in front of his Marathon Clothing store on Slauson Avenue. Hussle was born August 15, 1985, in Crenshaw, Calif. and was 33 at the time of his death. In the wake of his murder, fans, supporters and even his detractors reflected on the rapper’s complex legacy. As an artist, Hussle was an undeniable force whose at times divisive politics, proud first-generation identity, and desire to uplift black people globally was actively crystalizing - both through music and grassroots community efforts - into viable structures for positive change.

Not only was Hussle coming off of a well-deserved Grammy-nomination for 2018’s Victory Lap, but he was also in the process of revitalizing a country-wide vision of a black enterprise that had roots on his beloved Slauson Avenue. Working with private equity investor David Gross, Hussle was quietly buying back his neighborhood while simultaneously developing the blueprint for a self-sustained community that would not be ravaged by the typical outcomes of gentrification, which often results in the displacement of the socioeconomically disadvantaged. Instead, Hussle was creating the change he wanted to see, developing affordable housing and a STEM center for the neighborhood’s youth. He even had plans to open an inner-city coworking space where young creatives of color could connect.

From sobering reflections on his proximity to death and violence on his first mixtape, Slauson Boy Vol. 1, where he first introduced himself as “Neighborhood Nip,” to the era of Bullets Ain’t Got No Name mixtape trilogy, all the way through the release of Victory Lap - his first and only major commercial release - Hussle’s music is a testament to the arc of his life, as well as the personal awakenings that came with his journey. Here are some of his most resonant songs.

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1. “Blue Laces” (2010)

They think we on some kill another n***a s**t / We really on some stay down and diligent / The streets is cold, turn innocence to militance / Young n****s gangbangin' for the thrill of it / Pops was gone, moms was never home /The streets was right there so they took you as they own.

Although Nipsey’s music frequently reflects on inequity - much of “Blue Laces” does just this - the lyrics are bolstered by an innate sense of pride. Yes, he addresses the cyclical nature of violence, and how it creates outside perceptions that demonize young black men, but in Nipsey’s hands, they are humanized...as they deserve to be.

2. “Blue Laces 2” (2018)

I wonder what it come to you in your brain for you to run to / Ones that hate us, handcuff us and mace us / Call us dumb n****s 'cause our culture is contagious / Third generation, South Central gangbangers / That lived long enough to see it changing / Think it's time we make arrangements, finally wiggle out they mazes / Find me out in different places / I'm the spook by the door, this the infiltration.

A follow-up to 2010’s equally definitive “Blue Laces,” this sprawling sequel displays Nipsey’s unique ability to proselytize to people and communities that have been historically devalued, reminding them not only of their humanity but their very real ability to impact change.

3. “Crenshaw & Slauson (True Story)” (2018)

There are really too many good bars to choose tbh.

In this three-part saga, Nipsey’s affinity for storytelling is elevated to an art. The narrative is a deeply personal one that details his ascension in rap music starting from the moment he decided to “cut out the middleman” as an 18-year-old neophyte, to the sacrifices required to gain a foothold as an independent artist. In the same way, Nas revealed a new level of introspection and lyrical artistry by personifying a bullet in “I Gave You Power,” so too does Nipsey on “Crenshaw & Slauson,” which feels like a journey into the interior of an at times guarded artist.

4. Childish Gambino, “Black Faces” featuring Nipsey Hussle (2012)

Look, young rich nigga s***, pops was an immigrant / Lifestyle ill legit, but I know I own business / Started out the trunk, ended up at the dealership / All gold Rollie, black face no blemishes / Legend in my city ‘cause I grind so vigorous.

Hussle’s fiery feature on Donald Glover’s surprise sixth mixtape Royalty was something of a happy coincidence, one that started on Twitter and snowballed. After the rapper shared that he was a fan of Glover’s 2011 project, Camp, the duo hit the studio and cooked up "Black Faces," an unapologetic celebration of black resilience and entrepreneurship. The rapper’s reflections on the nature of his empire, which began in the streets and metamorphosed into legal businesses, also highlights his family’s immigrant experience, reinforcing the importance his Eritrean identity played in his life and music.

