10 Crucial Hip-Hop Albums Turning 30 In 2023:  'Enter The Wu-Tang,' 'DoggyStyle,' 'Buhloone Mindstate' & More
(Clockwise from top left): 2pac - 'Strictly 4 My N.I.G.G.A.Z.'; A Tribe Called Quest - 'Midnight Marauders'; KRS-One - 'Return of the Boom Bap'; De La Soul - 'Buhloone Mindstate'; Snoop Dogg - ' DoggyStyle'; Wu-Tang Clan - 'Enter The Wu-Tang (36 Chambers)'


10 Crucial Hip-Hop Albums Turning 30 In 2023: 'Enter The Wu-Tang,' 'DoggyStyle,' 'Buhloone Mindstate' & More

Albums released in 1993 furthered the conversation of what hip-hop was and could be. Debut albums from Mobb Deep, the Roots and Digable Planets, and peak efforts from A Tribe Called Quest and 2pac, help define the sound of the Golden Age of Hip-Hop.

GRAMMYs/Apr 7, 2023 - 01:10 pm

Most genres of music have a generally agreed-upon golden age, when creativity, experimentation, and talent set the standard for music from that genre going forward. With hip-hop, that era isn’t just generally agreed upon — it’s named. 

While the exact beginning and end are nebulous, the Golden Age of Hip-Hop is generally considered to be between the mid-1980s to the mid-1990s, and one year that undoubtedly demonstrates the significance of this era is 1993. An auspicious year for the genre, albums released in '93 furthered the conversation of what hip-hop was and could be.

Lyricism was at its peak during this period, and rappers found new ways to critique the establishment. Though oppression and discrimination were still very pervasive, rappers were more than just soldiers in the fight against it. Albums from '93 engaged in the genre's revolutionary spirit with a forthright expression of their lived experiences as Black people in America, as well as what was going on in their minds and hearts. 

Productions in 1993 were also honoring the history of the genre by putting techniques like sampling and scratching in the forefront. One of the biggest songs of 1993 (and in rap history), Cypress Hill's "Insane in the Brain," applied a squealing and unmistakable sample of which avid listeners to this day are still trying to discern the source.

1993 saw debut albums from now-essential artists, including Mobb Deep, the Roots, Snoop Doggy Dogg, and Digable Planets. At the same time, young legends including Tribe Called Quest and 2pac released work that demonstrated how they were at the peak of their game. Today, these records help define the sound of the Golden Age of Hip-Hop.

The mainstream wanted hip-hop to be a fad; to fade away along with its message of fighting the power and freedom of self-expression. But that was not destined to be the case, and taking a look back 30 years, these albums are sure to explain why.

A Tribe Called Quest - Midnight Marauders

An unnamed female host explains the title of Tribe's third album with a disjointed, monotone: 

"...In this case, we maraud for ears."

Following up 1991’s The Low End Theory was not going to be an easy task by any means, but somehow the trio of Q-Tip, Phife Dawg and Ali-Shaheed Muhammad managed to do so on this masterpiece LP.  Released in November, Tribe constructed a record that captures the culture of rappers on the rise.

The lyrics are not as forceful as those from N.W.A. and Public Enemy. Instead of throwing salvos at the government, the inherent rebellion happens in the demonstration that a rap album didn’t just have to be social commentary. The standout "Electric Relaxation" depicts the oh-so-human experience of early courtship, while "Oh My God" reflects the general reaction from the listener when they hear how adept at the craft Tribe truly is.

Midnight Marauders is a look at the humanity behind rap and that’s what the fight for equality really is — the ability to be recognized as human. That "Award Tour" that Tribe is rapping about? It’s a statement that rap and the people who create it are here to stay: "Going each and every place with a mic in their hand."

Wu-Tang Clan - Enter The Wu-Tang (36 Chambers)

Enter The Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) is not only the supergroup's first album, but it’s also their magnum opus — though not in the sense that they peaked. Wu-Tang were staking their claim in the world, and that stake has only grown larger over the last 30 years.  

The combined forces of RZA, GZA, Method Man, Raekwon, Ghostface Killah, Inspectah Deck, U-God, Masta Killa, and Ol’ Dirty Bastard (RIP) was a power that hip-hop (and really every genre of music) hadn’t seen before or since. Each MC brought a unique style and flow (to the point they have all recorded solo albums) to the record, shouting hooks like "Protect Ya Neck," and "Wu-Tang Clan Ain't Nuthing ta F' Wit." 

