A few years ago, back in time; some kids thought up some MC rhymes.
Actually, it was just about 50 years ago that Clive Campbell, aka DJ Kool Herc, and his sister Cindy threw a party in the recreation room at 1520 Sedgwick Avenue — widely accepted as the birthplace of hip-hop. With the 50th anniversary of that party swiftly approaching, 2023 has become a year of celebrations of the world-changing genre and culture called hip-hop, and the Grammys are no exception.
The 2023 Grammy Awards honored the 50th anniversary of hip-hop with a tribute hosted by none other than LL Cool J, who has become the de facto torchbearer for the Golden Era of the ’80s and early ’90s when hip-hop went from being a regional fad to a global phenomenon.
The performance included contributions from across the hip-hop landscape, with old-schoolers like Grandmaster Flash, Grandmaster Melle Mel, Rakim, RUN-DMC, and Salt-N-Pepa mashing up with newjacks like Future, GloRilla, and Lil Baby. All-timers like Busta Rhymes, De La Soul, Missy Elliott, Method Man, Nelly, and Too Short bridged the gaps, all conducted by Questlove of The Roots and his bandmate Black Thought, who provided narration.
“The Message,” “The King Of Rock,” “Radio,” “Rock The Bells,” “My Mic Sounds Nice,” “My Melody,” “BUDDY,” “Mind Playing Tricks On Me,” “UNITY,” and more foundational hits set things off but the performance ran the gamut from “ATLiens,” “Put Your Hands Where My Eyes Where My Eyes Could See,” and “Outta Control” to “F.N.F. (Let’s Go)” and “Just Wanna Rock.” Oddly, though, the performance skipped straight from The LOX performing “We Gonna Make It” to Lil Baby playing “Freestyle,” leaving just about a whole decade and a half on the table.
You can check out clips from the performance above and see the full list of Grammy winners here.