They won three awards during the Grammys' pre-telecast ceremony — rap song and rap performance for the comical "Thrift Shop" and rap album for "The Heist," beating out Drake, Kendrick Lamar, Jay Z and Kanye West in that category before taking major award best new artist. They're just the third rap act to win best new artist, but their wins in the rap categories are sure to chafe average hip-hop fans — especially after Kendrick Lamar failed to win an award despite seven nominations. The Recording Academy's own rap committee tried to exclude Macklemore and Lewis from the genre's categories before being overruled.
Queen Latifah, who was certified by the state of California to perform the wedding ceremony, spoke out after the show about rap being more inclusive.
"I think this is exactly what hip-hop is capable of," she said. "When I started rapping it was much more common for rappers to speak about different things going on in the world. We're part of the reason that apartheid (in South Africa) was changed. ... Or violence in the communities or anything that was some type of social injustice we've always been able to talk about through hip-hop."
Musgraves explored similar themes to take home country album for "Same Trailer Different Park" and country song "Merry Go 'Round," categories that Swift seemed destined to win given her history with the Grammys. Musgraves also performed a neon-inflected version of "Follow Your Arrow," a song that includes the line "Kiss lots of boys/Or kiss lots of girls/if that's something you're into" among other socially conscious messages.
And then there's the curious case of Lorde, the New Zealand teenager whose invitation to ignore all the status symbols and swag signifiers of pop music in her song "Royals" was one of the year's out-of-nowhere hits. She took major award song of the year and best pop solo performance.
The singer shyly summed up the experience in just a few words during her acceptance speech: "Thank you everyone who has let this song explode. Because it's been mental."
AP writers Anthony McCartney and Beth Harris contributed to this report.
Follow AP Music Writer Chris Talbott: http://twitter.com/Chris--Talbott.