But the most influential track off the record was undoubtedly "C.R.E.A.M. (Cash Rules Everything Around Me)." With its silky piano-driven beat, the nine major MCs demonstrated that they could rap with as much finesse as they could power. 

Snoop Dogg - DoggyStyle

Snoop Dogg has gone through several moniker changes (from Snoop Doggy Dogg, to Snoop Dogg, to Snoop Lion), featured in major films, and become an entrepreneur in the cannabis industry, leaving an indelible effect on culture with each evolution.  

But none of that would be possible if he didn’t write "Gin & Juice," for his now classic debut album DoggyStyle. G-funk existed before Snoop came into the picture, but Snoop gave it that extra bounce — the kind that comes from a ‘64 Impala with fresh hydraulics. From '93 on, it would certainly be a doggy dog world.

Snoop and his close friend and collaborator, Dr. Dre, embodied the gangsta rap lifestyle in a literal fashion. The same year DoggyStyle was released, Snoop and his bodyguard were charged with murder when the bodyguard killed a rival gang member. They were both later acquitted of all charges in 1996.

Souls of Mischief - 93 'til Infinity

Stepping on the scene in September ‘93, Souls of Mischief were an arm of Hieroglyphics, an Oakland, California-based collective founded by Del Tha Funky Homosapien. On their debut record, the rapping quartet of Phesto, A-Plus, Opio, and Tajai took the West Coast sound to a more chill place, connecting to audiences through their love of jazz and getting real about their understanding of the world around them.

No song better represents this intention than the album's title track. Now a classic, "93 'til Infinity's" echoing horns and dreamy keys create a spacious, yet intriguing backdrop for the foursome to share stories of everyday activities: hanging out with friends, meeting girls, and going to the movies.

But that’s the point. Very few people can relate to murder charges; everyone can relate to chilling — including rappers like J.Cole, Freddie Gibbs, Joey Bada$$, who sampled the beat, and likely many more who recognize the mischievous power of chill.

2Pac - Strictly 4 My N.I.G.G.A.Z.

The second album from Tupac Shakur demonstrates his staying power, consistency, and how he was going to change the course of rap forever.

The backronym "N.I.G.G.A.Z" means "Never Ignorant in Getting Goals Accomplished," and Shakur made his goals clear on this album: He was going to stand up for the principles of rap while still pushing the sound into new territory.

Though he was deep in the gritty lifestyle of gangsta rap — a lifestyle that would eventually take his life at the age of 25 — Shakur used his music and his growing platform to stand up for moral values like respecting women, an idea he explores with an entire stanza in "Keep Ya Head Up."

And in the spirit of these more humble and grounded lyrics, Shakur employs beats that are less flashy and more minimalistic, ensuring his words are heard and understood.

Mobb Deep - Juvenile Hell

Rap music is deeply ingrained into the struggles of Black Americans, and Mobb Deep went through struggles with this LP. 

Just teenagers at the time, this debut album didn’t receive any chart placements upon release causing their label, 4th & B'way Records, to quickly drop them. Production from legends like DJ Premier and Large Professor didn’t help either. Yet in listening to the single "Peer Pressure," the sole track with DJ Premier on production, it’s understandable why Mobb Deep didn’t connect off the bat.

Though the lyrics of members Prodigy and Havoc were honest and relatable, their delivery set them apart. Their use of syncopation and unconventional rhyme placements created a groove that was less club-ready and more primed for in-depth listening. 

Perhaps the idea of taking a chance on an act with a more intricate approach didn’t seem worth it at the time for a label, but Mobb Deep would prove them wrong by embracing that struggle. 

Their second album, 1995’s The Infamous, is now rightfully lauded as one of the best rap albums in history. 

The Roots - Organix

The Roots have never been typical: They hail from Philadelphia, not one of the cities traditionally prevalent in the history of rap. They perform with a band, a staunch departure from DJing which was the standard among the genre at the time. 

Today, they’re pop culture staples with a residency on "The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon" and Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson, is an Oscar and GRAMMY-winning director and author.

