Grandmaster Flash represented hip-hop to the fullest on Sunday night at the Grammys. Questlove’s Hip Hop 50 segment paid tribute to everyone in hip-hop, from pioneers like Grandmaster Flash to newcomers like GloRilla. Ultimately, the outcome was a proper representation of hip-hop culture, which the Grammys have undoubtedly struggled with since 1989. However, it was overall a beautiful moment that acknowledged the contributions of artists, like LL Cool J and Lil Uzi Vert, in transforming the culture over the years.
Drake undoubtedly shaped hip-hop in the past decade, though he’s often faced criticism for being too pop. Still, Grandmaster Flash said it’s part of Drake’s brilliance. During a conversation with Billboard on the Red Carpet of the Grammys, he praised Drake as a “genius” for his versatility.
“He is probably the only rapper, and I want to speak on his talent because he’s a great rapper, but he’s the only one, in my opinion, that’s daring enough to rap on a trap beat, to rap on a disco beat, to rap on ballad beat,” Grandmaster Flash said. “I would call it like a Prince formula. When Prince makes records, it does not sound like his last record. Drake is daring enough to rap on all different types of beats. I think he’s a consummate genius.”
That’s undoubtedly a huge compliment coming from a founding father of hip-hop. Drake has yet to respond but he’s certainly showcased his ability to float on any beat as naturally as the next. Last year, he released his dance album, Honestly, Nevermind. Though it polarized fans, its success speaks directly to Grandmaster Flash’s assessment of Drake.
Last night, Drake took home his first Grammy award in four years, despite not submitting any music for nominations. His contributions to Future’s “WAIT FOR U” alongside Tems helped secure the Grammy for Best Melodic Rap Performance.
Grandmaster Flash clearly embraces the new generation of artists who came after him. Last year, he praised Coi Leray for sampling “The Message” in her viral hit, “Players” “When I got a call saying this girl wanted to resurrect the beat of a song from my past – I wanted to learn more,” he wrote on Instagram last year. “Then when I spoke with & met @coileray, I TOTALLY got it. Go listen to PLAYERS by Coi Leray now.”