Hip hop turned 50 and the 2023 Grammy Awards celebrated the anniversary with a massive tribute. The segment was produced by Questlove and featured Missy Elliott, Big Boi, Run-D.M.C., Queen Latifah, Method Man, Public Enemy, Busta Rhymes, DJ Jazzy Jeff, the Grandmasters Flash and Melle Mel, and many others from throughout hip hop history.
A large selection of hip-hop artists performed at the 2023 Grammy Awards as a tribute honoring 50 years of hip-hop. LL Cool J introduced the segment by awarding Dr. Dre with a 2023 Global Impact Award, which is a nod to DJ Kool Herc’s famous party. He then passed the mic to Questlove and Black Thought. As mentioned earlier, the Grammy Awards hip hop celebration featured dozens of artists including Missy Elliott, Big Boi, Run-D.M.C., Queen Latifah, Method Man, Public Enemy, Busta Rhymes, DJ Jazzy Jeff, and the Grandmasters Flash and Melle Mel. The hip hop tribute was produced by Questlove alongside his manager Shawn Gee, Jesse Collins, Patrick Menton, and Fatima Robinson. Questlove’s band, the Roots, provided musical accompaniment.
The Grammy Awards celebration for hip hop’s 50th anniversary was roughly split into three parts. The first part began with Grandmaster Flash, Barshon, Melle Mel, Rahiem, and Scorpio performing snippets of “Flash to the Beat” and “The Message” then turned it over to Run-D.M.C. for “King of Rock.” LL Cool J then took over with “I Can’t Live Without My Radio,” followed by DJ Jazzy Jeff doing “Rock the Bells,” Salt-N-Pepa performing “My Mic Sounds Nice,” Rakim rapping “Eric B Is President,” and Chuck D and Flavor Flav performed “Rebel Without a Pause.”
Questlove mentioned that Will Smith was invited to perform for the tribute, but could not attend the rehearsals due to filming Bad Boys 4.
Part two of the hip hop tribute started with LL Cool J and Black Thought performing “El Shabazz (Skit),” followed by De La Soul doing “Buddy” and Scarface with “My Mind’s Playing Tricks on Me.” Ice-T then performed “New Jack Hustler” right before Queen Latifah gave a powerful rendition of “U.N.I.T.Y.” Next came Method Man representing Wu-Tang Clan and performed “Methon Man,” and Outkast, with Big Boi rapping ATLiens” solo. Busta Rhymes and Spliff Star did new versions of “Put Your Hands Where My Eyes Could See” and “Look at Me Now” before Missy Elliot closed part 2 with “Lose Control.”
Queen Latifah wrapped up the Grammy’s tribute to hip hop by narrating part 3 of the celebration, making way for Nelly and City Spud to perform “Hot in Herre.” Too $hort followed-up with “Blow the Whistle.” Then Swizz Beatz and the Lox performed “We Gonna Make It.”
New artists from the recent years included Lil Baby performing “Freestyle” and Glorilla performing her anthem “F.N.F. (Let’s Go).” Lil Uzi Vert closed the massive tribute with a short snippet from “Just Wanna Rock.”
August 2023 will mark the 50 years of DJ Kool Her and his sister Cindy throwing the first parties in the rec room at 1520 Sedgwick Avenue in the Bronx. It was there that the early hip-hop foundations came together, using two turntables and a mixer. Herc would loop instrumentals to keep b-boys and b-girls dancing, while his MC, Coke La Rock, talked or “toasted” over records to keep the party live.
Check out the footage below.