THE 50th anniversary of hip-hop was celebrated in style during this year’s Grammy Awards on Sunday night (Monday in Malaysia). Easily one of the best performances of the evening, the tribute featured some of the biggest names in hip-hop sharing the stage together, and was expertly planned and executed by legendary producer Questlove.
The celebratory tribute to the genre featured performances by Missy Elliott, Run-DMC, LL Cool J, The Roots, Big Boi, Busta Rhymes, GloRilla, Rakim, Ice-T, Lil Baby, GloRilla, Lil Uzi Vert, and more. However, there was one big name from 90s-era hip-hop who was distinctly absent from the event.
When asked on the red carpet before the ceremony who he wanted to be in the tribute, Questlove was unable to come up with a suitable choice.
He said: “I’ll give the spoiler alert away: Will Smith was a part of the festivities tonight, but they started shooting Bad Boys 4 already this week. There’s a lot of preliminary shots that he had to do, so we had to lose Will. That was going to be a surprise moment.”
Questlove claimed he concurred with Smith’s choice to prioritise filming. Smith is “always shooting movies,“ the award-winning producer said, so obtaining him for the homage was “a shot in the dark.”
According to Questlove, the initial homage originally was scheduled for 23 minutes, before being shortened to 14 minutes following Smith’s departure.
Despite this, the concert continued without Smith. He did mention that a few of the performers had to miss their own shows to take part in the event.
He said: “We had a lot of people, and some of them have other jobs. [Queen] Latifah and LL [Cool J] had to leave their respective shows to come and do this, so there were a lot of legit reasons why we couldn’t be all-inclusive of some people.”