8:47 PM PST 2/10/2019
Childish Gambino is the first rapper to win the category.
Childish Gambino took home one of the Recording Academy’s biggest awards, record of the year, for his song “This Is America” at the Grammy Awards on Sunday. He’s the first rapper to win the honor.
According to the Grammys, record of the year honors the artists, producers and engineers who contributed to the recording of a song, while song of the year recognizes the composition and songwriters. “This Is America” also won the latter, again making it the first time a rap song has won the category.
Donald Glover, the musician who performs as Childish Gambino, wasn’t present for the awards show. Ludwig Goransson, who produced “This Is America” accepted the Grammy on his behalf. “I just want to say, creating music with Childish Gambino has been one of the greatest joys of my life,” Goransson said onstage. “As a kid growing up in Sweden loving American music, I always dreamt of migrating here and working with brilliant artists like Donald Glover. I really wish he was here with us right now because this is truly his vision and he deserves this credit.”
He continued, “No matter where you’re born or what country you’re from, you connect with ‘This Is America.’ It speaks to people…it calls out injustice, celebrates life and reunites us all at the same time.”
Backstage, Goransson said he’s been working with Glover for 10 years. “To finally be able to celebrate your lifelong work with such an incredible honest person is incredibly special, especially for this song,” he said.
“This Is America” beat out fellow nominees “I Like It” by Cardi B, Bad Bunny and J Balvin; “The Joke” by Brandi Carlile; God’s Plan by Drake; Shallow by Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper; “All the Stars” by Kendrick Lamar and SZA; Rockstar by Post Malone featuring 21 Savage; and The Middle by Zedd, Maren Morris and Grey.
The 2019 Grammy Awards were hosted by Alicia Keys from the Staples Center in Los Angeles and broadcast on CBS.