The Hip-Hop 50 tribute during last night’s Grammys was a highlight of the annual award show, but the omission of artists representing different regions and eras of rap — including many Black women rappers — left some viewers disappointed.
On the Grammy red carpet, Questlove talked to ESSENCE about producing the tribute, explaining that his original iteration was far more expansive.
“It took about four weeks to put this together. My first draft was closer to 20 minutes and Jesse Collins wasn’t having that. He was like, ‘There’s not enough budget in the world to clear all these songs and all these flights.’ Still, it’s 14 minutes and we’re starting from the beginning, from Grand Master Flash to Future — from Flash to the Future and everything in between. And I’m glad that I started out when Hip-Hop was taboo and now we not only have a seat at the table, we are the table.”
Future wasn’t actually a part of the 14-minute set, which was heavily male dominated, and included the likes of Nelly, Lil Baby, Lil Uzi Vert, Busta Rhymes, Too Short, Flava Flave, Run DMC, and De la Soul. The tribute also notably included female rap pioneers like Queen Latifah and Salt-n-Pepa, musical genius Missy Elliott, and one of the latest talents to the scene Glorilla. Still, the sentiment Kevin Powell expressed on Twitter stands, “#Grammys hip-hop at 50 tribute was dope. But GLARING the omissions of West Coast hip-hop except for Too Short, no New Orleans or Florida representation, no Latinx folks at all far as I could see. Black Americans, West Indians, Latinx created hip-hop together in NYC, just a fact.”
Watch the interview in the video above.