The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts is set to pay tribute to hip-hop icons J Dilla and Rakim with special performances as part of its upcoming season of concerts celebrating the history of Hip Hop and jazz.
On March 30, Robert Glasper, Derrick Hodge, and the Black Radio Orchestra will present a unique show honoring both J Dilla and jazz legend Duke Ellington at the Concert Hall.
Following this, on April 19, Rakim and DJ Jazzy Jeff will team up with bandleader Ravi Coltrane for “The Rakim & DJ Jazzy Jeff & Ravi Coltrane Project.”
Simone Ecclestone, the center’s director of Hip Hop culture and contemporary music, expressed excitement about the Hip Hop & Festival, highlighting the intertwined relationship between Hip Hop and Jazz and the contributions of artists like Rakim, DJ Jazzy Jeff, and others.
The Kennedy Center has been increasingly showcasing Hip Hop in recent years, featuring performances by Nas, Clipse, and honoring Queen Latifah. In 2016, Q-Tip was appointed as the center’s first artistic director of Hip Hop culture, aiming to illuminate the roots, present, and future of the genre.
LL COOL J made history in 2017 as the first rapper celebrated at the Kennedy Center Honors, marking a significant milestone in the organization’s recognition of Hip Hop’s cultural impact. The ceremony featured legendary performers paying homage to LL’s iconic hits, showcasing the genre’s enduring legacy.