Yet the atypical nature that would take the Roots to the highest echelons of culture was first demonstrated on their debut album, Organix

With the live approach, there was a looser and more collaborative feel between the beats built around Thompson’s drumming and the vocals primarily delivered by Tariq "Black Thought" Trotter. The resulting energy (which the group maintains to this day) is more akin to an instrumental jam, with the music and vocalists playing off one another. 

This created tracks on Organix with longer run times like "Pass The Popcorn" which is over five minutes, "Grits" which is over six minutes, and the rap epic "The Session (Longest Posse Cut in History)" which is nearly 13 minutes. These longer raps feature a variety of artists, but Trotter is the core of this new format, demonstrating his surprising flow.

A little-known fact about the Roots is that Thompson has also served as an MC throughout the history of the group, and Organix contains a verse or two from the famous drummer.

Digable Planets - Reachin' (A New Refutation Of Time And Space)

The Golden Age of Hip-Hop saw the development of "jazz rap," a style that emphasized the already vital similarities between the genres by imbuing hip-hop beats with jazz instrumentation.  Digable Planets’ debut album, Reachin' (A New Refutation Of Time And Space), pioneered the sound.

Beyond the smooth delivery from the three MCs, Digable Planets further emphasized the influence of jazz by sampling genre greats like Sonny Rollins and Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers. It’s clear where Digable Planets grabbed the bassline and horn break of "Rebirth of Slick (Cool Like Dat)" within Art Blakey’s "Stretching," taking the first couple bars of longer improvisational sections and looping them into beats — a technique in line with all of the earliest hip-hop beats.  

From the jump, Digable Planets had the courage to apply sampling and looping to the high-flying virtuosity of bebop.

KRS-One - Return of the Boom Bap

In 1993, KRS-One (also known as "Teacha") hit the airwaves and store shelves with his debut solo album, Return of the Boom Bap, and subsequently invited everyone who wanted to listen into a classroom about the realities of life. 

Prior to going solo, KRS-One was a member of the hip-hop group Boogie Down Productions; fellow member DJ Scott La Rock was murdered in 1987. Such a tragic loss added a certain fire to the music of KRS-One, and from then on he has been committed to educating his listeners on what it means to be human.

On his debut, he launches this intention with an attack. "KRS-One Attacks" opens the album with the sampled words: "We will be here forever," and then proceeds into an instrumental basis point of boom-bap hip-hop production that sets the tone for the rest of the album. 

One song that will certainly be around for decades to come is the record’s hit song "Sound of da Police," a scathing indictment of the culturing of policing in the U.S. over heavy kicks and crisp snares. 

De La Soul - Buhloone Mindstate

De La Soul defined the Golden Age of Hip-Hop, putting out four albums in the celebrated period, including their September 1993 LP, Buhloone Mindstate. By 1993, De La Soul had demonstrated their ability to evolve as artists and engage with burgeoning styles like jazz rap. 

Where on early hits like "Eye Know" De La Soul were rapping at high speeds and flexing samples like Steely Dan’s "Peg," Buhloone Mindstate’s standout, "Breakadawn," embraced the more relaxed approach to rap with light jazz instrumentation and a reserved tempo to give more space for their lyrics to truly resonate. 

In the spirit of the Golden Age, the release also crosses literal and figurative borders. Figuratively in the sense that they cross musical borders by inviting jazz greats like Maceo Parker, Fred Wesley, and Pee Wee Ellis on songs like "I Am I Be" and "Patti Dooke." Literally in the sense that they invited Japanese rappers SCHA DARA PARR and Takagi Kan on to the record for the skit "Long Island Wildin'," which sees the two featured artists deliver impressive verses in their native tongue.

Though David Jude Jolicoeur’s (a.k.a.Trugoy the Dove) experimentation with sampling led to legal troubles that excluded De La Soul from streaming, that same experimentation is what inspired numerous other hip hop greats, including Yasiin Bey, Jurassic 5, Pharrell, and Tyler, the Creator.

Relive The Epic GRAMMY Tribute To Hip-Hop's 50th Anniversary With A Playlist Of Every Song Performed

Living Legends: Frankie Valli On The Four Seasons' Biggest Hits, Impressing Bob Dylan And Inspiring Billy Joel & Elton John
Frankie Valli

Photo: Varela Media


Living Legends: Frankie Valli On The Four Seasons' Biggest Hits, Impressing Bob Dylan And Inspiring Billy Joel & Elton John

Between a new box set and a Las Vegas residency, Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons aren’t slowing down in 2023. Hear from the falsetto king himself about how hits like “Sherry” and “December, 1963 (Oh What A Night!) came to be — and how they live on.

