As amazing as the GRAMMYs 50th-anniversary tribute to Hip-Hop was, it was set to be even bigger. Questlove spoke to Variety and revealed that Will Smith was originally supposed to be in the performance.
“I’ll give the spoiler alert away. Will Smith was apart of the festivities tonight, but they started shooting Bad Boys 4 this week,” Questlove said. “There were a lot of preliminary shots that he had to do, so we had to lose Will.”
The performance would have been Will Smith’s first appearance at an awards show since the infamous Oscars incident, which ironically happened before Questlove accepted his Oscar.
Despite not having The Fresh Prince, Questlove did that. The GRAMMYs hosted a special celebration of the 50th anniversary of hip-hop and tapped the legendary roots drummer as the producer.
Performers for the celebration of Hip-Hop include Big Boi, Busta Rhymes, Spliff Star, De la Soul, DJ Drama, DJ Jazzy Jeff, Missy Elliott, Future, GloRilla, Grandmaster Flash, Melle Mel, Furious 5, Ice T, Lil Baby, The Lox, Method Man, Nelly, Public Enemy, Queen Latifah, Rakim, Run DMC, Salt N Pepa, DJ Spinderella, Scarface, and Too Short.
LL COOL J introduced the section, performed, and dedicated himself to hip-hop. Black Thought gave the narration.
“For five decades, hip-hop has not only been a defining force in music, but a major influence on our culture,” said Harvey Mason jr., CEO of the Recording Academy. “Its contributions to art, fashion, sport, politics, and society cannot be overstated. I’m so proud that we are honoring it in such a spectacular way on the GRAMMY stage. It is just the beginning of our year-long celebration of this essential genre of music.”
You can see the iconic performance below.