As expected, one of the biggest moments at tonight’s Grammy’s telecast came during an all-star tribute to the 50th anniversary of hip-hop, introduced by LL Cool J, organized and produced by Questlove, and featuring the Roots as the backing band.
Among the performers were Big Boi, Busta Rhymes with Spliff Star, Missy Elliott, Grandmaster Flash, Grandmaster Mele Mel and Scorpio/Ethiopian King, Ice-T, Lil Baby, Method Man, Nelly, Public Enemy, Queen Latifah, Too Short, Rakim, Run-DMC, and Salt-N-Pepa and Spinderella. They teased tantalizingly brief snippets of scores of hip-hop classics, including “Rock the Bells,” “King of Rock,” “My Mic Sounds Nice,” “Fight the Power,” “U.N.I.T.Y.,” “Method Man,” “ATliens,” “Blow the Whistle,” and “Put Your Hands Where My Eyes Could See.”
“We wish we could have included every single hip-hop artist from 1973 to 2023, but that’s to be continued at a later date and time,” LL Cool J said beforehand, while also reminding the audience that the hip-hop era is acknowledged to have begun at an Aug. 11, 1973, party in the Bronx DJ’d by DJ Kool Herc. Grammy broadcast partner CBS is planning to continue the 50th anniversary celebration with “a special hip-hop event later in 2023″ but has not revealed further details.
Before the tribute, hip-hop pioneer Dr. Dre was presented with the new Global Impact Award, which will be named after him moving forward. “I’m extremely moved by this award,” he said. “This is the 50th anniversary of hip-hop. Where would I be without it? Where would a lot of people in here be without it, to be honest? Inspiration is one of my favorite words, and as a creative, it’s what I’m always in search of and hope to leave behind me long after I’m gone. Never compromise your vision at all, pursue quality over quantity, and remember, everything is important.”