GRAMMYs/Oct 3, 2023 - 02:53 pm

With one of the most recognizable voices in music, a generation-spanning array of hit songs and a life story that has become stuff of legend, Frankie Valli has staked a claim as one of the music industry's most indelible artists. One of the few acts that steadily navigated from the doo-wop age through the disco era, Valli's improbable trajectory with his group, the Four Seasons, was propeled by a golden ear for hits, aided by the songwriter/producer power duo Bob Gaudio and Bob Crewe.

That's not to say the 89-year-old is resting on his laurels. His astounding career is on full, vibrant display in the immense new box set aptly dubbed Working Our Way Back to You — The Ultimate Collection. Consisting of 45 discs of every song Valli and the Four Seasons ever recorded — from beloved hits to deep-cuts, demos and other rarities — the set also includes a biographical book filled to the brim with rare images that track their rise from a fledgling New Jersey singing group to Broadway sensations in the form of Jersey Boys.

In addition, later this month Vailli is heading to Las Vegas for a residency at Westgate Resort and Casino where he and the Four Seasons will be appearing until well into 2024.

Valli spoke to about his astounding run of hits, the artists he's influenced, the modern covers of his tracks and how his big year started off with a bang during GRAMMY weekend.

You were a surprise performer at the Clive Davis GRAMMY Gala earlier this year and, in a very special moment, everyone in the audience, from Cardi B to Joni Mitchell, jumped up and sang along with you to "Can't Take My Eyes Off Of You." What was that moment like for you?

Oh, it was incredible. I never expected it. When Clive first invited me, he said "I want to invite you to my GRAMMY party, but I want you to do a song." I said, "With the generation gap, should I really do a song?" But I was in shock when everybody stood up to sing along. 

It was a really a moment I'll never forget. It's a good thing we have people like Clive who really has an insight on what's happening and where it's going. 

That night, the Italian rock band Måneksin covered your song "Beggin'" which was their breakout hit. The band was just the latest in a long line of artists who have covered Four Seasons music, with "Can't Take My Eyes Off Of You" done by everyone from Lauryn Hill to Shawn Mendes, to name just two examples. What do you think of all of these artists wanting to cover your work?

It's quite complimentary. When you've been around a long time and people find value in what you've done, it just makes you feel good about what you've done.

In your career, you've also covered so many songs from Cole Porter's "I've Got You Under My Skin" to Bob Dylan's "Don't Think Twice (It's Alright)." How did you go about choosing which songs to cover, and how would you put your own spin on these classics to make them your own?

It was really more or less music that we listened to and we loved. We tried to pick songs that were very meaningful for us, but the trick was to be able to do them a little differently than they had been done. 

We were quite successful with it, we did it with songs like "Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?" We did a version of "Book of Love" and so many others.

Your version of "Don't Think Twice (It's Alright)" is probably one of the most unusual songs in your vast discography considering its subject matter, your exaggerated falsetto, and those background harmonies. How did that come about? I also understand you heard from Bob Dylan himself about it.

We did it in a very campy way, and it really was quite by accident. I was in a studio, and the guy at the soundboard asked me to sing a little bit to get a level on me. So I was clowning around singing in a falsetto like that.

The next thing I know, the button clicks and I hear [Crewe and Gaudio's] voices saying, "Do it like that." I said, "Do what like what?" They said, "Sing it just the way you're singing it." I said, "Come on, you're kidding!" 

We did it and that version of it was a take-off on a singer named Rose Murphy, who had several hits. Many years later, I was shopping at Fred Segal in LA and Bob Dylan came up behind me and tapped me on the shoulder. We shook hands and he said, "I love the version of 'Don't Think Twice' that you guys did."

Speaking of your singular vocal stylings, I'm wondering how you and the group went about plotting how you'd all harmonize. For example, in a song like "Candy Girl," there's your iconic falsetto, and then suddenly we hear in a very low baritone voice the line "Our love is real!" Is something like that written out? How does it come together in the studio?

