2023 Grammys: Hip-hop legends honor style’s 50-year historical past
Once shunned by the Recording Academy, hip-hop was honored Sunday on the 2023 Grammy Awards with an homage celebrating 50 years of the style, with performances by influential artists from its previous, current and future.
LL Cool J, who in 1989 boycotted the awards present together with different high-profile rappers when the academy didn’t televise its first rap award, led Sunday’s evening all-star salute.
Hip-hop pioneers Grandmaster Flash, Grandmaster Melle Mel and Rahiem of Grandmaster Flash & the Furious Five burst onto the stage with a punchy snippet of their 1982 single “The Message.”
Joining them for different performances have been large names from Eighties hip-hop, corresponding to Run-DMC, DJ Jazzy Jeff, Public Enemy and Ice T, the latter of whom is commonly thought-about “the godfather of gangsta rap.”
Major acts that gained fame within the Nineties have been additionally readily available, with a robust New York City and East Coast contingent, together with Busta Rhymes with Spliff Star, De La Soul, Method Man of the Wu Tang Clan, Rakim, Salt-N-Pepa, the Lox, and Queen Latifah and Missy Elliott. Also among the many Nineties artists was Houston’s Scarface and the Bay Area’s Too Short.
As Method Man spit bars through the efficiency, Jay-Z was seen within the crowd bobbing his head, smiling and rapping the lyrics. DJ Khaled additionally nodded approvingly, at one level lifting and waving a lighter throughout Busta Rhymes’ efficiency, earlier than the Brooklyn legend launched into considered one of his signature rapid-fire deliveries.
Representing the 2000s have been artists Nelly, Big Boi of Outkast, and DJ Drama. Representing the 2010s and the current have been Swizz Beatz, Lil Wayne, Lil Baby, Lil Uzi Vert and GloRilla.
“At the end of the night, I might have Obama-gray hair,” Questlove — whose actual identify is Ahmir Khalib Thompson — jokingly informed E! correspondent Laverne Cox on the Grammys pink carpet. “This is 14-year-old Ahmir bringing his jukebox of what he was listening to as a kid. But it’s also all-encompassing because it’s from my generation, from future generations, from Gen Z. Everybody’s all included, so this … is a special moment.”
In the lead-up to the efficiency, Questlove, who alongside his band the Roots, produced and curated the efficiency, referred to as hip-hop “a driving force in the music and the culture” that has had “immeasurable impact on our culture and our world.”
“The first day of rehearsals, it was a nothing but a love fest,” he mentioned in a information launch. “It was DMC gushing over Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five … It’s a family reunion.”
The Recording Academy didn’t all the time worth hip-hop. In 1989, the Grammys didn’t televise the rap award presentation. “If they don’t want us, we don’t want them,” Salt-N-Pepa mentioned that 12 months, whereas boycotting the present. Despite the omission, the next 12 months, a rap album spent probably the most weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard charts, The Times’ LZ Granderson wrote not too long ago in a column celebrating the style’s fiftieth birthday.
“That’s because the sound came from a people whose voices could never be silenced,” Granderson wrote, tracing hip-hop’s delivery to DJ Kool Herc’s home events at 1520 Sedgwick Ave. within the Bronx in 1973. “This is why Black music is described as having an ‘uncapturable spirit in the ‘1619 Project’ docuseries. Hip-hop may be 50, but its lineage stretches back much further.”
The significance of the evening was not misplaced on the style’s pioneers.
“The Grammys didn’t even respect hip-hop for so long, and now to be here, to be honored like this, we’ll take it, absolutely,” Ice T mentioned on the pink carpet to People correspondents Jeremy Parsons and Janine Rubenstein.
“You think about it, it’s kinda come full circle, from now being recognized at the Grammys, to now kind of getting our own moment, to celebrate 50 years of what I like to call ‘The best music on the planet,’” Nelly, who carried out Sunday night, additionally informed People on the pink carpet.
“It’s only right,” Queen Latifah informed Cox and E! on the pink carpet earlier than additionally becoming a member of the efficiency. “We had to fight to get on the Grammys quite a time ago, and so it’s great to be here to celebrate this in front of the entire world with people who were my mentors.”
Public Enemy’s Flava Flav, who confirmed up with considered one of his iconic chains and likewise carried out Sunday, exclaimed on the pink carpet, “This is to all those who said hip-hop wouldn’t last!”