Inside ‘A Grammy Salute to 50 Years of Hip-Hop’ Concert Special, Including Full-Circle DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince Reunion

In a preview clip for the Recording Academy’s upcoming “A Grammy Salute to 50 Years of Hip-Hop,” rap pioneer Big Daddy Kane succinctly sums up the evening’s significance: “This night is something special. You get to see so many generations of hip-hop artists on one stage. That shows unity, and I think it’s beautiful.”

When the telecast airs this Sunday (Dec. 10) at 8:30 p.m. ET/8 p.m. PT on CBS and Paramount+, viewers will see and hear for themselves just how special a night it was. Over the course of two hours, a who’s who of rap legends, DJs and next-gen stars numbering close to 60 — from Roxanne Shanté, De La Soul, Too $hort, Queen Latifah, MC Lyte and Common to Nelly, Rick Ross, 2 Chainz, Gunna, Latto, GloRilla and more in between — came together to rap their way through a 50-year refresher course/living history lesson for OG and current fans alike. Or what the Recording Academy is billing as a “once-in-a-lifetime live concert special.”

[embedded content]

Of course, two hours isn’t long enough to fully encompass all of rap’s trailblazing artists, legacy-building moments and cultural impact. That’s something the special’s host and executive producer LL COOL J addressed in his opening remarks during the taping of the special at Hollywood Park’s YouTube Theater in Inglewood, Calif., on Nov. 8.

“Are you all ready to celebrate the music that changed the whole world forever?” he asked the enthusiastic audience. LL, who also performs on the special, then noted, “And while it’s not possible to have every [rap] artist here, it’s flowers for all!”

Monie Love, Common, and Queen Latifah

Monie Love, Common, and Queen Latifah attend A GRAMMY Salute to 50 Years of Hip-Hop at YouTube Theater on Nov. 8, 2023 in Inglewood, Calif.

Monica Schipper/Getty Images for The Recording Academy

[embedded content]

The first flowers of the evening saluted the women of hip-hop during a roof-raising segment that included Queen Latifah, Monie Love, Spinderella, MC Lyte and Remy Ma, as well as rap touchstones such as Latifah and Love’s 1989 gem “Ladies First.” Next up: a salute to hip-hop’s regional roots around the country, ranging from New York, Atlanta and Texas to Memphis, Miami and the West Coast. Among those repping for their regions were Jermaine Dupri, Jeezy, T.I., Boosie Badazz, Public Enemy’s Chuck D and Flavor Flav, E-40 and Warren G

Chloe Bailey, Jennifer Hudson and Questlove, who also executive produced the special, were among the artists who introduced the various concert segments. D-Nice and Doug E. Fresh saluted the genre greats who are no longer here.

[embedded content]

Viewers of “A Grammy Salute to 50 Years of Hip-Hop” will also be treated to performances by other trailblazing rap groups such as De La Soul, Arrested Development and Digable Planets. But by far, one of the buzziest and most anticipated performances of the evening was delivered by Will Smith and DJ Jazzy Jeff. In a full-circle moment, the pair reunited as DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince. They received the first-ever Grammy for best rap performance in 1989. However, the duo boycotted that year’s ceremony to protest the category presentation not being televised. Now, some 34 years later, Jeff and Smith proved what a missed opportunity that was as they reeled off several hits — including “Summertime,” “Gettin’ Jiggy Wit It,” “Miami” and the theme song for Smith’s ‘90s television series The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air — to audience screams and a sustained standing ovation.

“It’s important for the Recording Academy to commemorate [50 years of hip-hop] because it’s such a huge part of our industry,” says the organization’s CEO Harvey Mason jr. in the preview clip. “It’s the authenticity. It’s the storytelling. It’s the emotion that has permeated a lot of other genres.”

This post was originally published on this site