Tonight’s Grammy telecast closed with an all-star mixing of rock, rap and turntablism as Tom Morello, LL Cool J, Travis Barker, Public Enemy’s Chuck D and Z-Trip assembled to perform a song called “Whaddup.”
Z-Trip put the group together after working with LL Cool J. “LL and I have been working on some tracks, and this song in particular, he was like, ‘We’re gonna perform this on the Grammys, but let’s get the right people together; I want to have live musicians,'” Z-Trip told Rolling Stone. “So I reached out to Tom, Travis, Chuck as well, and everyone came in. It’s like the A-Team; we put out the call, everyone’s in here. It’s like putting together a magnitude, a supernova that’s gonna burn this whole place down.”
Morello also promised sparks from the performance before the group took the stage. “We’re gonna take a career’s worth of fury and put it into four minutes tonight,” he said. He believed that intensity is why they’re closing the show. “They’re afraid to put on anyone after us; it’s that simple. That’s not complicated.”
Will this unit be a one-time performance or will they work together in future? The musicians aren’t sure. “One day at a time; our first public performance is about to happen in a few hours,” Morello said early in the evening. However, Chuck D looked to other live debuts as a source of optimism. “Well, Crosby, Stills and Nash and Woodstock was their first date and they all got together and found out, ‘Wow, this thing is really cool,'” Chuck D said. “So who knows?”
The impetus for the performance was LL, and both Morello and Chuck D said the song was intended as a showcase for the one-time self-proclaimed G.O.A.T. (Greatest of All Time) rapper. “LL gets the chance to really say, ‘I’ve hosted this, I’ve seen it all, but this is what I got.’ And that’s a cool thing,” Chuck said.
“People know LL from a lot of different things and what people are going to be reminded of tonight is he is one of the greatest emcees of all time,” Morello added. The track is LL’s song from a project that Z-Trip and the rapper are working on. “We’re assembling some more stuff, so it’s coming,” he said. “We’re in the lab and we’re making really good stuff.”