AceShowbiz - Will Smith was originally going to make his awards show comeback at the Grammys, nearly a year after his infamous Oscars slap. Questlove revealed that the actor was supposed to be part of the tribute celebrating 50 years of hip-hop, but he had to back out because it coincided with the filming of "Bad Boys 4".
Questlove gave away the "spoiler" during an interview on the red carpet ahead of the 2023 Grammy Awards on Sunday, February 5. "I'll give the spoiler alert away. Will Smith was apart of the festivities tonight, but they started shooting 'Bad Boys 4' this week," he told Variety's Marc Malkin. "There were a lot of preliminary shots that he had to do, so we had to lose Will."
While he aimed high by booking Smith, the drummer of The Roots knew since the beginning that it was "a shot in the dark," because the actor is "always shooting movies." He continued, "There was a lot of legit reasons why we couldn't be all inclusive of some people."
The 52-year-old went on noting that the celebration "had a lot of people, and some of them have other jobs," adding that Ice-T, Queen Latifah and LL Cool J were all participating in the tribute but had to "leave their respective shows" to join the celebration.
Questlove also opened up about the creative process for the tribute performance, saying he had only four weeks to listen to all his favorite hip-hop music of all time. While he said the original tribute was going to be 23 minutes long, it has since been cut down to 14 minutes. "It's going to be amazing," he promised viewers on the red carpet.
The tribute performance featured 33 artists from different generations. It included a homage to Nelly's 2002 "Hot in Herre", 1988's "My Mike Sounds Nice" by Salt-N-Pepa and Spinderella, and Busta Rhymes pairing with Spliff Star to recite all the lyrics from his featured jump into Chris Brown's 2011 single "Look at Me Now".
Also joining the performance were Big Boi, De La Soul, Grandmaster Flash, Grandmaster Mele Mel & Scorpio/Ethiopian King, DJ Drama, Future, Lil Baby, Rahiem, Rakim, The Lox, Method Man, Public Enemy, Run DMC, Too Short, Scarface and Swizz Beatz. The performance ended with a production of Lil Uzi Vert's 2022 hit "Just Wanna Rock".