65 Years of the GRAMMYs, 50 Years of Hip-Hop


Image Courtesy of Flickr

Andrea Crisp, Staff Writer

February 5, 2023 was a huge day for Black music.

With show stopping performances by body positivity champion Lizzo, JAY-Z, John Legend, DJ Khaled, and more, the establishment of the Dr. Dre Global Impact Award, Best New Artist going to up-and-coming jazz singer Samara Joy, and Beyoncé breaking the record for the most GRAMMY wins in history, African-American artists in the music industry showed up and showed out at the 65th annual Grammy Awards.

But, as emphasized by legendary rapper LL COOL J, August 11, 1973 was also a huge day for Black music.

This year marks the semicentennial of hip hop, an intrinsically Black genre that has swept across the nation and the globe since the very beginning. So, following the presentation of the Dr. Dre Global Humanitarian award, this year’s GRAMMYs honored 50 years of hip-hop with an iconic performance showcasing the evolution and influence of a genre born in the west Bronx.

Recording Academy CEO Harvey Mason jr. calls the tribute performance “just the beginning of [a] year-long celebration of this essential genre of music,” acknowledging its immense influence on “art, fashion, sport, politics, and society”.

Beginning with narration by Black Thought, the star-studded performance produced by Questlove featured various hip-hop legends, including Big Boi, Busta Rhymes, Ice-T, Nelly, LL COOL J, Queen Latifah, Public Enemy, RUN-DMC, Salt-N-Pepa, GloRilla, Lil Baby, Lil Wayne, Future, the Roots, and Missy “Misdemeanor” Elliott, who recently became the first female rapper and third hip-hop artist to be inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame.

The Recording Academy and Paramount Global intend to continue celebrating this five-decade anniversary throughout the rest of 2023, including a special event on CBS later this year.

Last Sunday, Kim Petras also made history as the first transgender woman to receive the GRAMMY for best pop duo/group performance, alongside first openly nonbinary recipient Sam Smith.