The Grammys finally gave hip-hop the platform it deserves at this year’s ceremony on Feb. 5, rolling out the biggest star-studded tribute of all time in honor of its 50th anniversary. The powerful segment was narrated by Black Thought and presented by LL Cool J as old-school hip-hop artists united on stage at the Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles for an explosive time capsule of the history of the rap.
The performance featured guest appearances from legends like Missy Elliott, Big Boi, Busta Rhymes, De La Soul, DJ Drama, DJ Jazzy Jeff, Grandmaster Flash, Grandmaster Mele Mel & Scorpio/Ethiopian King, Ice-T, The Lox, Method Man , Nelly , Public Enemy, Queen Latifah, Rahiem, Rakim, Run-DMC, Salt-N-Pepa, Spinderella and Too $hort (yes, all artists), all of whom performed some of their greatest hits on stage.
New-school artists like Lil Baby and GloRilla also joined the explosive Grammys performance, which was produced by Questlove (who also served as musical director).
Hip-hop and the Grammys have had a notoriously rocky relationship, as it took the Recording Academy more than a decade after the birth of hip-hop (August 11, 1973) to recognize the genre at its annual awards show. (the first rap Grammy was awarded to DJ Jazzy Jeff and The Fresh Prince, aka Will Smith, in 1989). However, it looks like the Grammys are trying to rectify history.
“For five decades, hip-hop has not only been a defining force in music, but a major influence on our culture,” Recording Academy CEO Harvey Mason Jr. said in a statement, per Billboard. “His contributions to art, fashion, sports, politics and society cannot be overstated. I am so proud that we are honoring him in such spectacular fashion on the Grammys stage. just the beginning of our year of celebrating this essential genre of music.”
Hip-hop’s impact has been recognized throughout the 2023 Grammy Awards. Kendrick Lamar has scored wins in nearly every rap category, while DJ Khaled and JAY-Z are set to perform their nominated collaboration at the “God Did” Grammys. Beyond that, Billboard reported that the Recording Academy, in partnership with CBS, is also set to launch a special hip-hop music event later this year.
Check out photos from the Grammys tribute to hip-hop.