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Grammys To Celebrate Hip-Hops 50th Anniversary With Star-Studded Segment

Courtesy Photo The Recording Academy
The Recording Academy will celebrate the 50th anniversary of hip-hop on Sunday with a star-studded tribute.

To showcase the rich history of the genre and its continued global influence, the 65th Annual Grammy Awards will feature performances by a slew of its most exciting, eclectic and impactful artists.

“For five decades, hip-hop has not only been a defining force in music, but a major influence on our culture,” Harvey Mason Jr., CEO of the Recording Academy, said in a statement. “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 yearlong celebration of this essential genre of music.”

Big Boi, Busta Rhymes with Spliff Star, De La Soul, DJ Drama, DJ Jazzy Jeff, Missy Elliott, Future, GloRilla, Grandmaster Flash, Grandmaster Mele Mel & Scorpio/Ethiopian King, Ice-T, Lil Baby, Lil Wayne, The Lox, Method Man, Nelly, Public Enemy, Queen Latifah, Rahiem, Rakim, RUN-DMC, Salt-N-Pepa and Spinderella, Scarface, Swizz Beatz and Too $hort will perform.

Rapper LL Cool J — who will also perform and give a dedication to the art form — will introduce the Questlove-produced segment. The Roots will provide backing music, and the hip-hop ensemble Black Thought will provide narration.

CBS will broadcast the show live from Los Angeles' Arena. In addition, it will be available to stream live and on-demand on Paramount+.

Check your local listings for further information.

Charlie Thomas, Member of Legendary Soul Group the Drifters, Dies at 85

SoloEntCC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Charlie Thomas, a prominent member of the golden-era lineup of the R&B group the Drifters in the 1960s, died on Tuesday (Jan. 31). He was 85.

The Rock & Roll Hall of Famer, who sang on two of the group's top 40 hits — 1961's "Sweets for My Sweet" and "When My Little Girl Is Smiling" (1962) — had been battling liver cancer.

Originally formed as a backing group for Clyde Lensley McPhatte, one of the doo-wop and R&B circuit's most popular acts in the ’50s, the Drifters have played an outsized role in music history through the group's various incarnations, lineups and spin-offs.

Thomas was an original member of the second iteration of the band, formed in 1958 when the vocal group he was part of (The Five Crowns) was hired to become the new Drifters by the group's manager George Treadwell following a falling out with the original members over low pay and other issues.  

The group featured legendary singer Ben E. King and was popularly known as Ben E. King and the Drifters. Thomas remained in the group until 1967, only to return to a different lineup later.

Eventually, he formed his own version of the group. Charlie Thomas' Drifters toured incessantly around the world throughout the new millennium until sickness sidelined the singer.

The Lynchburg, Virginia, native was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of fame in 1988, along with six other former members of the Drifters, whose membership spanned three eras of the band.

Missy Elliott Nominated for Rock & Roll Hall of Fame

Missy "Misdemeanor" Elliott
Her hometown Portsmouth, Virginia, named a street after her last year but now hip-hop trailblazer Missy Elliott is in the running for a slightly bigger honor.

The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame revealed its 2023 nominees on Wednesday, and the rapper was selected to compete for one of music's most prestigious accolades in her first year of eligibility for induction.

In its bio for the musician, the Rock Hall credited Elliott, who sometimes utilizes the sobriquet "Misdemeanor," with crafting the Virginia Beach sound that took over radio's airwaves in the late 1990s and 2000s.

She established herself as an in-demand songwriter and producer and founded her own record label, all before breaking out as a platinum-selling solo star. Elliott forged new paths for women in the music industry and society at large through her behind-the-scenes mastery and unapologetic ownership of her body, her sexual desires, and her Blackness in her music.

Elliot was joined in representing hip-hop and R&B on the list of nominees by eclectic, genre-defying hip-hop group A Tribe Called Quest and 1970s soul supergroup, The Spinners, in their second and fourth appearances respectively after previously falling to make the cut.
The Spinners
A Tribe Called Quest

An individual artist or band must have released its first commercial recording at least 25 years prior to the year of nomination to be eligible.

Other first-time nominees on the list were country music legend Willie Nelson, pop princess Cyndi Lauper, rock singer-songwriter Cheryl Crow and Detroit rock duo The White Stripes, English rockers Joy Division/New Order, dance-pop icon George Michael and singer-songwriter Warren Zevon.

“This remarkable list of Nominees reflects the diverse artists and music that the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame honors and celebrates,” said John Sykes, Chairman of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Foundation. “These artists have created their own sounds that have impacted generations and influenced countless others that have followed in their footsteps.”

The inductees will be announced in May, with the induction ceremony set to take place later this fall.

Find the complete list of 2023 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame nominees pictured below: