Did you catch this year’s broadcast of the Kennedy Center Honors earlier this week? If so, you might’ve spotted a familiar face, particularly if you’re a longtime fan of the local DJ scene: local legend Z-Trip.
The renowned DJ, who got his start in the Valley, performed at the annual star-studded ceremony, which aired on Tuesday, December 26, on CBS, during a segment honoring LL Cool J.
The superstar rapper and actor was one of five artists that were lauded at this year’s Kennedy Center Honors.
Singers Gloria Estefan and Lionel Richie, television writer/producer Norman Lear, and actress/dancer Carmen de Lavallade were also honored during the event.
LL Cool J is the first hip-hop artist to receive a Kennedy Center Honor. And during his segment, Z-Trip performed a scorching set behind a boombox-shaped DJ booth.
While he was scratching and spinning, hip-hop artists Busta Rhymes, MC Lyte, Black Thought, Spliff Star, and Darryl "DMC" McDaniels performed a medley of LL Cool J hits like “Mama Said Knock You Out,” “Rock the Bells,” and “I’m Bad.”
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It wasn’t the first time that Z-Trip was involved with LL Cool J. The two are longtime friends who have collaborated on remixes and toured together on multiple occasions since 2011.
Z-Trip even produced and arranged LL Cool J's Kennedy Center Honors segment, which he discussed in a post to his Facebook page on December 22 after the ceremony was taped.
“There’s a couple reasons why this is so important to me. 1) It’s a MAJOR achievement for Hip Hop having LL Cool J be the 1st Hip Hop artist ever honored in the 40 years they’ve been doing this. I couldn’t think of a better person than him to receive this award. 2) This is also a huge personal achievement for me. Not only was it an extremely special moment for me to honor my friend LL in this way, it was also another milestone in my DJ career having arranged & produced the whole segment myself.”
If you feel like congratulating Z-Trip on his accomplishment, he'll headline the New Year's Eve festivities at Scottsdale's Talking Stick Resort on Sunday. You might want to refrain from any high-fives, however, since his hands will be busy working the wheels of steel.