Ice-T was among the 27 artists who took the stage at the 65th Annual Grammy Awards last Sunday (February 5). The Original Gangster was tasked with performing a special segment celebrating Hip-Hop’s 50th anniversary. Executive produced by Questlove and introduced by LL COOL J, the roughly 12-minute performance boasted appearances from Public Enemy, Run-DMC, Queen Latifah and many more.
Speaking to AllHipHop in a recent interview, Ice-T explained what it felt like to be onstage alongside his peers and why he was nervous ahead of the ceremony.
“It was a great feeling,” he says. “I can’t lie. I had a lot of anxiety going into it because it was such a big production. And, were they able to pull it off? We went and we did a rehearsal. It was a three-hour rehearsal for a 12-minute spot. When they run it live, it just goes. The way it was set up was as a medley, where everybody had to come in on point. There were no mistakes allowed.
“If you missed your cue, you were going to be off-beat because they weren’t going to stop that show, and you didn’t want to embarrass yourself on live TV. But everybody was really in the zone leading up to it. You can see that.”
He continues, “Basically, you saw 27 professionals, people who have been doing it for so long that there was nobody scared or nothing. I think everybody was on point. I had a good set, the people reacted well and I had a good time. It was just fun. The sad thing was I said it was the best time to see all these people and it wasn’t a funeral. We never really come together like that with so many different groups in one place, unless it’s for a sad reason. So, it was a good vibe.”
Thirty years ago, that might not have been the case. Throughout the late ’80s and early ’90s, Ice-T and LL COOL J didn’t exactly get along and would often take their grievances to wax. But they were able to set aside their differences years ago, despite only being the same room a handful of times.
“LL and I have been together on different occasions,” he explains. “I’ve worked with him on Rock The Bells, we’ve done podcasts and stuff, but as far as an actual physical picture of us? I think there’s probably one other one out there. And I think the other one was before we actually really sat down and talked like grown men about it. But yeah, that’s over and lol the beef never really escalated. It was just rap beef.”
The feud boiled down to LL COOL J claiming to be “the baddest rapper in the history of rap itself” and Ice-T disagreeing. As he confirms, “That was the gist of it, absolutely. Those things can always escalate because you have fans, and if they catch me out there, they’re gonna talk to me about LL. That can always escalate easily.”
But it didn’t. And on February 5, LL COOL J and Ice-T were able to pose for a photo together, something Questlove even admitted “worried” him. Ice captioned the photo: “Here’s a Pic Hip Hop heads probably thought they’d NEVER see. ICE and @llcoolj Chillin at the 2023 Grammy rehearsals. Tonight is gonna be legendary.” And it was.