The main thrust of our annual Hip Hop Honors show is simple. Great music was made a long time ago, so we make more great music to salute both its impact and endurance. Celebration is in the air because artists are getting well-deserved recognition. From the red carpet frenzy to the audience shout-alongs to the after-party chatter, everyone’s hyped because their favorite MCs are in the center ring, getting the props that they’ve truly earned. All night long, it’s all about a little thing called joy.
You could feel it from the way that Busta Rhymes was getting hugged by others on the carpet. You could feel it by the way Kid Rock was laughing in the lounge with the Sugarhill Gang’s Wonder Mike. You could feel it by the way Fat Joe shook his rump in the ballroom’s mezzanine during Slick Rick’s “La Di Da Di.” Someone asked De La Soul’s DJ Mase how he felt when the trio was arriving at the start of the evening. “Just like Campbell’s soup,” he said, “MMM, MMM good.”
There were lots of on-stage highlights, and in the next few days we’re going to offer up some performance clips so you can get psyched for this Monday night, when the show premieres on VH1 at 10 pm. ET. Tomorrow, Friday, there will be load of photos from the festivities here in the blog, and on our Hip Hop Honors site.
Here are a few things to be on the look out for when you tune-in on Monday night.
1. All the energy that bounds around the room when Cypress Hill and their pals Mack 10, Gym Class Heroes, and Fat Joe blast through “The Phuncky Feel One” and “Insane in the Brain.” Now that’s the way to start a show.
2. The Strong Island camaraderie of Public Enemy’s Chuck D and Flavor Flav kicking their way through “Stakes is High” during the De La part of the show. Earlier in the night Flav told me it was great to bounce rhymes off of Chuck again.
3. The way Gnarls Barkley’s Cee-lo did his best crooning routine in a heartfelt nod to the late Isaac Hayes during “The Look of Love.” It was mellow enough to picture him singing it while sporting a smoking jacket and pipe.
4. The whole joint rocking a collective “Na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na” when De La Soul commanded the audience to fill in the refrain to the forever exuberant “Me, Myself and I.”
5. Luther Campbell putting his whole heart into a fervent intro of Too $hort. Any crew would be lucky to have Mr. Parental Advisory as a hype man.
6. Eve singing about that slice of pizza in Slick Rick’s “Mona Lisa.”
There’s lots of other cool stuff, too, of course. Keep your eye on the blog. It’s coming