2023 Grammys Hip-Hop 50 Tribute Performance

The performance featured appearances from legends like Missy Elliott, Huge Boi, Busta Rhymes, De La Soul, DJ Drama, DJ Jazzy Jeff, Grandmaster Flash, Grandmaster Mele Mel & Scorpio/Ethiopian King, Ice-T, The Lox, Technique Man , Nelly , Public Enemy, Queen Latifah, Rahiem, Rakim, Run-DMC, Salt-N-Pepa, Spinderella and Too $hort (of course, all artists), all of whom performed some of their greatest hits on the scene.

New-school artists like Lil Child, GloRilla and Lil Uzi Vert also joined the explosive Grammys performance, produced by Questlove (who also served as musical director). However, some fans have since questioned why the big tribute doesn’t feature more of their favorite hip-hop artists. Following criticism over the exclusion of certain artists from the performance, Questlove explained on Twitter how the lineup for the tribute was finalized.

“Common response about last night: (some ask if we participate in erasing video games so uh…yeah I don’t play that,” he wrote in a single tweet, “so answering the questions of ‘why was there no dada there?’) 1. already booked 2. declined our offer straight up 3. or a 3rd choice which I won’t go into.”

Questlove noted that “we’ve decided to avoid those who have passed away and give flowers to the residents” and “WAY too many legends have been passed around for someone’s property to be heated”. He also said that he and the Recording Academy were “aware of eliminating our biases” by only acknowledging certain artists and durations during the 12-minute performance.

The producer concluded his series of tweets by writing, “Now let’s just say they won’t be your favorites (and there were 2 essential eleventh-hour cancellations (more like 10 minutes before taping) that could give the felt like we were biased in our selections, but I just think we really tried to SQUEEEEEEEZE everyone.

Hip-hop and the Grammys have had a notoriously rocky relationship, as it took the Recording Academy more than a decade after hip-hop began (August 11, 1973) to recognize the style at its annual awards show. (the first rap Grammy was awarded to DJ Jazzy Jeff and The Contemporary Prince, aka Will Smith, in 1989). However, it looks like the Grammys are trying to rectify history.

“Over the past five years, hip-hop has not only been a defining pressure in music, but a serious impact on our tradition,” Recording Academy CEO Harvey Mason Jr. said in a press release, per Billboard. “His contributions to art, fashion, sport, politics and society cannot be overstated. I’m so proud that we honor him in such a spectacular way on the Grammys stage. This is just the beginning of our year of celebrating this important style of music.

The influence of hip-hop was recognized throughout the 2023 Grammy Awards. Kendrick Lamar scored wins in almost every rap class, while DJ Khaled and JAY-Z performed their Grammy-nominated collaboration “God Did ‘ alongside Rick Ross, Lil Wayne, John Legend and Fridayy at the end of the ceremony. Beyond that, Billboard reported that The Recording Academy, in partnership with CBS, will also be set to debut a special hip-hop music event later this year.

Check out the photos from the Grammys tribute to hip-hop and all of Questlove’s tweets.

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