LL Cool J had something to say.
After completing an arena shaking set that included cameos from Eminem and Jennifer Lopez, he came onto the press room stage inside the bowels of Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse.
After posing for pictures with his award, he was asked if there were any other hip-hop artists he’d like to see inducted into the Rock Hall. Without delaying, the seventh hip-hop artist inducted into the Rock Hall rattled off names like Outkast, Eminem, Eric B. & Rakim and KRS-One.
“There are more too,” he chuckles.
His impassioned speech was a personification of this year’s class - the sound may be “traditional” rock ‘n’ roll, but the impact is evident. From Taylor Swift’s mesmerizing open performance to Drew Barrymore living out her childhood dream, here’s our takeaways from the ceremony.
Hip-Hop had a night to remember.
After being introduced by former president Barack Obama, Jay-Z was brought on stage with a video featuring clips of celebrities reading off some of his best lyrics before he was inducted by an emotional Dave Chapelle. Chapelle touched on Jay-Z’s businesses ventures and his legacy as a person and lyricist
“He was just watching rainwater when he got in the studio,” Chapelle said of Jay-Z. “He’d do his verse and let it ride. The streets would admire him for that… We love him more than you could ever recognize him for.”
At the podium, a reflective Jay-Z spoke on being a hip-hop artist in the Rock & Hall of Fame.
“As a kid we were told that hip-hop is a fad, and much like punk rock, it gave us an anti-genre, which gave us some heroes,” Jay-Z says.
Among other stories, he talked about how he campaigned in Ohio for Obama in 2012 during the former president’s re-election. “I met him in Ohio, and we won,” Jay-Z says. “We got it done here in Ohio. That showed me how hip-hop can be an agent of change.
It was only right that the doctor of hip-hop introduced LL Cool J. While the two rap icons are from different coasts, Dr. Dre — who is already a member of the Hall of Fame as a member of N.W.A — helped break down LL Cool J’s resume, which spans 30 years across both hip-hop and pop. “(Hip-hop) was the first time I heard kids that looked like me say something powerful,” LL Cool J says. “They were saying something I like, and they sound powerful. I never try to pander. I’m not here to fit in.
The Foo Fighters showed they learned how to fly.
Saturday’s induction was a homecoming for the Foo Fighters. The band, led by Warren, Ohio Native David Grohl, preformed a list of classics including “Best of You” “My Hero” and “Everlong.”
Born out of the dissolution of Nirvana, the Foo Fighters creation didn’t occur in a straight line (members Franz Stahl and Taylor Hawkins joined five years after the bands creation), something that Grohl touched on.
“We’ve stuck together like a family and I think that’s important," Grohl says. "We were together not just because we were a band, but because we like each other.”
The induction will continue to be a fall event.
Up until 2020, the Rock Hall induction was always held in either the late winter or early spring. That all changed last year, however, when the induction ceremony was a virtual, documentary event. During his interview before this year’s ceremony, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation chairman John Sykes said that the ceremony will continue to be a fall event in the future.
“We start the process to pick inductees in January, so it's almost like we have a full calendar year,” says Sykes.
Taylor Swift was the perfect opener.
With Carole King looking on from the front row, Taylor Swift set the tone with her opening performance of a cover of “Will You Love Me Tomorrow,” a song by the Shirelles that King covered on her 1971 album Tapestry. King’s tribute video featured insight from Alicia Keys, Sara Bareilles, Tom Hanks, Olivia Rodrigo and others. In addition to Jennifer Hudson preforming a striking rendition of “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman” (An Aretha Franklin song co-written by King), King preformed “You’ve Got A Friend.” “I didn’t talk to (Taylor) about the song,” King says. “The version she did tonight was amazing. She owned it and made it her own. It’s a way I’ve never done it, and that’s my joy as a songwriter.”
Tina Turner’s presence controlled the arena.
After initially earning induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1991 as a member of Ike & Tina Turner, Tina Turner carved her own mark into Rock history Saturday when she was inducted as a solo act. While Turner wasn’t able to make it, her ceremony was led by Angela Bassett, who played Turner in the 1993 film What’s Love Got To Do With It, titled after the Turner classic. Keith Urban, Mickey Guyton and Christina Aguilera preformed some of Turner’s classic hits. “It’s a full circle moment,” Bassett says. I’m humbled and blessed to be able to continue her legacy and contributions to music.”
While Basset didn’t speak to Turner before the ceremony, Basset said that her background with Turner has given her a deeper understanding of Turner as a musician and person. “I had the terrifying opportunity of figuring out how (Tina Turner) became the women we’ve come to know,” Bassett says. “Fortunately, I had the generous guide of Tina to help me. It was one of the most stressful roles I’ve ever played, but it was also one of the most fulfilling.”
The Go-Go’s got some help from Drew Barrymore.
When Drew Barrymore was 6 years old, she got a copy of the Go-Go’s debut album Beauty and the Beat. Thirty years later, Barrymore lived out a childhood dream by inducting the Go-Go’s into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in a speech complete with a makeover so that Barrymore mimicked the band’s look on Beauty and the Beat. While the group’s peak only lasted eight years, that debut album produced Top-100 hits “Our Lips Are Sealed” and “We Got The Beat.”