Long Island hip-hop legends star in Grammy tribute
Long Island was in full effect at Sunday’s Grammy Awards show, which honored the 50th anniversary of hip-hop with a live performance segment that included local heroes Public Enemy, De La Soul, Rakim and Busta Rhymes.
The multi-artist tribute, curated by Questlove and featuring his band, The Roots, was preceded by Bay Shore native LL Cool J presenting Dr. Dre a new award bearing his name, the Dr. Dre Global Impact Award. “This is the 50th anniversary of hip-hop, make some noise for hip-hop,” Dre said during his acceptance speech. “And where would I be without it? Where would a lot of people in here be without hip-hop?"
That led into a 13-minute segment with appearances from artists across hip-hop’s long history, from LL Cool J himself — one of the genre’s first crossover stars — to contemporaries such as Lil Baby and GloRilla. Many in the audience, including Jay-Z, seemed stunned by the onstage turnout and rapped along with the music. For Long Islanders watching at home, the telecast cemented the region’s many contributions to an enduring and still-evolving musical art form.
The roughly chronological sequence began with such early luminaries as Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five and Run-D.M.C. The pioneering female rap duo Salt-N-Pepa performed “My Mic Sounds Nice,” complete with backup dancers in tracksuits. That segued into a surprise appearance from Rakim, the Wyandanch rapper of the groundbreaking duo Eric B. and Rakim, who delivered a snippet of their classic track “Eric B. Is President.”
Other Long Island performers included Public Enemy, of Roosevelt — featuring Chuck D and a dependably agitated Flavor Flav on “Rebel Without a Pause" — and rapper Posdnuos of the Amityville trio De La Soul, who ran quickly through “Buddy.” Uniondale’s Busta Rhymes also showed up and sped through one of his motormouth performances, drawing some of the segment’s loudest cheers.
“Multigenerational,” LL Cool J hollered at the medley’s end as all the performers gathered on stage. “We’re celebrating the happy 50th anniversary of hip-hop, baby! We love you!”
GRAMMY RATINGS UP
An estimated 12.4 million people tuned in to watch Sunday's Grammy Awards. That's up from the pandemic-affected broadcasts of the last two years, the Nielsen company said on Monday. Live viewership was 8.8 million in 2021 and 8.9 million in 2022.
While the Grammys bounced back, the telecast didn't reach the viewership levels of pre-COVID days. Music's showcase night was seen by 18.7 million people in 2020.
Live television viewership has declined across the board over the past few years, with pro football one of the few events to buck the trend. — AP