5. “Racks in the Middle” (featuring Roddy Ricch & Hit-Boy) (2019)

Teaming up with Compton rapper Roddy Ricch, Nipsey delivers braggadocious bars that reflect on the nature of success and the material goods that come with it. Following a Grammy nomination and critically-acclaimed album, it’s a well-deserved flex. And as Nipsey’s last release of his life, it is certainly fitting to include.

6. YG, “F**k Donald Trump” featuring Nipsey Hussle (2016)

Look, Reagan sold coke, Obama sold hope / Donald Trump spent his trust fund money on the vote / I'm from a place where you prolly can't go / Speakin' for some people that you prolly ain't know / It's pressure built up and it's prolly gon' blow / And if we say go then they're prolly gon' go.

Politics and rap have been deeply intertwined since the birth of hip-hop, which was conceived as an innately political statement. In the face of one of the most divisive elections of our time, YG and Nipsey Hussle, though affiliated with opposing sets, mobilized to send a strong message refuting the inflammatory rhetoric of Donald Trump. Hussle in particular unpacks America’s long and crooked political history, espousing Reagan-era conspiracy theories with the same ease he that he reflects on his childhood in Crenshaw.

7. “Dedication” featuring Kendrick Lamar (2018)

Young black n***a trapped and he can’t change it / Know he a genius, he just can’t claim it / ‘Cause they left him no platforms to explain it / He frustrated so he get faded / But deep down inside he know you can’t fade him / How long should I stay dedicated?

While the Kendrick Lamar assist certainly enriches “Dedication,” Nipsey’s signature cadence delivered over a Mike N Keys-produced beat embodies the core of his rap ethos. His ability to verbalize the internalized struggles of being a black male in America without succumbing to a sense of hopelessness is as rare as it is precious.

8. “Sound of My Ceremony” (2012)

I ain't got a boss, I am not a slave / Turnin' up my hustle is how I give myself a raise / And it's funny how people let money make 'em change / See you stickin' to the script then start rippin' out the pages of history, it ain't a mystery / If I died yesterday, my life would be a victory

Although “Sound of My Ceremony” ultimately didn’t make it onto The Marathon Continues, Hussle went on to add it to The Marathon Continues: X-Tra Laps. Much in the same way singles like “Hussle & Motivate” balance gritty realities with hope and dignity, so too does this song. Not only does Nipsey frame himself as royalty, but in one verse in particular he describes his life as a victory, which feels almost prophetic.

9. "Hussle in the House" (2009)

Look, I'm comin straight off of Slauson / A crazy motherf**ker named Nipsey / I'm turnt up cause I grew up in the 60s / Caution to you rap n****s try and diss me / I go hard that's why yo' b***h wanna flip me.

Not only does Nipsey pay homage to NWA’s “Straight Outta Compton” in the song’s opening line, but he also interpolates Snoop Dogg’s “G Funk” intro and serves it all up with a sample of “Jump” by Kriss Kross. The bars are true Nipsey Hussle form - a litany of “guns, money and b***hes” as Hussle goes on to say in a later verse - but there’s still a playfulness that makes it a solid palate cleanser for some of A Bullet Ain’t Got No Name Vol. 2’s more heavy offerings.

10. “Hussle & Motivate” (2018)

Judge a young n***a by they address / Left us no option, what they expect? / Only thing we knew for sure was to bang the set / F**k livin' basic, I'm takin' risks.

F**k what they sayin', I'm sayin' this / Don't waste your time, it don't make you rich / It don't mean nothin' so f**k 'em, let's make a grip / Double up, triple up, make assist / Ballin' so hard, you could play your bench /Lead to the lake, if they wanna fish.

Sampling from Jay-Z's “Hard Knock Life (Ghetto Anthem),” Nipsey reflects on the sacrifices, setbacks and victories that ultimately brought him success. As it were, the song isn’t a boisterous celebratory lap (although it appears on the Victory Lap album), but rather a sermon of sorts; a love letter to the young men and women of his community and beyond.

Here, Nipsey takes aim at the hypocrisy inherent in the glamorization of street life while the very same communities are actively disenfranchised, effectively causing the cycles of violence they are often accused of perpetuating. More important, he looks beyond this reality, offering motivation, and a blueprint for transcending circumstance.

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Yee-Haw: 12 Hip-Hop/Country Collaborations

The Internet can't get enough of the Billy Ray Cyrus-assisted remix of Lil Nas X's "Old Town Road." The "Achy Breaky Heart" singer became a fan of the viral sensation, and in early-April, the duet hit streaming services. "Baby's gotta habit, diamond rings, and Fendi sports bras/ Riding down Rodeo with my Maserati sports car," the country superstar croons over the twangy-trap beat.

It's clear that the twosome has an obvious hit on their hands, but this isn't the first time hip-hop and country artists have proven to be a match made in music heaven. It's not even the first time country trap has gotten love (Young Thug's "Family Don't Matter" off Beautiful Thugger Girls incorporates country elements). In no particular order, here are some collaborations that made us holler "yee-haw" long before the horses were in the back.

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Lil Nas X Feat. Billy Ray Cyrus - "Old Town Road"

Billy Ray Cyrus and Lil Nas X proved they are a force to be reckoned with when they released the remix of the 2018 song, "Old Town Road." The song continued to climb the Billboard charts after the publication initially removed the track from their country chart.

Florida Georgia Line feat. Nelly - "Cruise"

"Cruise" hit No. 4 on the Billboard Hot 100 and peaked at No. 1 on the Billboard Country chart. It was a bonafide hit no matter how you spin it. The country-pop duo and the "Ride Wit Me" rapper performed the track together at the American Music Awards in 2013.

Nelly feat. Tim McGraw - "Over and Over"

Nelly has a knack for working with country superstars. His hit with Tim McGraw, "Over and Over," is perfect evidence of that. The song, featured on the St. Louis MC's 2004 album Suit, peaked at No. 3 on Billboard's Hot 100 chart.

Snoop Dogg feat. Willie Nelson - "Superman"

This is probably the most perfect pairing in the bunch, given Nelson and Snoop's affinity for marijuana. Outside of their love of MJ, the two have a few other things in common. In the track, they sang about living their lives the best they can, despite not being "Superman."

Jason Aldean feat. Ludacris - "Dirt Road Anthem (Remix)"

Ludacris hopped on fellow Georgia-born musician Jason Aldean's 2011 track, which is reportedly the best-selling male country song in digital history. Outside of the remix, the song is actually classified as a country-rap song, since Aldean spits a few bars of his own.

Coolio feat. Kenny Rogers - "Hustler" AND Wyclef Jean feat. Kenny Rogers - "Pharoahe Monch Dub Plate"

Who knew Kenny Rogers had so many fans in hip-hop stars? The "Gangsta's Paradise" rapper put his own spin on the classic country track "The Gambler" and enlisted the Country Music Hall of Famer for his version. Wyclef Jean also collaborated with Rogers, and used "The Gambler" as a sample in "Pharoahe Monch Dub Plate."

Taylor Swift feat. T-Pain - "Thug Story"

Taylor Swift (or T-Swizzle) put an auto-tuned spin on her hit song "Love Story" for her hosting stint at the 2009 Country Music Awards. In the skit, the country-turned-pop singer and the Florida musician rapped about how despite baking cookies and still living with her parents, Swift is as gangsta as they come.

KFL feat. Tammy Wynette - "Justified And Ancient"

British electro-group KLF collaborated with the late Tammy Wynette for the 1992 dance track "Justified And Ancient." It was a worldwide hit, peaking at number one in six countries and at No. 11 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Meghan Linsey feat. Bubba Sparxxx - "Try Harder Than That"

Rapper and occasional country star Bubba Sparxxx contributed to country star Meghan Linsey's 2014 song, which featured both of them in a barn area, crooning and rapping while sitting on hay bales. It doesn't get much more country than that.

B.o.B feat. Taylor Swift - "Both Of Us"

Swift hopped on B.o.B's "Both Of Us," which was a single off of his 2012 album, Strange Clouds. The song peaked at No. 18 on the Billboard Hot 100, and the video has amassed over 50 million views on YouTube.

Colt Ford Feat. Run-DMC - "Ride On, Ride Out"

In what we'd classify as "hick hop," Colt Ford and legendary rap duo Run-DMC collaborated on Ford's 2010 LP, Chicken & Biscuits.

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