It just comes naturally. A lot of credit goes to the fact that we were never chased away from a song because we didn't know what to do with it. We toyed with it until we found what we thought was right for it. There were no direct plans; everything was done from within the group. 

Nick Massi had his job doing a lot of the vocal arrangements, and Gaudio did most of them after Nick had left. We worked together until everybody was satisfied with it. Does it fit? Does it work? It's like a puzzle. You don't want to overdo anything, and you don't want to under-do.

So then let's say in a song like "Walk Like A Man" when the harmonies sing that iconic "Oo-Oooo-Oo-Oo-Oo-Oo-Oo-Ooooo." Where does that come from?

It comes from Bob Gaudio, who wrote the song to sound like that. The first three songs we did were more like a chant, and that's what we created to make what everybody knows as our sound. 

We wanted to be very easily identifiable. If you heard something by us on the radio, you knew that it was us. We were constantly looking for new ways and new things while having fun doing it. We weren't following or listening to anybody else on the radio; we weren't a copycat group. 

Billy Joel has gone on to say that a lot of the inspiration he got came from us. "I love you just the way you are" is the last line in "Rag Doll."

He also said that "Uptown Girl" was an homage to you. Musically it sounds like "Big Girls Don't Cry" but lyrically it's the opposite of "Rag Doll." What do you think when you hear a song like that?

First of all, I'm a big Billy Joel fan. There isn't anything he's ever done that I haven't liked. My favorite of everything is "Just The Way You Are." It sounds so honest and lyrically it's so right, it had to be a hit.

What about a song like "Bennie and the Jets"? It's been said that Elton John was directly inspired by you.

I loved it. He's another guy who has done very little wrong musically. He's an amazing writer and performer. 

You and the group have a lot of name songs: "Sherry," "Marlena," "Dawn." Was that conscious effort, or was it just natural?

It was natural. Bob wrote the songs… He and I have been partners now for over 50 years and he never ceases to amaze me. He's so tuned into everything that's going on, it's really amazing.

Is it true that "Sherry" was originally called "Jackie" in honor of Jackie Kennedy?

No, it was originally called "Perry." Before "Sherry," we weren't signed to a label, so this small independent company owned by a millionaire had a daughter named Perry. And that's what he wanted us to call it, but it was written to be "Sherry" and we just felt very strongly about that and kept it.

What did the owner think of that?

We ended up going with a different company. So we never heard much after that.

One of your biggest hits was "December 1963 (Oh What A Night!)." I always wondered if that was a random date, or if you chose it because that period was a unique moment in history: a month after the Kennedy assassination, but two months before the Beatles were on Ed Sullivan. 

It was originally a song with lyrics about the '20s, '30s and '40s. The lyrics were "Flippers flopping on the floor." It was a totally different song. When Bob brought it into the studio, he was disappointed we weren't crazy about it and he wanted to junk the song. We said, "No, you can come up with something better than this," and he rewrote it to fit the time. 

Is there one song that you thought should have been bigger than it was?

The funny thing about records during the days when we recorded, and the record business was as big as it was, to become a hit it was important that the record company do the legwork and get radio stations to play it, or try it for two weeks. I thought there was a lot of what we did that was overlooked because the record company wasn't that crazy about it. 

For example, I put the single "We're All Alone" out, and the record company didn't want to work it. I did mine with the London Symphony Orchestra. Later, Rita Coolidge came out with the same song and it went to No. 1. Sometimes things like that happen.

A song like "Can't Take My Eyes Off Of You" was in the can for two or three years. We had to force the record company to release it and hire independent promotion people to work the record and get it on the radio. 

"My Eyes Adored You" was recorded for Motown Records and that one was in the can for three years because they weren't too sure about it. Finally, when we left Motown, we asked if we can buy back the track, and they agreed for us to purchase it. We did and we brought it to every record company in the business and they all said no. 

Eventually, we found Larry Uttal with a brand new record company, Private Stock Records, and he said, "That'll be my first No. 1 record for my new company." And it was!  

From when you first started recording in the early '50s to when "Sherry" hit No. 1 was a period of nine years. That's a long time. Why did you stick with it? 

It was always music first. If I had no success at all, I'd probably still be doing music somewhere in New Jersey or New York. I knew exactly what I wanted to do and wanted to be. 

