Inside the ‘GRAMMY Salute to 50 Years of Hip Hop’ Live Concert Special

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Inside the ‘GRAMMY Salute to 50 Years of Hip Hop’ Live Concert Special


The Recording Academy and CBS are celebrating 50 years of hip-hop with one of the biggest musical events of the year, and ET is exclusively giving fans a peek into the magic behind the scenes.

A GRAMMY Salute to 50 Years of Hip Hop features a star-studded lineup of hip-hop legends and GRAMMY-winning artists coming together, including Black Thought, Bun B, Common, De La Soul, Jermaine Dupri, J.J. Fad, Talib Kweli, The Lady Of Rage, LL COOL J, MC Sha-Rock, Monie Love, The Pharcyde, Queen Latifah, Questlove, Rakim, Remy Ma, Uncle Luke, Yo-Yo, and many more.

The music superstars will grace the stage to honor the 50th anniversary of hip-hop and showcase the genre’s profound history and monumental cultural impact worldwide.

As LL Cool J asks in ET’s exclusive look backstage, “Are you ready to celebrate the music that changed the whole world forever?”

The two-hour concert special will feature some of the genre’s biggest pioneers reuniting on the stage to give once-in-a-lifetime performances, including Will Smith and DJ Jazzy Jeff, who will reunite onstage. 

“We’re celebrating 50 years of hip-hop. The goal was always to elevate and really celebrate the culture,” LL Cool J, who serves as a performer and executive producer of the concert special, tells ET. “I just wanted to take a step back and bring these artists to the forefront, give them their moment to shine.”

He added, “I’m here as a fan, singing every song. A lot of people are going to rediscover a lot of music they fell in love with many years ago.”

Jesse Collins, Shawn Gee and Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson of Two One Five Entertainment, Dionne Harmon, Claudine Joseph, Fatima Robinson and Jeannae Rouzan-Clay serve as executive producers alongside LL Cool J, and Marcello Gamma serves as director of the special.

The 2023 GRAMMY Awards hosted a similar celebration earlier this year, with LL Cool J serving as an emcee. 

The 65th annual awards show’s tribute featured The Roots’ Black Thought offering powerful words before the performances commenced. From Run-D.M.C., Rakim and Public Enemy’s Chuck D and Flavor Flav to Ice T, Queen Latifah, Wu-Tang Clan’s Method Man and Too $hort, they all took part in a hip-hop medley showcasing their best hits.

From Busta Rhymes proving he’s still the fastest rapper alive to Nelly bringing back the Band-Aid on his cheek, it was a sight to see. Performers also included Big Boi, Spliff Star, De La Soul, DJ Drama, DJ Jazzy Jeff, Missy Elliott, Future, GloRilla, Grandmaster Flash, Grandmaster Mele Mel & Scorpio/Ethiopian King, Ice-T, Lil Baby, Lil Wayne, The Lox, Rahiem, Salt-N-Pepa and Spinderella and Scarface.

“Multi-generational. Fifty years. From the Bronx to TikTok, to the whole world. We love you, baby,” LL Cool J said to wrap the incredible tribute to hip-hop. “We started in the Bronx and ever since then it’s gone everywhere — to the Five Boroughs, to the West Coast, to the heartland, overseas, to Europe, to Africa, to Asia, TikTok. What else is next?!”

A GRAMMY Salute to 50 Years of Hip Hop airs Sunday, Dec. 10 at 8:30 p.m. ET/8:00 p.m. PT on CBS and will stream live and on-demand on Paramount+. 

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