Hip-hop took over the Grammys —
Tip — who several minutes prior performed "Swagga Like Us" with the Swag Pack — came out in jeans and a skull cap. He emerged from a cloud of smoke while Timberlake sang and played piano. (T.I. told us that working with Timberlake taught him "how to cater to a different audience.")
"Now you gushin', ambulance rushin'," Tip rapped, telling the tale of a beef that could have been avoided. "'You to the hospital with a bad concussion/ Plus you hit four times but it hit yo spine/ Paralyzed waist down and ya wheelchair bound." Images of crosses flashed on screens behind the pair.
"Out with old, in with the new," Tip sang as Justin crooned the chorus. On his last verse, Tip looked to the sky and held his hand up as he rhymed.
"Shout-out Phil — for my pops, for my cousin, for my daughter," Tip yelled as JT sang.
The song is a tribute to T.I.'s late friend Philant Johnson, who was killed in 2006 in a shooting that singled out T.I.'s entourage following a show in Cincinnati.
"Character will take you places money can't," T.I. said as the record closed. "Welcome to my road to redemption. It's the king, partna'!"
Will Lil Wayne grab all the gramophones? Is Katy Perry going to tell her girl rivals to kiss off? Can Coldplay march off with a win? MTV News is all over the 51st Annual Grammy Awards, so stay tuned for interviews, analysis and more before, during and after the big night.