The performance will also feature gospel star Kirk Franklin and two of Nipsey’s Southern California hip-hop successors: Roddy Ricch and YG. Along with the tribute, Nipsey Hussle is up for three posthumous awards, including Best Rap/Sung Performance for DJ Khaled’s “Higher,” which also features Legend, and Best Rap Performance and Best Rap Song for “Racks in the Middle,” featuring Roddy Ricch and Hit-Boy.
“Racks in the Middle” was one of the last songs Nipsey Hussle released before he was shot and killed in Los Angeles in March 2019. The rapper notably dropped the song the day after the 2019 Grammys, where his 2018 LP, Victory Lap, had been nominated for Best Rap Album. In an interview with The Associated Press, Nipsey Hussle’s manager, Steve “Steve-O” Carless, spoke about watching that track come full circle with its two nominations this year.
“I was really shocked by that one because we had no idea that song would get recognized,” he said. “[Nipsey] was so adamant about putting that song out right after the Grammys last year. The label was concerned that we didn’t have enough time and runway to set it up. [Nipsey] was adamant about bypassing all the traditional [methods], upload protocols with the streaming partners, and [was] all about calling everyone directly because he felt like that record was a moment for his career … and now it’s nominated for two awards at the Grammys. Emotional and gratifying.”
In a statement, the Grammys’ executive producer, Ken Ehrlich, said of the Nipsey Hussle tribute, “An activist, entrepreneur, and rapper, Nipsey Hussle had a lasting impact on not just his community, but also the culture at large. There is no denying the influence he had, and his legacy will be felt for generations to come. We are honored to bring together this amazing group of artists to celebrate Nipsey’s life and pay tribute to his many contributions to music. It’s sure to be a memorable performance.”
The Grammys will air this Sunday, January 26th, at 8 p.m. ET on CBS. Alicia Keys is set to host the show.