Dr. Dre, Lil Wayne, Snoop Dogg, Light Up Grammy Black Music Event3 min read
With no offense intended, the inaugural Black Music Collective Grammy-Week Throwdown was the highlight of last year’s Grammy Week — with performances from Summer Walker, John Legend, Mooney Long and others, and there was a general positive and proud vibe. The vibe for the whole event that the Academy decided to make it bigger this year.
Held at the Hollywood Palladium, it was a mini-musicacare event of sorts, where four individuals were honored with the inaugural Global Impact Awards — Drs. Dre, Missy Elliott, Lil Wayne and Epic Records chairman-CEO Sylvia Rhone — and didn’t perform themselves, but instead each got a short tribute set performed by other artists. It was an ambitious move, and there were a few production-related hiccups, but they were far outweighed by the bright moments — and it’s no coincidence that the honorees hail from a golden age of hip-hop, the early ’90s, which is clearly the kind of music that was what many in the audience had grown up with.
Lifetime achievement-type awards are a relatively novel situation for hip-hop artists. “To tell you the truth, I was a little nervous when Harvey called me about the award because I wondered if he knew something I didn’t,” Dre deadpanned during his acceptance speech, referring to Recording Academy head Harvey Mason Jr. I was thinking to myself that they usually give dead people this kind of shit.
The highlight? Paying homage to Snoop Dogg Dre — with fellow Death Row alum Kurupt, Ty Dolla $egon — brought the house down with a medley of Snoop-Drey hits, including at least two that were introduced as “Taking It Back to 1993,” “Deep cover,” along with “Nothing But Aggie Thang,” and “Beach Please,” while Ty covered for the late Nate Dogg on “Ain’t No Fun.”
The three-part tribute to Missy Elliott sees Chloe Bailey perform “One In A Million” (a breakthrough hit by Elliott and Timbaland for Aaliyah), then Elliott shows off her powerful pipes on longtime protege Tweet “Oops (Oh My)” and ends with Either Ciara Elliott-Cow writing “Step 1,2.”
The first performance of the evening began with the aforementioned production-related hiccup (there was five minutes of awkward silence onstage after Busta announced Rhymes, but he performed a medley of vintage fiery hits — including “Put Your Hands Where I Can See” and a “Look lightning fast rapping on “At Me Now” – that had the audience off their seats. He was performing as a tribute to Ron, who presided over his rapid rise and peak years as president of Elektra Records.
Elliott said, “It’ll never get old to me, I’ve won so many awards and I feel the same way…” before choking up and pausing for several long moments, “Anyone who knows me knows I cry all the time. ‘ ,” he laughed before singling out manager Mona Scott and Ron, saying of the latter, “He never told me, he never told me ‘you’ve got to lose weight’” — another pause — “He never told me ‘you’ve got to do your Change the record… and I appreciate you for that. I thank you because I’m standing here.
And finally, Lil Wayne got a tribute set from 2 Chainz and Tiger — and might actually be the most moving speech of an evening filled with them.
For an artist famous for his imaginative wordplay and brain-bending rhymes, Wayne — one of the most commercially and critically successful artists of any genre of the last 30 years — kept things simple, in bold relief: After thanking his family, Cash Money Records and all his Children and their mothers, he said, “Where I come from, we don’t get respect,” he said several times, shaking his head and visibly choking up. He concluded by saying “I’m nothing without you — thank you, thank you, thank you,” and dropped the mic.