After more than 33 years on air, David Letterman is finally packing his Late Night bags.
At 68, Letterman has spent nearly half his life suited up behind the famed Late Night desk, and he’s provided one of the most coveted music stages around along the way.
Letterman’s Late Night, an update on Johnny Carson’s format and approach that paved the way for the current roster of late-night hosts, kicked off in February of 1982. Less than a year later, Letterman invited the b-boy troupe the Rock Steady Crew into the studio to perform. At that point, in 1983, the Rock Steady Crew’s performance was one of a handful of moments that helped fully assimilate Hip Hop into the mainstream. Letterman didn’t provide a consistent stage for the genre that hosts like Arsenio Hall and others did throughout the 1980s, but three decades later, part of Letterman’s legacy has been his open-armed attitude towards music of all types.
With Letterman’s reign over late night coming to an end in the coming week, here are a look back at some of the most memorable Hip Hop performances on the show. From the Rock Steady Crew and the Beastie Boys to more recent stars like Kanye West, Drake, and Run The Jewels, watch how some of the biggest and best of the genre showed out on Letterman’s Late Night stage.
1. Rock Steady Crew Perform on David Letterman (1983)
2. Beastie Boys – “Live At P.J.’s” (1992)
3. RUN DMC – “Christmas In Hollis”
4. A Tribe Called Quest – “Check the Rhime” (1993)
Here’s A Tribe Called Quest’s network television debut in early 1993.