Grammys Kicks Off With Giant, Politically Charged Kendrick Lamar Performance

Kendrick Lamar, Dave Chapelle and U2 - Split - Getty - H 2018
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Dave Chappelle and U2 also joined the opening act of music's biggest night from Madison Square Garden.

The 60th Annual Grammy Awards kicked off from Madison Square Garden on Sunday night with a surprise collaborative performance by rapper Kendrick Lamar, rockers U2 and comedian Dave Chappelle.

Beginning the show with a performance of "XXX," Lamar took the stage joined by masked dancers in military fatigues beneath screens displaying a waving American flag. As the lights onstage went out, U2's Bono and The Edge joined Lamar onstage, then exited as fireworks fell from the rafters and Lamar and his dancers broke down the beat.

After the song, Chappelle took the stage and introduced himself. "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," he said.

Lamar then appeared onstage again beside a woman playing a large drum as he broke into rhyme again. 

Back to Chappelle, the comedian asked if this performance was "on cable." Lamar's dancers once again appeared, wearing hoodies, and as Lamar rapped gunshots were heard and they collapsed, one by one. 

Lamar is a seven-time Grammy winner and has seven nominations this year: record of the year, best rap performance, best rap song, best music video (“HUMBLE.”), album of the year and best rap album (DAMN.), as well as best rap/sung performance (“LOYALTY.” featuring Rihanna). 

Chappelle went on to win the best comedy album Grammy later on Sunday night.