When an event is called Word Revolution: Hip Hop Evolution you don't have to tell me much more about it to count me. My love affair with hip hop is no secret. Last night the Grammy Foundation put on the 13th Annual GRAMMY Foundation Music Preservation Project and this year they celebrated hip hop. As the performances started I found myself backstage. To my left was Naughty by Nature, to my right was the Beat Freaks dance crew while Kid Capri and DJ Skee were on stage warming up the crowd with songs like Black & Yellow. When Naughty by Nature went on stage and into ';Hip Hop Hooray' everyone got nostalgic real quick. Even though it was orchestra seating, people got up on their feet like it was a basement party in Brooklyn! When Treach took his shirt off it felt a little more like Chippendale's but obviously the women in the crowd didn't mind that at all. Next up on stage was Arrested Development and when they sung ';Everyday People' so many people sang along it sounded like a karaoke night. Phife from Tribe Called Quest represented for his absent group members and performed his verses and chorus' from classics like ';Check The Rhyme'. The host of the evening was my friend Kevin Frazier from Entertainment Tonight who isn't exactly the first thing that comes to mind when you think of hip hop. He joked around about that though saying even though he can be corny- listening to hip hop always makes him feel cooler.
Throughout the night Neil Portnow, the president of the Academy, came out to talk about the significance of hip hop and I would've paid to see him bust out break dancing in that suit. We did get to enjoy a cover of ';Killing Me Softly' by Marsha Ambrosius and Lil Mama doing ';Lip Gloss' followed by MC Lyte doing a medley of her hits including ';Ruff Neck'. One of my
favorite moments of the night came when Paul Wall covered the Run DMC and Aerosmith's ';Walk This Way'. That collaboration was definitely one of the biggest moments in the evolution of hip hop and Paul had that big grill smile going through the whole song.
DJ Jazzy Jeff closed out the night with a set of some of the most classic hip hop songs and even some of the old soul songs they were sampled from. It seems only fitting Jeff would cap the night considering him and Will Smith won the first ever Grammy for
hip hop back in 1989. Parents Just Don't Understand won for best rap performance. I think it's safe to say every parent understands how big hip hop is.