The Atlanta-born rapper, real name Michael Render, won Best Rap Album award for Michael and both Best Rap Performance and Best Rap Song for “Scientists & Engineers”.
However, shortly after, a video posted on social media by The Hollywood Reporter showed Render being led away from the ceremony in handcuffs by police.
While no official explanation was given as to why Render had been detained at the time, it has since been revealed by the Los Angeles Police Department that the rapper was arrested and booked for “misdemeanor battery” after a physical altercation backstage at the Crypto.com Arena.
A spokesperson for the LAPD said: “On Sunday, 4 February, just after 4pm, a male adult was detained and handcuffed for a physical altercation that occurred at the 700 block of Chick Hearn Court.
“The suspect was placed under arrest and was transported to LAPD Central Division. The suspect has been identified as 48-year-old Michael Render and booked for Misdemeanor Battery 243(A) PC, and is in the process of being released.”
Killer Mike has since tweeted about his wins without reference to the incident, writing on X/Twitter: “Thank God.” and “DREAMS COME TRUE - IT’S A SWEEP!”
When he collected his third award, the Atlanta-based rapper shouted out “Sweep! Atlanta, it’s a sweep!”
“You cannot tell me that you get too old, that it’s too late, you can’t tell me that dreams don’t come true. It is a sweep,” he said, celebrating.
“This is for all the people who think you’re too old to rap... we keep hip-hop alive. Never ever stop doing what you do.”
Moments before being handcuffed, Render said backstage: “The only thing that limits your age is not being truthful about your age or what you’re doing.”
“At 40, I started to live with the regrets and the things I’ve done. At 45, I started to rap about it. At 48, I stand here as a man full of empathy and sympathy for the things I’ve done.”
Render has long been vocal about issues facing black Americans, including racism and police brutality, and was particularly vocal during the Black Lives Matter protests in Atlanta after the death of George Floyd in 2020.
Render’s three wins at the Grammy Awards come as female artists dominated the major categories on a night dubbed ‘Year of the Women’, with Taylor Swift winning Album of the Year for the fourth time, setting a new record.
Song of the Year went to Billie Eilish for “What Was I Made For?”, while Record of the Year was won by Miley Cyrus for “Flowers”.
The ceremony’s live performances were also dominated by women, with legendary singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell drawing an emotional reaction and a standing ovation. Other performers included Dua Lipa and Tracy Chapman, who memorably dueted with Luke Combs on a duet version of her hit “Fast Car”.