Latin Conference & Awards

VH1 Honors Hip-Hop

Public Enemy, Beastie Boys, Kid Rock, Fat Joe, MC Hammer and Sugar Hill Gang were among the artists who performed in all-star collaborations last night (Oct. 3) at the inaugural VH1 Hip Hop Honors.

Public Enemy, Beastie Boys, Kid Rock, Fat Joe, MC Hammer and Sugar Hill Gang were among the artists who performed in all-star collaborations last night (Oct. 3) at the inaugural VH1 Hip Hop Honors. The show at New York's Hammerstein Ballroom was taped and will premiere Oct. 12 on the video music channel.

The event, which VH1 is aiming to make an annual show, celebrated influential pioneers in the genre: DJ Hollywood, DJ Kool Herc, KRS-One, Public Enemy, Rock Steady Crew, Run-DMC, Tupac Shakur and Sugar Hill Gang. The graffiti movement was also singled out as influential to hip-hop culture.

A committee consisting of VH1 executives and hip-hop tastemakers such as journalist Nelson George and hip-hop media personality Fab Five Freddy selected the honorees.

Vivica A. Fox hosted the event with assistance from announcer MC Lyte. Mos Def, who was originally set to co-host with Fox, did not appear for unspecified reasons; VH1 and the artist's representatives declined to comment on his absence.

Artists who performed at the show included Terror Squad featuring Fat Joe, who offered their No. 1 Billboard Hot 100 song "Lean Back"; Nas paying tribute to Shakur with "Keep Ya Head Up"; and the Beastie Boys, who were joined by Doug E. Fresh on "Sucker MCs" as a tribute to Run-DMC. Beastie Boys also performed "Right Right Now Now" later in the show.

Public Enemy teamed with Beastie Boys and members of hard rock group Anthrax during on-stage medley that included PE's "Black Steel In the Hour of Chaos," "Fight the Power" and "Bring the Noise."

Other on-stage collaborations included Nas and his father, Nolu Dara, on a bluesy/hip-hop version of "Bridging the Gap." Fat Joe and Grandmaster Flash performed "South Bronx" in a tribute to KRS-One. In the tribute to DJ Kool Herc and DJ Hollywood, Fresh was joined by Kid Rock, Grandmaster Flash, DJ Premier and Kid Capri.

Chic, Sugar Hill Gang and MC Hammer performed together for the show's closing set, a medley of "Good Times" and "Rapper's Delight."

Backstage, Darryl McDaniels of Run-DMC said his solo album, "Checks, Thugs and Rock'n'Roll," is due next year, and it will feature collaborations with several artists, including Sarah McLachlan, Kid Rock, Fresh and DJ Lethal. According to McDaniels' spokesperson, the artist is in discussions with several record labels to release the album.

McDaniels said that he wants his album to be a "more mature" alternative to today's hip-hop: "Kids look at BET and MTV and they think those images they see are the only images prevalent in the [hip-hop] world, that it's one big party. We've got wars and education problems. It's an album that you and your family can listen to but at the same time I talk about serious issues on the album."

While artists such as presenters Sean "P. Diddy" Combs urged viewers to vote in upcoming political elections, KRS-One had a different opinion backstage. "I urge all hip-hoppers to hold their vote," he said. "Don't vote. If you vote for evil, you are evil yourself."

KRS-One also promoted his Hip-Hop Declaration of Peace, a document he said he took to the United Nations in May in an effort to declare hip-hop as an official culture. He also said that he believes education is the biggest problem in the United States.

The honoree, whose real name is Kris Parker, also said he was at first reluctant to accept the VH1 honor because he has criticized networks such as VH1, BET and MTV for their programming.

"They know exactly how I feel about them and what my stance is," KRS-One said. "But VH1 said we're taking steps to educating the public on what hip-hop is all about." Indeed, this week the network bows its five-part series "And You Don't Stop: 30 Years of Hip Hop," documenting various factions and phases of the genre's development.

Backstage, presenter Wyclef Jean was coy about another possible Fugees reunion, following a one-off Sept. 18 performance for the "Block Party" concert film/documentary conceived by Dave Chappelle.

Jean said of the reunion: "Dave Chappelle called us up, and we had a great time. There may be more fun times. The Fugees have never said we've broken up or retired. When it feels right, people will get what they've been waiting for."