Will Smith And DJ Jazzy Jeff Set To Reunite for ‘A Grammy Salute to 50 Years of Hip-Hop’

BY Dora Abena Dzaka November 3, 2023 5:18 PM EDT
Photo Source: Instagram/@willsmith

According to Billboard, Will Smith and Jeffrey Allen Townes famed as DJ Jazzy Jeff, will be performing live in a huge homage to hip-hop culture and music on November 8 at the YouTube Theater in Inglewood, California.

The duo would be joined by other legendary hip-hop artistes from different eras, including Big Daddy Kane, Arrested Development, LL Cool J, Monie Love, Rakim, Juvenile, MC Lyte, Jermaine Dupri, Queen Latifah, Warren G, Questlove, and Black Thought from The Roots, T.I., Three 6 Mafia, De La Soul, Cypress Hill, The Lady of Rage, Talib Kweli, Spinderella, 2 Chainz, The Pharcyde, and Too $hort.

Townes and Smith have particular ties to the Grammy Awards. In 1989, the pair received the first Grammy Award for Best Rap Performance for their song Parents Just Don’t Understand. However, they chose not to attend the ceremony because it was not a sponsored event. They performed I Think I Can Beat Mike Tyson on the Grammy Awards stage the following year, making history as the first rap group to do so.

The extensive hip-hop tribute show at the 2023 Grammy Awards will continue in this special. Questlove, who is also the musical director and chief curator, organized a round-robin performance of prominent rap artistes, including De La Soul, Salt-N-Pepa, Run DMC, Lil Baby, and GloRilla, during a 15-minute tribute. On November 8, Questlove will make a comeback as the co-curator of the special taping.

One of Smith’s first significant public appearances since the 2022 Academy Awards, when he shocked everyone by slapping comedian Chris Rock over a joke the comic made about Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, during the telecast, will be the salute.

Smith is utilizing his first love—music—to ‘re-enter’ the spotlight, despite the fact that the Oscar-winning rapper-turned-actor has mostly avoided the public eye since the scandalous incident.

The Smith-hosted podcast series “Class of ’88,” which explores hip-hop’s rise to popularity, debuted last month on Audible | Wondery. Townes is the featured guest on the first episode of the podcast, which also features Salt-N-Pepa, Rakim, Chuck D, and Rick Rubin.