Kendrick Lamar on Monday won the Grammy for Best Rap Album for “To Pimp a Butterfly,” raising expectations of a strong night for the politically charged artist.
Lamar is also in contention for the most prestigious Album of the Year for “To Pimp a Butterfly,” a meditative look at the state of black America interspersed with jazz and spoken word.
The win was his fifth of the night so far on 11 nominations — a tribute to the popularity of Lamar, who controversially came away empty-handed two years ago.
Receiving the award from gangsta rap legend Ice Cube, the 28-year-old Lamar hailed the growing recognition for the genre.
“This is for hip-hop,” Lamar said. “We will live forever — believe that.”
“To Pimp a Butterfly,” which runs nearly 80 minutes, revolves both around the rapper’s struggles as he adapts to fame and his look at race relations.
Lamar captured the national mood at a time of heightened concern over fatal shootings of African Americans by police in controversial circumstances, with the song “Alright” becoming an unofficial anthem of the Black Lives Matter protest movement.