Questlove Details Why Some Artists Didn't Perform For Hip Hop 50th Grammy Tribute

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13th Annual Root 100 Gala
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - DECEMBER 08: Questlove speaks onstage during the 13th Annual Root 100 Gala at The Apollo Theater on December 08, 2022 in New York City. (Photo by Arturo Holmes/Getty Images)

He said some artists declined to because they didn't want to be seen as "old school." Others gave "who all gon' be there" energy.

It was a massive celebration of Hip Hop on the Grammy stage last weekend, and Questlove is answering fans questions about the performance. Dozens of hitmakers from varying generations of the culture joined together to revisit our favorite classics. This year marks Hip Hop's 50th Anniversary, so it was expected to be a performance unlike any other we've seen at the ceremony. Questlove helped co-curate the event, and after it aired, he was inundated with queries about why certain artists were noticeably absent.

Quest went into detail about the process on Twitter. Off the bat, he said missing artists were either 1) already booked, 2) declined the offer, or 3) "a third option im not gonna get into." He added, "Or we made a decision to wait for the 2 hour August taping." The Roots icon also explained why they decided not to do a memorial tribute for those that passed away.

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - FEBRUARY 05: (FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY) Questlove performs onstage during the 65th GRAMMY Awards at Arena on February 05, 2023 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by JC Olivera/WireImage)
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According to Questlove, it was more important to honor the artists who are still living. Additionally, "For starters I learned with VH1 Honors not all rappers are good MCs and bad karaoke is a danger slope. And WAY too many legends passed so someone's estate was gonna be heated. this went through a crazy evolution. all my suggestions were 20 min presentations with Breakbeats/Graf Legends/Dancers/DJ/Beatboxers----you'll be shocked how fast 25-40 secs goes by and you don't even get the halfway mark of 1995l remember 1973 to 2023 was the goal."

There were also conversations about having all women, but Quest suggested that tensions kept that from materializing. "[And] this is NOT leading to a tired narrative that women don't get along because there MORE concerns on the men side of things too (happiest moment seeing LL & Ice T just chillin---)---but yeah the most asked question was 'who all gone be there?' which is understandable."

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"We had a criteria we wanted to follow: alive? harmonizing? turntablism? fighting shape? NYC? LA? BAY? ATL? NAWLINS? HOUSTON? MIDWEST born before 1960? born after 1995? Superlyrical? Stylistic? Original? generally known by at least 2 generations?" Later, someone questioned why there wasn't any representation of artists from the 2010s. Questlove replied, "Because they said 'no', or they walked out." Check out Questlove answering fans' questions below.

About The Author
Erika Marie is a seasoned journalist, editor, and ghostwriter who works predominantly in the fields of music, spirituality, mental health advocacy, and social activism. The Los Angeles editor, storyteller, and activist has been involved in the behind-the-scenes workings of the entertainment industry for nearly two decades. E.M. attempts to write stories that are compelling while remaining informative and respectful. She's an advocate of lyrical witticism & the power of the pen. Favorites: Motown, New Jack Swing, '90s R&B, Hip Hop, Indie Rock, & Punk; Funk, Soul, Harlem Renaissance Jazz greats, and artists who innovate, not simply replicate.