Last night, BET aired its annual Hip-Hop Awards. The show featured performances from big names like Cardi B, YG, A$AP Rocky, Lil Pump, and Gucci Mane, among others. But as ever, the best reason to watch was the annual collection of Cyphers — the random groups of big and small rappers doing whatever they could to impress and gain attention just by rapping into cameras for a minute and a half.
Last year, the big story coming out of the Hip-Hop Awards was Eminem’s anti-Trump tirade, the show’s first-ever one-man Cypher. This year had nothing as headline-grabbing as that, but there was a storyline going into it. Chicago rapper Vic Mensa went used the line “your favorite rapper is an abuser” in his Cypher verse and then specifically went after the late XXXTentacion. The show was taped last week, and Mensa claimed that he didn’t know XXXTentacion’s mother would be in the audience, but he stood by what he said. When BET aired the Cypher last night, they censored Mensa’s verse.
Mensa had one of the most impressive verses in last night’s Cyphers, which also featured people like BlocBoy JB and Erykah Badu, who DJed an all-woman Cypher and dropped in with a clearly-freestyled verse of her own. Everyone rapped over the beat from N.O.R.E.’s classic 1998 posse cut “Banned From TV,” and some of the most impressive performances came from YBN Cordrae, Casanova, G Herbo, Texan impressionist Tobe Nwigwe, and new TDE recruit Reason. Watch all the Cyphers below, via Miss Info.
YBN Cordae, Tobe Nwigwe, Duckwrth, & BlocBoy JB:
Sharaya J, Chika, Neelam Hakeem, Bri Steves, & Erykah Badu:
Flawless All Talk, Casanova, Shawn Smith, Phora, & Reason:
Vic Mensa, Taylor Bennett, G Herbo, & Nick Grant: