LOS ANGELES (AP) - Everybody’s thinkin’ about Frank Ocean _ but his main competition Kanye West and Jay-Z took home two early Grammy Awards.
They won best rap song and best rap performance in the pre-telecast awards Sunday for the song “N–-s in Paris” from their “Watch the Throne” collaboration, joining Skrillex, Esperanza Spalding, Chick Corea and Matt Redman atop the pre-telecast awards show toteboard.
Other early winners included Rihanna, Beyonce, Taylor Swift and Mumford & Sons.
Ocean is a cause celebre and the man with the momentum as Sunday’s Grammy Awards. One of six top nominees with six nominations apiece, Ocean _ the 25-year-old R&B singer turned cultural talking point _ will have the music world’s attention.
It remains to be seen if it will be the “Thinkin Bout You” singer’s night, but there’s no question he’s dominated the discussion so far. Already a budding star with a gift for building buzz as well as crafting songs, Ocean was swept up by something more profound when he told fans his first love was a man last fall as he prepared to release his major-label debut, “channel ORANGE.”
It was a bold move and one that could have submarined his career before it really even got started. Instead, everyone from Beyonce to the often-homophobic R&B and rap communities showed public support. It was a remarkable moment.
“It speaks to the advancements of our culture,” renowned producer Rick Rubin said. “It feels like the culture’s moving forward and he’s a representative of the new acceptance in the world for different ideas, which just broadens (our experience), makes the world a better place.”
A recent altercation in a parking lot with Chris Brown only focused more attention on Ocean. Ocean says Brown was the aggressor; both are competing against each other in one of the Grammy categories.
Ocean is up for the major awards best new artist, album of the year and record of the year when the show airs live on CBS at 8 p.m. EST from the Staples Center, sharing top-nominee billing with fun., Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys, Mumford & Sons, Jay-Z and West.
The Grammy pre-telecast awards had 70 trophies up for grabs, including rock, pop, rap and country categories. Skrillex won three early awards for dance music, while former best new artist winner Esperanza Spalding, jazz man Chick Corea and Christian singer-songwriter Matt Redman had two wins apiece.
Spalding had one of the most touching moments of the pre-telecast awards show, taking the stage with her longtime jazz teacher Thara Memory for their win in the best instrumental arrangement accompanying vocalist category. She also won for best jazz vocal album for her “Radio Music Society.”
Corea, who competed against himself in two categories, won best improvised jazz solo for “Hot House” with Gary Burton and best instrumental composition for “Mozart Goes Dancing.”
And Redman won best gospel/contemporary Christian music performance and best contemporary Christian music song (in a tie) for “10,000 Reasons (Bless The Lord).”
Other early winners included Rihanna, who won short form music video for “We Found Love” featuring Calvin Harris, and Taylor Swift won her seventh Grammy for best song written for visual media for “Safe & Sound,” her collaboration with The Civil Wars on “The Hunger Games” soundtrack. It was Swift’s seventh Grammy and the third for Joy Williams and John Paul White of The Civil Wars.
“I think it’s appropriate that Taylor thanks us because we’ve been carrying her for a while and it’s getting really tiring,” White joked.