Hip-hop is more than just rhyming raps, loaded lyrics, booming beats and mic-blowing MCs — it’s also a cultural community, which is celebrated every year at the BET Hip Hop Awards.
This year’s pre-taped award show, which aired on BET Oct. 11, brought legends, moguls and newcomers in the game to Atlanta’s Boisfeuillet Jones Civic Center on Oct. 1.
Host Mike Epps kept viewers roaring with laughter between award announcements, honors and the highly anticipated hip hop cyphers, which featured 41 underground and well-known MCs freestyling over tracks spun by DJ Premier.
In addition to the cyphers, a series of live performances — including ones by Young Jeezy, T.I., Wiz Khalifa, Rick Ross, DMX, Big Sean, Lupe Fiasco and Heavy D — featured lyrics from the old-school ’80s to the mainstream 2000s.
The champion of the night was R&B artist and part-time rapper Chris Brown, who took home Best Hip Hop Video, Best Collaboration and People’s Chance Award for his 2011 hit featuring Lil’ Wayne and Busta Rhymes “Look At Me Now.” In second place was Louisiana-born rapper Lil’ Wayne, who won the Lyricist of the Year and Best Live Performer awards.
BET honored rapper-turned-actor LL Cool J as this year’s recipient of the I AM Hop Hop award, given to the artist who has had a significant musical and cultural influence on the hip hop community. In his one-of-a-kind acceptance speech, the MC set aside Hollywood and reconnected with his musical talents, reciting an inspirational rap that yielded him a standing ovation and endless applause.
Best Hip Hop Video : “Look At Me Now” by Chris Brown, featuring Lil Wayne and Busta Rhymes
Reese’s Perfect Combo Award (Best Collaboration) : “Look At Me Now” by Chris Brown, featuring Lil Wayne and Busta Rhymes
Best Live Performer: Lil Wayne
Lyricist of the Year: Lil Wayne
Video Director of the Year: Hype Williams
Producer of the Year: Lex Luger
MVP of the Year : Nicki Minaj
Track of the Year: “Black and Yellow” by Wiz Khalifa (produced by Stargate)
Hustler of the Year: Jay-Z
Best Hip Hop Online Site : WorldStarHipHop.com
CD of the Year: My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy by Kanye West
DJ of the Year: DJ Khaled
Rookie of the Year : Wiz Khalifa
Best Mixtape: Friday Night Lights by J. Cole
Best Club Banger : “No Hands” by Waka Flocka Flame (produced by Lex Luger)
Made-You-Look Award (Best Hip Hop Style): Nicki Minaj
Verizon People’s Champ Award (Viewers’ Choice): “Look At Me Now” by Chris Brown, featuring Lil Wayne and Busta Rhymes
Sweet 16: Best Featured Verse : Busta Rhymes in “Look At Me Now”
I Am Hip Hop: LL Cool J