…..I really don’t know what to say about the BET Hip Hop awards this year. I can’t remember ever watching them really, so nothing has ever been memorable about them except for the ciphers. Last year’s was prolly the most talked about, especially with Mos Def, Black Thought, and Eminem (that was last year huh!?). And many of those I don’t think I actually saw because they kept getting removed on the net because of Viacom. This year I finally sat down to watch it for 1 reason…well, 2 reasons. 1. Because a friend and talented brother I know is a writer on the show. 2. Antoine Dodson.
I’m not gonna lie, reason #2 was the main one.
I’ll get to that later.
You know…I find myself feeling a lot like Chris Rock when he said that as he gets older he gets tired of defending Hip hop. It’s one thing where Hip Hop is gratuitous, foul mouthed, and misogynistic. You start defending yourself as a male in those areas. I can argue those points. But when you look at a lot of the Hip Hop out now…it’s like…what is this!?
Now let me say, just like every genre of music, Hip Hop has different styles. You have your Soulja Boy, Waka Flocka, B.o.B, and J. Cole. Each of them represent a different side, taste, and demographic that encompasses Hip Hop and the urban life. But in a large way, the actual music and content sound very similar. Your most stand out artists are guys like B.o.B and J Cole. The rest of Hip Hop falls into 2 categories: Crunk-Crack rap, or Lyricist-Punchline rap. If you don’t fall in one of those 2 lanes, you’re pretty much not noticed.
Nicki Minaj was probably the most recognized. She won 3 awards. She came on stage confident, already ready for everything that was happening. She actually had more presence than everyone else that came up there to speak. The conspiracy theorist/cynic in me couldn’t help feel like her winnings are largely tied into her album that’s dropping next month, as if she may have had a backdoor deal of sorts to be sure that she got the win. Or maybe her fans are that dedicated and they all voted. Who knows. But I can’t lie, Nicki has talent. I think she would be better as an actress (especially with all those personalities and voices she can jump into) but otherwise she did her thing. Will she be on there next year? That’s anybody’s guess.
Otherwise what else…I dunno. All I can think about is how MC Hammer was dressed. As I said on twitter “MC Hammer was dressed as The Prime Minister of the small nation of East Oakland.” Dude had an all white collarless suit with gold buttons and a beanie. Lookin like a thugged out dictator. When the people chanted 2 legit 2 Quit, I thought an extra pack of S1Ws were gonna come out and get into position. He can still dance his ass off though.
I think Big Boi & Yelawolf had the best stage show, along with B.o.B.
J Cole was dope too. You could see all the other rappers in the audience rapping along with him and focusing on him intently. J. Cole is one of the few honest, from the heart emcees out right now. And you could tell that his peers and older guys respected him. He was on stage completely by himself and kept people’s attention. He’s gonna be the next greatest in my opinion. Surely to inspire the next generation of emcees.
I think the biggest surprise for a lot of people was Digital Underground. After Cali Swag District got off, they went into Humpty Dance, then Shock G hopped on the piano and did I Get Around. And the way he did his intro talking about Tupac, you woulda sworn Tupac was gonna come right around the corner as a surprise guest!
And of course, the ciphers. Everybody I’m sure is all over the blogs and twitter talking about who killed what and murder whom and destroyed and ripped and devoured and sliced and diced and soned and clowned.
First of all…the amount of Montana Fishburne punchlines…I mean really. At least 5 different emcees mentioned her. I was largely disappointed that Busta Rhymes didn’t rhyme at all. In terms of who I think did the best jobs on the Ciphers: Diggy Simmons, Ice Cube, Big Sean, Pusha T, and Zawcain. No particular order though. Big Sean stepped waaaay up to me. Lots of others were nice, but not memorable. Pretty sad there weren’t any other women.
Back to Antoine Dodson. When I heard he was performing, I had to see it, because of what comedic things could come from it. Unfortunately there wasn’t much since he was only there for 30 seconds. What killed me is that his “song” isn’t a Hip Hop song; But, his story, being from the projects of Alabama, to accidentally having a hit single that allowed him to buy a house for his family, and get on the BET Hip Hop Awards ?! Man! That’s kinda awesome! Remember that guy some years ago who saved a man who fell on the tracks of a train? People were inspired and rallied around that man’s courage. Here we have a guy who fought off an intruder, had a funny moment on camera, then got his luck turned around with an auto-tuned song, then got rich! He had the moment so many people wish they could have, and he’s getting all he can from it. I’m not mad at him. haha Only in America!
Otherwise, all up and down twitter you could see people really talking about how bad the show was. Before there was even a commercial break one girl tweeted she was ready to turn the channel. When I heard about the Chilean miners who were being rescued from a hole after 60 days, I turned to CNN and almost forgot about the Awards show. I can’t doubt that people have tried to get the best out of the show they can. I can’t imagine what it’s like working on that show, so who knows what people have to go through. But boy I tell you…so many of the performances just weren’t good. Just guys on stage, hardly any light-show, nothing really musically different with the exception of B.o.B. and Shock G.
They only had a 1 minute segment to honor Guru without playing any of his music, or having anyone do his songs?
Say what you will, but Gangstarr is a legendary duo that set a new standard in Hip Hop. To not pay an extended homage is damn near criminal.
This is what we have now. Followers. BET used to be watched for the newest trends and latest standards for Black music. Now BET follows. They get who have already been deemed “hot” without deeming it themselves. The rappers do what’s hot, rather than going against the grain. Everything is safe. I can’t really be mad at Waka Flaka for deviating from his original set and doing what he wanted for the energy. Everything is too safe in Hip Hop. And the amount of safety has actually made it the most dangerous genre to get into, because it’s lack of bravery makes people disbelieve in a lot of it.
Yet many of us still watched it last night. Only to watch the train wreck and laugh at it. Start trending topics to see who would have the best jokes. Watch ciphers to judge who actually held their own. The Ciphers are about the most authentic piece of the show. Where we listen to emcees rhyme and show their skill directly in front of other warriors and veterans. But an award show is supposed to be a celebration of the best of the time, and something that will create memories for us to really cherish.
After tomorrow I don’t think I will remember much else.
I agree with everything that you analyzed about the show. I kept turning it on & off because I was watching football, but of what I did see, the ciphers were the best…especially the G.O.O.D. Music one. I am not a Nicki Minaj fan at ALL…I feel like she’s a product and not a person so I dont take her or anything she says seriously. I don’t even like her bars, seems to me she’s only popular because of her delivery. Whenever I concentrate on what she’s saying, she’s not saying anything. But off that, I totally agree w/ ur analysis of BET being “followers”. They are definately knocking everything off & they need to get back to the days where they concentrated on making the black community better instead of exploiting it.