J Dilla and Rakim To Be Honored With Kennedy Center Performance

The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts is set to pay tribute to iconic figures J Dilla and Rakim through special performances as part of its upcoming concert series called Hip Hop &. This series highlights the intersections of Hip-Hop with other genres and explores the diverse ways in which Hip-Hop influences culture.

On March 30, the Kennedy Center will host a one-night-only event in the Concert Hall featuring Robert Glasper, Derrick Hodge, and the Black Radio Orchestra. The event will celebrate the 125th and 50th birthdays of music legends Duke Ellington and J Dilla. The performance promises a unique blend of Hip-Hop and jazz, showcasing the dynamic relationship between these art forms.

Following this, on April 19, the Concert Hall will witness the collaboration of three legendary musicians: Rakim, DJ Jazzy Jeff, and Ravi Coltrane in The Rakim & DJ Jazzy Jeff & Ravi Coltrane Project. This collaboration brings together the influence of Rakim’s groundbreaking contributions to rap, DJ Jazzy Jeff’s Grammy-winning talent, and Ravi Coltrane’s expertise in saxophone, band leading, and composition.

Simone Eccleston, the Director of Hip-Hop Culture & Contemporary Music at the Kennedy Center, expressed her excitement about launching the Hip Hop & Festival. She highlighted the deeply interconnected and symbiotic relationship between Hip-Hop and Jazz, describing them as two of America’s greatest art forms within the Black Music Continuum that have transformed global culture.

“We are elated to have incredible musical vanguards such as Rakim, DJ Jazzy Jeff, Ravi Coltrane, Robert Glasper, Derrick Hodge, and Igmar Thomas’s Revive Big Band performing as part of this year’s festival, uplifting the artistic contributions of icons such as Duke Ellington, J Dilla, and John Coltrane,” she remarked.