Britishhiphop.co.uk was present to see history in the making with the first ever BET Hip Hop Awards. The ceremony took place at the distinguished Fox Theatre, Atlanta and boasted a guest list of stars. From Jay Z to Jim Jones, Snoop Dogg to TI, Chamillonaire to the UK’s Sway, all the big names were there and thanks to our friends at BBC 1Xtra, BET and Glenyearwood so were we! So sit back and relax as we bring you the inside scoop.
The Red Carpet was an event within itself. The stars made their way up the lengthy carpet which was framed by screaming fans on the left and the bright lights of the media on the right. We caught Da Brat signing autographs and showing some love to her fans. Juelz Santana looking casually cool whilst walking up with his fellow Dipsetter Jim Jones and Busta Rhymes in conversation with his hype man Spliff Star.
Comedian Kat Williams, who may be familiar to UK audiences though his side splitting turns on Nick Cannon’s Wild ‘n’ Out show, hosted the ceremony in a way that only Kat Williams can. He brought the laughs, he brought the funny sketches and he brought the drama: he managed to sneak onto the stage to do an impressive number of press ups during the Jim Jones’ performance. Even when making references to his recent altercation with the law, Kat Williams brought the house down.
Opening the show with a special version of ‘Welcome to Atlanta’, Young Jeezy, Ludacris and Jermaine Dupri set the tone (and the bling) for the rest of the night. When we weren’t memorized by performances from the likes of Lil Wayne, TI and Young Jeezy, we were shielding our eyes from the dazzling amount of bling on display. Speaking of Young Jeezy, his show stopping performance of ‘I love It’ literally brought the strip club to the stage. With lights bright enough to light up the Millennium Dome, pole dancers with assets big enough to cause a minor earthquake, and floods of fake (well we hope they were) dollar bills, it seems the Snow Man was out to make a lasting impression.
Busta Rhymes made sure he didn’t waste his acceptance speech when picking up his Best Live Performer award, by reminding rappers that live performances are meant to be about the energy and the performance and not as he put it crotch grabbing- we couldn’t have put it better ourselves. If there was a category for the ‘most humble rapper’ it would have surely gone to Chammillonaire, whose sincere appreciation and humility when accepting his awards for Rookie of the Year and the Alltel Wireless People’s Champ Award humbled us all.
The BET Hip Hop Awards also paid tribute to a pioneer of the decks and a pioneer in Hip Hop (period) Grandmaster Flash. Receiving the I am Hip Hop Award, the Hip Hop icon went on to remind us of why DJs are crucial to the growth of Hip Hop and received a rapturous applause.
Speaking of Hip Hop pioneers, Jay Z often a man of few words accepted his Hip- Hop Hustler Award with some interesting words: ‘…women lie but the numbers don’t’ hmmm we wonder who the Jigga Man was referring to?
Two of the highlights for britishhiphop.co.uk were seeing Sway rapping (and more than holding his own) alongside Rhymefest and various other US rappers on screen. The other highlight was seeing the British MC holding his award for the Best UK Hip Hop Act on the red carpet. The fact that this category now exists and is helping to promote UK acts in the US surely means that the tide is turning for talented UK artists who have been trying to gain exposure in the US market.
The perfect evening was topped off with an exclusive after party hosted by Courvoisier.
By: Michelle Adabra