Grammys 2023: Why Will Smith Dropped Out of Hip-Hop Tribute

Will Smith attends the European premiere of 'Emancipation'
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The 65th Grammy Awards celebrates 50 years of hip-hop with one epic performance featuring several famous faces, but one was missing from the ensemble for a specific reason.

According to Questlove, who spoke to Variety, Will Smith was meant to participate in the tribute but had to back out due to scheduling conflicts. The event supposedly coincided with production for Bad Boys 4.


(Credit: Amy Sussman/Getty Images)

“I’ll give the spoiler alert away. Will Smith was a part of the festivities tonight, but they started shooting Bad Boys 4 this week,” Questlove told Variety. “There were a lot of preliminary shots that he had to do, so we had to lose Will.”

Getting Will to sign on was something Questlove knew would be uncertain, calling the possibility “a shot in the dark,” considering the actor’s schedule.

Questlove further shared that the tribute was originally going to be 23 minutes long but was cut down to a 14-minute musical celebration. Among the artists who are participating in the tribute are Ice-T, Queen Latifah, and L.L. Cool J.

As fans of Smith may recall, it was recently announced he’d reunite with Martin Lawrence for the fourth installment in their Bad Boys film franchise. This news followed the release of his Apple TV+ film Emancipation.

Besides being an Oscar-winning actor, the former Fresh Prince of Bel-Air star is also a four-time Grammy Award-winning artist. He earned the award for Best Rap Performance in 1989 for “Parents Just Don’t Understand. He won Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group in 1992 for “Summertime.” He went on to win Best Rap Solo Performance for “Men in Black” in 1998 and “Gettin’ Jiggy wit It” in 1999.