The rapper appeared to be upset that his wife Beyoncé has never been awarded Album of the Year even though she's taken home 32 Grammys over the course of her career, more than any other artist. The couple initially planned to miss this year's ceremony, but ended up making a surprise appearance anyway.
"I don't want to embarrass this young lady, but she has more Grammys than anyone and never won Album of the Year," Jay-Z said as he gestured toward Beyoncé, who looked uncomfortable. "So even by your own metrics that doesn't work."
The rapper was on the stage with their 12-year-old daughter Blue Ivy Carter at the time. He went on to lodge a broader critique against the Grammys.
"Some of you are gonna go home tonight and feel like you've been robbed," he told the other artists gathered at the Crypto.com Arena. "Some of you may get robbed. Some of you don't belong in the category... I tell the truth."
Jay-Z also appeared to get anxious at one point. He noted that he tells the truth when he gets nervous.
Watch Jay-Z's full speech below:
The rapper is an incredibly powerful figure in the music industry, so his critiques carry a lot of water. Jay-Z is the founder of the talent agency Roc Nation, which has been responsible for coordinating the NFL's Super Bowl halftime shows since 2019.
This year, Usher will perform during the game that will air on CBS next weekend.
The primetime Grammy telecast began at 8:00 PM ET, 5:00 PM local time. It's currently airing on CBS and streaming on Paramount+.
SZA, who went into the night the leading contender with nine nominations, has won three awards so far.
The R&B singer's LP SOS picked up Best Urban Contemporary Album, while SZA also won Best Pop Duo/Group Performance, for her “Ghost in the Machine” collaboration with Phoebe Bridgers.
She also got emotional while accepting the award for Best R&B Song later on in the night.
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Bridgers was glimpsed later in the afternoon, when Boygenius, her supergroup with Lucy Dacus and Julien Baker, won a quick-fire trio of awards for Best Rock Performance, best Rock Song, and Best Alternative Music Album.
Killer Mike was a triple winner in the afternoon. The Atlanta hip-hop veteran picked up statuettes for Best Rap Album, Best Rap Performance, and Best Rap Song before he was led out of the venue in handcuffs.
Jack Antonoff, who has collaborated with Swift and Lana Del Rey, won the Grammy for Producer of the Year for the third time in a row.