Best Hip-Hop Soul: SZA
Long before Kendrick Lamar arrived to lend a hand, SZA had her crowd moving to an organic groove, as she stood on a stage decorated with prop flowers, cacti, a campfire and a banner reading "Camp SZA." She sang with warmth and a loose richness, but also slid into rap on "Sobriety" against a sharp beat. Later in the set, she paused to announce "a moment to get quiet for Prince," whom she said was played in her house in New Jersey growing up. Though she's signed to Top Dawg Entertainment, she's less interested in hard edges than natural grooves, playing with a band of two keyboardists, drums and guitar. Late in the set, SZA and the band gathered around the prop campfire, and she said, "Honestly, my band is my family." She lifted up a joint, taking the mellow to another level.