After Drake’s “Honestly, Nevermind” album was released in June, featuring a healthy amount of Baltimore club music influences, news of a Beyoncé record that would also be heavily inspired by dance and electronic music started to circulate. We predicted — or, better yet, hoped — that the world’s biggest pop star would borrow some of the city’s sounds as well, given that club music has spread to other regional pockets in the country that have had their own tastes of mainstream recognition.
When Bey’s album “Renaissance” was released in late July, there weren’t any easily recognizable Baltimore connections. But Sunday changed that narrative.
At last night’s Grammy Awards, Bey took home a total of four trophies for the album, pushing her to 32 total for her career — the most by any artist in history. Though she lost to Harry Styles for Album of the Year (which upset many people, considering “Renaissance” garnered a level of collective excitement and critical acclaim she hadn’t received since 2016′s “Lemonade”), Beyoncé won Best Dance/Electronic Album. And when you take a peek at the album credits, you realize the win means an artist from Baltimore is now the recipient of a Grammy, too.
Tate Kobang, who burst onto the national music scene in 2015 with his “Bank Rolls” single, is listed as a composer and lyricist for “Virgo’s Groove,” a track from “Renaissance.” On the artist’s Facebook page, he shared a status Sunday casually stating, “I just won a grammy with beyonce.”
Over the past few years, Kobang’s visibility as a performing artist has significantly faded, but he has worked behind the scenes, regularly contributing songwriting and producing to Nicki Minaj’s output, and was recently signed to Minaj’s new record label.
Kobang’s accomplishment is a testament to his perseverance in an industry notorious for disposing of artists when they can’t maintain their initial momentum. It’s also an important lesson to aspiring artists that there are a number of ways to make a name for themselves in music, even outside of the spotlight.
Elsewhere at last night’s ceremony, Baltimore producer (and occasional rapper) Pyrex Whippa shared on social media that he also has claim to a Grammy through rapper Future’s win in the Best Melodic Rap Performance category for “Wait For U,” which features Drake and Tems. In an Instagram direct message, Pyrex confirmed that he co-produced the track with ATL Jacob. And while Baltimore hardcore band Turnstile was nominated for three awards in the rock and metal categories, unfortunately they didn’t come home with any.
Overall, a busier night for Baltimore than most expected.