At first, I rejected the fact that I might have to do pop music, but as I started to do it and it became successful, I realized it was a music that people could understand. And what are you doing music for? You're doing it for people. Without an audience you wouldn't have anything. 

My love of music started out for the very first time with me seeing Frank Sinatra as a boy when my mom took me to the Paramount Theater in New York City. I couldn't believe what I was seeing and I was so inspired; I made up my mind that that's what I wanted to do. 

Living Legends: Nancy Sinatra Reflects On Creating "Power And Magic" In Studio, Developing A Legacy Beyond "Boots" & The Pop Stars She Wants To Work With

GRAMMY Museum Announces 'Hip-Hop America: The Mixtape Exhibit' Programming Schedule

Image courtesy of the Recording Academy

GRAMMY Museum Announces 'Hip-Hop America: The Mixtape Exhibit' Programming Schedule

Presented by Google Pixel, the exhibit opens Oct. 7 celebrating the 50th anniversary of hip-hop through an expansive and interactive exploration of the global impact of the genre and culture.

GRAMMYs/Oct 3, 2023 - 01:37 pm

The GRAMMY Museum announces its Hip-Hop America: The Mixtape Exhibit initial programming schedule consisting of in-person and virtual events to supplement the exhibit celebrating the 50th anniversary of hip-hop.

Opening Oct. 7, the 5,000-square foot installation delves deep into the multifaceted world of hip-hop through expansive exhibits on hip-hop music, dance, graffiti, fashion, business, activism, and history, providing visitors with an immersive experience that explores the profound impact and influence of hip-hop culture.

On display will be an incredible array of artifacts including the Notorious B.I.G.'s iconic red leather pea jacket, LL Cool J's red Kangol bucket hat, and more. Newly announced artifacts include Lil Wayne’s GRAMMY for Best Rap Album, The Carter III, Lil Wayne's handwritten letter from prison to his fans and his family, custom Saweetie acrylic nail sets created by her nail artist Temeka Jackson, plus exclusive interviews with MC Lyte, Cordae and other artists about their creative process.

Additionally, a Sonic Playground features five interactive stations that invite visitors of all ages to unleash their creativity through DJing, rapping and sampling and is made possible thanks to a grant from The Kenneth T. & Eileen L. Norris Foundation.

The exhibit is made possible with the generous support of Google Pixel, and several integrations within the space are powered by Google Pixel's innovative capabilities. This includes the Google Pixel Boombox Throne, an interactive photo experience.

The Rap City Experience, part of the Sonic Playground, is a freestyle interactive featuring Darian "Big Tigger" Morgan, host of BET's "Rap City: Tha Basement." Visitors can freestyle over beats by producers Hit-Boy, PERFXN and Schyler O'Neal, and trade bars with hip-hop artists Reason, Nana and Nilla Allin. As part of the museum's ongoing community and education programming, BET and Mass Appeal will screen the first two installments of their upcoming documentary Welcome to Rap City on Oct. 9. More details below.

Additionally, the GRAMMY Museum is partnering with The Debut Live to present their multi-part event series highlighting iconic hip-hop albums and the artists who created them, including DJ Khaled, Joey Bada$$, Rick Ross, T.I., and more. The intimate conversations are hosted by Billboard's Deputy Director of R&B and Hip-Hop, Carl Lamarre, in partnership with the GRAMMY Museum/Recording Academy + Soho House, and will be available to view beginning Oct. 6 exclusively on the GRAMMY Museum's streaming platform COLLECTION:live.

The exhibit launches on Sat, Oct. 7 and will run through Sept. 4, 2024. A special opening event will take place on Oct. 6 at 8 p.m. Tickets are available to purchase here. Additional programming to be announced at a later date. More information listed below.

Sat, Oct. 7:

EVENT: Careers in Music: The Nelson George Mixtape, Volume 2

WHAT: A conversation and book signing with acclaimed author, producer and director, Nelson George, as we discuss his career chronicling the birth of hip-hop in America and his work in the entertainment industry.

WHEN: 1 p.m.

WHERE: Clive Davis Theater

REGISTER: Click here.

Mon, Oct. 9:

EVENT: Careers in Music: "Welcome to Rap City" Screening

WHAT: In partnership with BET and Mass Appeal, the GRAMMY Museum is proud to host a screening of the first two installments of their new documentary "Welcome to Rap City" followed by a panel discussion featuring Rap City hosts and more.

