Ahead of Kanye West headlining the Pyramid Stage on Saturday night, we look back at the festival's long - and sometimes tricky - relationship with rap

I’m not having hip hop at Glastonbury. It’s wrong"
(Noel Gallagher)

Nothing seems to rile some people more than the Eavises booking rap acts for Glastonbury. Back in 2008, when Jay Z (above) was announced as the Saturday headliner, Noel Gallagher famously told BBC News, “I’m not having hip hop at Glastonbury. It’s wrong.” Then, this year, a petition was started seeking to “Cancel Kanye West’s headline slot and get a rock band.”

Glance down previous line-ups, however, and you’ll find that hip hop has been a part - albeit a small one - of Glastonbury since the 1990s. Could there have been more rap artists booked over the years? Of course, but Michael Eavis doesn’t much like rap music, or electronica, or anything that isn’t very trad rock. “My own tastes are not diverse, not really,” he told the Guardian last year. “I like Neil Young, do a bit of Elvis, and a bit of Van Morrison … sometimes I do try to vary it by having a little go at Frank Turner, though.”

Emily Eavis, though, does like hip hop. She was responsible for booking Jay Z and Kanye and that’s good news for rap fans. Here's how we got to Kanye...

I’m not having hip hop at Glastonbury. It’s wrong"
(Noel Gallagher)

1994 - Beastie Boys

In 1992, the Reading Festival made a bold statement by booking Public Enemy to headline their Saturday night. It would take Glastonbury two more years to include a rap act on the bill, but what a choice they made - asking the Beastie Boys to perform on the NME Stage (hear them play Sabotage at 2:50 in the above clip). The Brooklyn group were a success, and soon more hip hop acts started appearing at the festival, including The Roots (1995, 1998) and Jungle Brothers (1997). In 1999, all of Sunday in the Dance Tent was given over to rap with Jurassic 5, Dr Dooom (Kool Keith), Slum Village and UK talent like Black Twang and Rae & Christian all performing.

2000 - Cypress Hill

Hip hop may have made a mark on Glastonbury in the 90s, but it wasn't until 2000 that a rap act played on the Pyramid Stage. Michael Eavis's choice? The mighty Cypress Hill, who performed an explosive set - including their aptly titled new single (Rock) Superstar - high on the bill on Friday (only Counting Crows and The Chemical Brothers played after them). The Californian group had been huge news in hip hop since their self-titled debut album came out in 1991. Check the above clip for a reminder of that vintage year in rap.

2008 - Jay Z

It feels like a moment in time"
Jay Z

De La Soul and The Black Eyed Peas played on the Pyramid Stage after Cypress Hill (in 2003 and 2004 respectively), making the hoo-hah surrounding Jay Z headlining in 2008 seem all the more confusing to Michael Eavis. "We've been doing that [hip hop] for years," he told the Guardian. The booking was, however, a massive deal for rap music in general, and Jay understood that. Before his performance, he spoke to Westwood, telling him: "It feels like a moment in time. It's my turn to show hip hop in a good light ... I'm here to represent the culture."

It feels like a moment in time"
Jay Z

2010 - Snoop Dogg

It’s having hip hop stars headlining Glastonbury that seems to wind up rock fans. No one batted an eyelid when Snoop played the Pyramid Stage in 2010 - directly after country legend Willie Nelson. And that's what Glastonbury is all about - having musicians from diametrically opposed genres performing back to back.

Later that day, Dizzee Rascal excelled on Pyramid Stage for the second year on the trot (and, of course, he'd previously made a guest appearance during the Arctic Monkeys' 2007 headline set - a significant Glastonbury moment).

2013 - Azealia Banks (and many others)

Come 2013, hip hop at Glastonbury wasn't confined to superstar groups playing on the Pyramid Stage (like Wu-Tang in 2011) or paid-their-dues acts getting a spot on the Jazz Stage (like Q-Tip and Roots Manuva in 2009) - it was all over Worthy Farm. Azealia Banks was stunning on the Other Stage; Public Enemy headlined the West Holts stage on Saturday night (watch highlights here) and Odd Future's Tyler, the Creator and Earl Sweatshirt performed brillianty on the John Peel stage. It suddenly looked like we'd all become genre-blind. And then...

2015 - Kanye West

...all hell broke loose. "It was not a pleasant world we unwrapped," Emily Eavis told the Times. "I had death threats and stuff. It was horrible. It was just crazy." She added: "Kanye West is making the most exciting music at the moment. He is an amazing force as a performer. For us getting the biggest star in the world was an amazing coup." Too right, Emily. Kanye, music and the spirit of Glastonbury will prevail.

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