As we all get ready for the Grammy’s this Sunday, take a minute to countdown with us the Top 10 Hip Hop and R&B performances. 

10. 1989: Whitney Houston – “One Moment in Time”

Following the 1988 Summer Olympics in South Korea, the performance by Whitney Houston was appropriately matched with footage from the Olympics for this special moment in time.

9. 1987: Janet Jackson – “What Have You Done for Me Lately?/Nasty”

Janet Jackson held it down with this performance by adding her own flair to some of her brother’s moves.

8. 2009: Kanye West ft. Jay-Z, Lil Wayne, T.I. and M.I.A. – “Swagga Like Us”


LIVEKanye West Jay Z Lil Wayne T.i…byNeKsoN

Even though M.I.A. was well along with her pregnancy with her son, she joined Hip Hop’s “Rap Pack” to perform one of the biggest hits that received some serious radio play for 2008-2009.

7. 2006: Gorillaz, De La Soul, Madonna – “Feel Good Inc./Hung Up”

As is Gorillaz fashion, they showed up in full virtual form with De La Soul in the flesh to do their verses. But then Madonna surprised us with her short cameo as an on screen video before coming on stage for “Hung Up.” This was all before holograms were cool at Coachella, kids.

6. 2002: Christina Aguilera ft. Pink, Lil Kim, Mya, Patti LaBelle – “Lady Marmalade”

With a clever introduction by Jon Stewart, one of the more sultry performances to date kicked off with an all star cast for a song off the soundtrack to Moulin Rouge. And you know Missy Elliott had to make a cameo right before Ms. Patti LaBelle came to shut it down.

5. 2001: Eminem & Elton John – “Stan”

On the heels of backlash from critics that Eminem was homophobic and misogynistic, Elton John, who had been a fan of Eminem’s work, joined him on stage for “Stan.” The mutual respect between the two was apparent and Eminem flipped off the audience at the end to show that he couldn’t care less for the haters.

4. 2006: Kanye West ft. Jamie Foxx – “Gold Digger”

Who doesn’t like a good marching band showdown? And then followed by a step battle? All led by Kanye West and Jamie Foxx? ‘Nuff said.

3. 1988: Michael Jackson – “The Way You Make Me Feel/Man in the Mirror”

It was no question when Michael Jackson took to the stage, everyone was quiet and watched. And the same went for this phenomenal showcase of how he earned the title of the King of Pop.

2. 2008: Beyonce & Tina Turner – “Proud Mary”


Tina Turner & Beyonce – Live [2008] – Proud Mary by Schutzengerl1205

What made this so special was Beyonce’s opening homage to some of the female greats to record as a singer, all as a part of an introduction for Tina Turner. Ms. Turner then came on stage to sing “What’s Love Got to Do with It” and “Better Be Good to Me” before Beyonce joined her on stage for “Proud Mary.” To see two artists from different eras but uniquely talented in their own rights sing together created a moment bigger than the performance.

1. 2005: Kanye West, John Legend, Mavis Staples, Blind Boys of Alabama – “Jesus Walks”

We all know Kanye is one for the theatrics but this one really outdoes the rest. John Legend and Mavis Staples are backed by the Blind Boys of Alabama for “I’ll Take You There,” which led into a classic church scene on stage for Kanye to die and rise again on. But before his resurrection, John Legend and the Blind Boys of Alabama soulfully sing the hymn, “I’ll Fly Away,” which was of course featured on Kanye’s ‘College Dropout.’ Kanye really spread his wings that year, not just with the angel wings at the end of the performance, but with his first two Grammy wins with Best Rap Album of the Year (College Dropout) and Best Rap Song (“Jesus Walks”).

Bryan Hahn (@notupstate) & Geneva Perezcastaneda (@geevabeba)