We know your timelines must be overrun with Grammys highlights, and we’re offering another from Questlove. The Roots icon helped co-curate the ceremony’s tribute for Hip Hop’s 50th Anniversary, and it was a sight to behold. Generations of the culture shared the stage as pioneers revisited their classic hits. Younger artists like Lil Uzi Vert even did their famed TikTok dances. It’s just one of the many ways Hip Hop will be celebrated this year, but fans noticed there were hitmakers missing from the Grammy honor.
Understandably, not everyone could be included in the tribute. Some artists have already taken to social media to verbalize their disappointment after being excluded. According to Questlove, Will Smith was supposed to join the dozens of other Hip Hop pioneers on stage. However, his prior engagement kept him from the Grammys this year.
“I’ll give the spoiler alert away. Will Smith was a part of the festivities tonight, but they started shooting ‘Bad Boys 4’ this week,” Quest told Variety while on the Grammys red carpet. “There were a lot of preliminary shots that he had to do, so we had to lose Will.” He also recognized that getting Smith was a “shot in the dark” because the actor consistently works on films. Additionally, others like LL Cool J, Ice-T, and Queen Latifah dipped out on filming their television shows to make the tribute.
When chatting with Essence, Questlove further shared that the original collaborative performance was slated for a longer running time. “It took about four weeks to put this together,” he said. “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.’”
Although he may not have received the time he wanted, he made it work. “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.”
Smith’s appearance at the Grammys would have been his first live music performance since his infamous Oscars moment. Last year’s controversy set him in a negative light, but it seems that he has put it all behind him.