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A GRAMMY Salute to 50 Years of Hip-Hop

Source: Frazer Harrison / Getty

The Grammy Awards aired a special tribute to Hip-Hop’s 50th anniversary with a star-studded lineup that included Will Smith and Queen Latifah.

On Sunday night (December 10), the Recording Academy and CBS aired A GRAMMY Salute to 50 Years of Hip-Hop, a two-hour special dedicated to honoring the music and the culture that started in the Bronx in the early 1970s. The special was broadcast on CBS and showcased many of the legendary artists that made the culture what it is in medley performances, with Will Smith making a special appearance to reunite with DJ Jazzy Jeff for a performance as the Fresh Prince.

The pair were introduced by Questlove of The Roots. “In a year and a night full of hip-hop moments, this is a big one,” says Questlove who delved into their history. “I grew up idolizing these two from my hometown of Illadelpho. They were the first artist to ever receive a Grammy award for hip-hop. Back then, they weren’t invited to perform or accept their award on camera, which led to the hip-hop community sitting things out that year. But thankfully, a year later, their hip-hop invitation did show up and they did become the first hip-hop group to ever perform at the Grammy Awards.” The duo then captivated the crowd with a medley of their hits including “Brand New Funk” from their 1988 debut album and the theme song from Smith’s classic TV show The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.

Other guests holding court on the mic at the event at Inglewood’s YouTube theater included Queen Latifah leading a medley of women in Hip-Hop, Public Enemy, Rakim, Doug E. Fresh, MC Lyte, Rick Ross, Jeezy, Jermaine Dupri, YG, Too Short, E-40, De La Soul, Akon, Black Thought, Nelly, Gunna and Chance the Rapper. Celebrities such as Regina King, Seth Rogen, and Lin-Manuel Miranda participated in introducing some of the medley performances during the special.

LL Cool J, who was an executive producer of the special along with Questlove and Shawn Gee of Two One Five Entertainment, Jesse Collins Entertainment, Dionne Harmon, Claudine Joseph, Fatima Robinson, and Jeannae Rouzan-Clay expressed his gratitude for being part of making it happen. “We’re celebrating 50 years of hip-hop. The goal was always to elevate and really celebrate the culture,” he said.

A GRAMMY Salute to 50 Years of Hip Hop is currently available on demand at Paramount+. 


Will Smith, Queen Latifah Head Up Grammys HipHop50 Tribute  was originally published on

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