D.J. Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince are set to reunite at A Grammy Salute to 50 Years of Hip-Hop, which will tape on Nov. 8 at YouTube Theater in Inglewood, Calif. It will mark one of Will Smith’s first major public events since his infamous slap of Chris Rock at the 94th annual Academy Awards in March 2022.
During the ceremony, Smith walked onstage and slapped Rock across the face after Rock made a joke about Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, whose head was shaved due to alopecia areata. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences banned Smith from attending its events for a decade as punishment.
Here, the mood will be strictly celebratory, which could make it a safe space for Smith to begin his gradual re-emergence into the public eye. D.J. Jazzy Jeff and The Fresh Prince joins a packed line-up of performers that includes: Arrested Development, Big Daddy Kane, Black Sheep, Cypress Hill, Digable Planets, DJ Quik, E-40, GloRilla, Gunna, Jeezy, Juvenile, Latto, Luniz, MC Lyte, Roxanne Shanté, Spinderella, Three 6 Mafia, T.I., Too $hort, 2 Chainz, Warren G, YG, Black Thought, Bun B, Common, De La Soul, Jermaine Dupri, J.J. Fad, Talib Kweli, The Lady Of Rage, LL COOL J, MC Sha-Rock, Monie Love, The Pharcyde, Queen Latifah, Questlove, Rakim, Remy Ma, Uncle Luke and Yo-Yo.
D.J. Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince made Grammy hip-hop history twice. The awards show didn’t have a dedicated category for rap or hip-hop until the 1988 awards, which were presented Feb. 22, 1989. The duo’s genial pop hit “Parents Just Don’t Understand” was the first hip-hop recording to win a Grammy (best rap performance). But they weren’t invited to perform on the show that year.
A year later, on Feb. 21, 1990, the duo became the first hip-hop act to perform on the Grammys. “We’d like to dedicate this performance to all the rappers last year that stood with us and helped us to earn the right to be on this stage tonight,” Smith said at the time before he and D.J. Jazzy Jeff launched into “I Think I Can Beat Mike Tyson.”
The tribute special will air Dec. 10 from 8:30 – 10:30 p.m. ET/PT, on CBS and will be available to stream live and on demand on Paramount+.