Then Dave Chappelle came out following a verse from "DNA".
The show opened with a powerful performance by American rapper Kendrick Lamar, followed by Lady Gaga.
"I just wanted to remind the audience that the only thing more frightening than watching a black man being honest in America, is being an honest black man in America", Chappelle said.
Taking the stage with RiRi by his side, Kendrick gave thanks for her support, while also letting the world know she more than handled her business on the track.
Country music legend Reba McEntire, who branched across categories to win the Grammy for Best Roots Gospel Album, said that the white rose amounted to a message to "treat people kindly". "This really belongs to her".
The Grammys, taking place in NY after 15 years in Los Angeles, marked the first time that hip-hop has dominated the nominations after years of uneven recognition for the genre.
In the pre-broadcast, he took home statues for both Best Rap Performance ("HUMBLE.") and Best Rap Song ("HUMBLE.") He is also up for Album of the Year for DAMN. "Real talk. That's love".
Three artists who performed at a country music festival that became the site of the deadliest mass shooting in modern US history honoured those music fans lost at deadly concert attacks with a tearful performance at the Grammy Awards.
"Tears in Heaven", which won three Grammys in 1993 including record and song of the year, was written after Clapton's four-year-old son died in 1991 after falling out of a high-rise window.