It didn't take long for Eminem and Dr. Dre to start cashing in their multiple Grammy nominations Wednesday night, as both grabbed their first awards during the pre-telecast portion of the ceremony.
With 87 of the 100 Grammy honors handed out before primetime, Grammy tidal waves traditionally get rolling long before the telecast begins, and Eminem got started early. The controversial rapper grabbed awards for Best Rap Solo Performance (for "The Real Slim Shady") and Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group (for his work on Dr. Dre's "Forgot About Dre"). Em was two for two in the early going, with his remaining nominations in the categories of Best Rap Album and Album of the Year to be decided in the broadcast portion of the show.
In addition to his piece of the Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group award, Dr. Dre also grabbed Producer of the Year, Non-Classical for his work with Eminem, Snoop Dogg and Xzibit, among others. Dre edged out Nigel Godrich (Radiohead, Travis), Bill Bottrell (Shelby Lynne), Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis (Mariah Carey, Janet Jackson) and Matt Serletic (Celine Dion) for the honor.
If the early Grammy wins for Eminem and Dre scared the establishment, country crossover star Faith Hill stepped up to bring pop divas back to the winner's circle. Hill turned two of her four nominations into awards in the early hours, grabbing Best Female Country Vocal Performance (for "Breathe") and Best Country Collaboration With Vocals (for "Let's Make Love," which she recorded with husband Tim McGraw).
The Foo Fighters also walked away with a pair of early awards, grabbing statuettes for Best Rock Album (There Is Nothing Left to Lose) and Best Short Form Music Video ("Learn to Fly"). The band will vie for Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group With Vocal when the broadcast portion of the show begins.
Exhibitionist R&B hitmaker D'Angelo didn't do bad either, turning his three nominations into two wins. D'Angelo walked off with Best Male R&B Vocal Performance for his "Untitled (How Does It Feel)" and Best R&B Album for Voodoo. Legendary bluesman B.B. King also grabbed multiple honors early, winning Best Pop Collaboration With Vocals and Best Traditional Blues Album.
Destiny's Child's "Say My Name" was tapped as Best R&B Song, topping Erykah Badu's "Bag Lady," Sisqó's "Thong Song," Toni Braxton's "He Wasn't Man Enough" and D'Angelo's "Untitled." Because the award goes to the songwriters behind the track, former Destiny's Child members LaToya Luckett and LaTavia Roberson share in the honor.
The first potentially controversial award went not to Eminem, but to veteran avant-rockers Steely Dan, whose "Cousin Dupree" was named Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group With Vocal. The song, from their Two Against Nature album, is about a man's incestuous lust for a cousin.
The early going also brought honors for Elton John (Best Musical Show Album), the Deftones (Best Metal Performance), Creed (Best Rock Song), Rage Against the Machine (Best Hard Rock Performance), Metallica (Best Rock Instrumental Performance), Lenny Kravitz (Best Male Rock Vocal Performance), Sheryl Crow (Best Female Rock Vocal Performance), Emmylou Harris (Best Contemporary Folk Album), Hex Hector (Remixer of the Year, Non-Classical), Sting (Best Male Pop Vocal Performance), Toni Braxton (Best Female R&B Vocal Performance), Johnny Cash (Best Male Country Vocal Performance), Dolly Parton (Best Bluegrass Album), Joni Mitchell (Best Traditional Pop Vocal) and yes, even the Baha Men (Best Dance Recording).
And, in what almost amounts to judging a book by its cover, Madonna's Music album, designed by Kevin Reagan, grabbed the Best Recording Package honors.
The pre-telecast portion of the ceremony traditionally houses the bulk of the rap, metal, hard rock, classical, jazz, gospel, country and R&B categories, freeing up network airtime for the night's big pop guns.
For more Grammy news, check out the MTV News Grammy Archive.