But there’s at least one super recognizable artist who had to back out ahead of music’s biggest night. Variety caught up with Questlove on the red carpet, where he said, “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… There were a lot of preliminary shots that he had to do, so we had to lose Will.” Instead, Smith’s Fresh Prince co-star, DJ Jazzy Jeff, wound up performing without his partner-in-rhyme.
The Tonight Show bandleader realized that was a risk going into the performance, admitting it was a “shot in the dark” because the Hollywood star is “always shooting movies.” That said, other artists with outside professional obligations, like Ice-T, Queen Latifah and LL Cool J all managed to “leave their respective shows” to take part in the Hip Hop 50 tribute.
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