WHEN: 12 p.m.

WHERE: Clive Davis Theater

REGISTER: Click here.

Thurs, Oct. 26:

EVENT: Backstage Pass: "Road to the Latin GRAMMYs" Mellow Man Ace

WHAT: To celebrate the 24th Annual Latin GRAMMY Awards, the GRAMMY Museum is thrilled to have Afro-Cuban rapper and Los Angeles native Mellow Man Ace discuss his career and his accomplishments as one of the pioneers of Latin rap, followed by a performance.

WHEN: 11 a.m.

WHERE: Clive Davis Theater

REGISTER: Click here.

Sat, Dec. 2:

EVENT: Love Your Amazing Self

WHAT: An interactive family program featuring hip-hop musician, meditation teacher and author, Ofosu Jones-Quartey, reading from his latest book Love Your Amazing Self followed by a performance. Support for this program was provided through funding from Councilman Curren Price Jr. and the New 9th.

WHEN: 11 a.m.

WHERE: Clive Davis Theater

REGISTER: Click here.

October 2023 - June 2024

WHAT: Hip-Hop Education Workshops

WHAT: In Celebration of the 50 years of hip-hop from its origin to where the genre is today. Highlighting the golden age of hip-hop, these lessons will provide students with a deeper understanding of the struggles and triumphs of the genre.

WHEN: 2023-2024 School Year

WHERE: Clive Davis Theater

REGISTER: Click here.

For more information regarding advanced ticket reservations for the exhibit, please visit

Hip-Hop Just Rang In 50 Years As A Genre. What Will Its Next 50 Years Look Like?

12 Actors Who Have Bands: Ryan Gosling, Keanu Reeves, Zoë Kravitz & More
Dogstar feat. Keanu Reeves

Photo: Brian Bowen Smith


12 Actors Who Have Bands: Ryan Gosling, Keanu Reeves, Zoë Kravitz & More

The stage, screen and soundfield have always been intertwined. Just look at the music made by acclaimed actors from Ryan Gosling to Zoë Kravitz and Keanu Reeves.

GRAMMYs/Oct 2, 2023 - 07:31 pm

Singers in movies? It’s the most natural thing in the world. Elvis Presley did it, time and time again. More than six decades after Love Me Tender, Harry Styles and Jason Isbell have made the move from stage to screen. In between, you have 8 Mile, Crossroads, Crazy Heart… the list rolls on and on.

How about the reverse, though — actors who have bands, as a separate outlet from their work on the silver screen? There’s a rich history there. Ryan Gosling, currently in the spotlight for his witty Barbie performance, has played in the duo Dead Man’s Bones for some 15 years.

Again, that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Jack Black’s film legacy runs in parallel to Tenacious D, the comedy-rock duo rocking our worlds since 1994. After taking the 2000s and 2010s off, Keanu Reeves’ Dogstar returns with Somewhere Between the Power Lines and the Palm Trees on Oct. 6.

Granted, this list doesn’t include actors who simply play music, like Jeff Bridges and Jeff Goldblum. Nor would it include Fred Armisen, the bandleader for “Late Night With Seth Meyers.” And if an actor was in a band but no longer is, like Jason Schwartzman in Phantom Planet, that would fall outside this metric.

In honor of this cross-media convergence, let’s take a non-chronological, by-no-means-exhaustive trip through the world of actors who have bands.

Keanu Reeves

Since 1991 — the year Bill and Ted’s Bogus Journey was released — Reeves has rocked out in Dogstar.

They released their debut album, Our Little Visionary, in 1996; four years later, they rang in the new millennium with Happy Ending. Twenty -three years later, Dogstar released the uplifting single “Everything Turns Around,” with the full album on its way.

Jared Leto

Like fellow rockers Dogstar, Thirty Seconds to Mars — featuring Jared Leto and his brother Shannon Leto — have a new album in 2023: It’s the End of the World but It’s a Beautiful Day.

Though they’ve taken long breaks since their 1998 formation, they never fell out of the industry; since their 2002 self-titled debut, they’ve managed a couple of albums per decade.

