Hip-Hop was represented at the 2023 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony. From Missy Elliott becoming the first female rapper to be inducted, to the godfather of Hip-Hop, the legendary DJ Kool Herc, being inducted by LL COOL J, the moments that celebrated Hip-Hop during its 50th year were plentiful. Check out a list of our three favorite moments below.
DJ Kool Herc, widely recognized as the godfather of Hip-Hop, tearfully accepted his award from LL COOL J. The award, presented separately to the official class of 2023’s inductions, honors “artists whose music and performance style have directly influenced, inspired, and evolved rock & roll and music impacting youth culture,” according to the Rock Hall.
During his induction, LL remembered the fateful August 1973 party, led by DJ Kool Herc, at 1520 Sedgwick Avenue in the Bronx. That gathering is widely regarded as the birthplace of Hip-Hop, and was put together and hosted by Herc's sister Cindy Campbell, widely recognized as the godmother of Hip-Hop.
“It’s a culture that changed my life and changed the lives of millions and millions of people,” LL said. “When Herc first started, there were no accountants or record companies that believed in it. But Herc believed in it... So this year, this is hip-hop's 50th anniversary, so it's all the more appropriate that we are here to honor and recognize one of the founding fathers of hip-hop, DJ Kool Herc.”
Herc was accompanied by Cindy as he accepted his award. Herc named Harry Belafonte, who famously served as the executive producer of the 1984 film Beat Street, as well as James Brown as inspiration. He also thanked Cindy for her contributions. “All the people, man, built me up. But my sister, she needs some props, too.”
Not only did Missy make history as the first female rapper ever inducted into the Rock Hall, an honor she received from legendary rapper/actress Queen Latifah, but it's also the first time her mom has ever seen her perform.
"Fun fact," Missy wrote on Twitter following her performance. "My mom has never seen me perform live before because I said, 'Lord, she's going to be shocked hearing some of these songs live,' but I couldn’t have her miss my induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. I said, 'Momma, close your ears when I say something crazy.'"
Chaka Khan was inducted into the Rock Hall, and to celebrate, she was joined on stage by rapper Common for a dynamic performance of her 1984 classic "I Feel For You," originally produced by Prince. Common confessed to being extremely nervous leading up to the performance. He diligently rehearsed his verse, which was originally performed by Melle Mel, right up to the last moment to ensure he paid fitting tribute to Chaka Khan.
Check out more incredible moments live from backstage below.