Last night, BET aired its annual Hip-Hop Awards, and there were a couple of notable moments at the awards show proper. Kendrick Lamar got a solo-star showcase, performing “The Recipe” and “Swimming Pools (Drank).” And as a tribute to the recently-deceased rap-star manager Chris Lighty, a deeply fun and random crew of luminaries showed up for an all-hits medley: A Tribe Called Quest, Busta Rhymes, Missy Elliott, old foes Fat Joe and 50 Cent.
But the real reason anyone watched the Hip-Hop Awards is the Cyphers, the quick black-and-white shorts in which a ton of different rappers, of varying degrees of skill and fame spit verses in rapid succession, everyone (at least in theory) competing to outdo everyone else. This year didn’t have a clear winner (E-40, I guess? T.I., possibly?) or any real star performances, but it did have solid performances from a very long list of rappers: Kendrick again, DMX, A$AP Rocky, DJ Quik, Snoop Dogg, Childish Gambino, Talib Kweli, Schoolboy Q, Joey Bada$$, Jean Grae, Ab-Soul, Mystikal, Angel Haze, and a ton of others. Watch all the Cyphers, as well as the Kendrick and Lighty tribute performances, below.
I was extremely, embarrassingly excited to see the BET chyron announce DMX as being from Baltimore, not Yonkers.