Michael Cera

Lighthearted indie rockers  the Long Goodbye have not one, but two Hollywood actors in it — Michael Cera of Juno, Superbad and more, as well as Clark Duke, who you may remember from Hot Tub Time Machine. (He was also in bands Mister Heavenly with Honus Honus of Man Man, Nicholas Thorburn of Islands and the Unicorns, and Joe Plummer of Modest Mouse and the Shins.)

Zooey Deschanel

The rootsy, twee indie poppers She & Him seemed to typify the mid-2000s upon arrival, and maintained that charm as that milieu gave way to others. These days, the duo of M. Ward and Zooey Deschanel is content to cover classic Christmas songs and Brian Wilson.

Zoë Kravitz

The actress, singer and model — who’s recently been in blockbusters like Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse and The Batman — sings in the band Lolawolf, along with drummer and producer Jimmy Gianopoulos. (They’ve worked with eight-time GRAMMY winner Jack Antonoff.)

Michael Imperioli

The "Sopranos" star plays in the three-piece New York indie rock band ZOPA; as per Imperioli’s interest in Eastern-inspired transcendence, the band name means “patience” in Tibetan.

Steve Martin

While he may not have a regular band, the Father of the Bride star and banjo picker has made acclaimed work with the Steep Canyon Rangers, including in contexts like the much-missed radio show “A Prairie Home Companion.”

Michael C. Hall

Princess Goes to the Butterfly Museum: that’s a mouthful! It’s also the name of “Dexter” and “Six Feet Under” star Michael C. Hall’s band with Blondie’s Matt Katz-Bohen and the Wallflowers’ Pedro Yanowitz.

Penn Badgley

The "Gossip Girl" and "You" star is the lead singer of Mothxr — which also includes the aforementioned Gianopoulos. While they haven’t released an album since their 2016 debut, “We'll all be making music for the rest of our lives,” Badgley has said.

Hugh Laurie

Dr. House himself hasmade blues music for years, and plays in the all-actor group Band From TV for charity. (Among its ranks: Greg Gunberg of “Alias” fame and James Denton from “Desperate Housewives.”)

Johnny Depp

Back in the 1970s, Alice Cooper formed the “Hollywood Vampires” drinking club, which included two Beatles and Harry Nilsson. He picked up the mantle once again with his band of the same name, which features Aerosmith’s Joe Perry and Johnny Depp.

Kevin Bacon

The Apollo 13 and Footloose star — as in “six degrees of…” — plays in the Bacon Brothers with his brother Michael; their latest album, The Way We Love, arrived in 2020.

Clearly, the conceit of a music-making screen star remains fresh — whether you’re a Bacon, Laurie or Depp enjoyer, or any other kind of pop culture disciple under the sun.

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Positive Vibes Only: Chris Llewellyn Bares His Soul In This Stripped-Down Performance Of "Honest"
Chris Llewellyn

Photo: Courtesy of Chris Llewellyn


Positive Vibes Only: Chris Llewellyn Bares His Soul In This Stripped-Down Performance Of "Honest"

Rend Collective singer Chris Llewellyn branches out on his own by performing "Honest," the title track to his debut solo album.

GRAMMYs/Oct 2, 2023 - 05:00 pm

Chris Llewellyn is sharing his truth. On his new solo single "Honest," the Rend Collective co-founder gets vulnerable by approaching God in song with all his imperfections and doubts in full display.

"If you don't mind broken things, then you can have my heart/ No filter, just the way it is/ It's far from perfect, God/ But it's real and it's what I've got/ No varnish and no hiding place," the Irish singer intones in the opening verse.

Fans may be used to hearing Llewellyn with the rest of his long-running worship group, but for this episode of Positive Vibes Only, he strips down his solo song to just his voice and acoustic guitar. (The singer also sends a message of solidarity in the clip by wearing a cap that reads "Support Live Music Hire Live Musicians.")

The emotive track kicks off Llewellyn's debut solo album, also titled Honest, which dropped Sept. 1 via Sparrow Records and Capitol Christian Music Group and contains songs like "Gamble On Your Goodness," "Still Believe In The Magic" and "New Wine (Is My Bible a Barricade?)."

"Will God love you if you're honest? Is He faithful when you're faithless?" Llewellyn asks in a press statement, explaining, "These are the questions I was asking when I was writing this album…This is the soundtrack to wrestling faith."

Press play on the video above to watch Llewellyn's acoustic performance of "Honest" and check back to for more new episodes of Positive Vibes only. 

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