BET Hip Hop Awards 2011 Cypher
The BET Hip Hop Awards was recently served up and apart from seeing the return of DMX and Heavy D live and LL Cool J immortalised this year, the cypher, once again became the show’s highlight package. Lil Wayne took both artist and live performer of the year, but when Chris Brown’s Look At Me Now (featuring Busta Rhymes and Lil Wayne) takes most awards including video of the year and the Beastie Boys’ aren’t even nominated, who gives a shit about the rest? The awards won’t be remembered next week but the all-star cypher will go down as one of the most memorable. Everybody got down on their 16 bars, no weak links and scratching each MC in, was none other than the legendary DJ Premier with James Brown’s Payback.
This year on the cypher’s 5th anniversary, BET hosted it’s largest roll call of participants the awards show has produced to date, featuring Tech N9ne, Busta Rhymes, Luda, B.o.B., Rick Rosay and his Maybach Music Group, Wale who held down D.C. and Stalley from Ohio, r&b crossover Chris Brown who set shit straight in his own words over 16 bars alongside Ace Hood, Kevin McCall, & Young Money’s only rep, Tyga. Internationally represented, London’s Estelle rapped nice and Soprano dropped the quickest 16 in French and it was wonderful to see Lady Of Rage back on her afro puffs swinging forth with some of the illest bars of the night; “Lyrically, you would be a fool to fight with the Robin Givens of spittin’ shit / I’m cruel to mics, yikes / I’m goin’ in like a lifer / step into your radius and decipher your cypher.”
This year’s XXL freshmen, Dom Kennedy, Yelawolf, Big K.R.I.T. all showed skills as did Kendrick Lamar who came in early going, “2012 on a 12 inch” calling suckers “mascots on a Kim Kardashian ass shot” and Busta Rhymes who was circled around Ludacris, Reek Da Villain and 2Chainz came merciless with the whoop-ass on his Disney-animated scowling beatdown and snatched the lead early in. Then on Maybach’s round Meek Mill brought this heat; “Sheesh! I’m like R.I.P / I brought 2Pac Back, then it’s BIG / America’s most wanted like Chi-Ali / I’m too young to be doing this, they need to see ID / Ross said I’m hot, TIP said I’m hot, Swizz said I’m hot / Your chick said I’m hot.”
But on the 7th and final round, from Detroit’s 8 Mile - Shady Records’ Eminem unleashed ‘white dog’ Yelawolf before the Slaughterhouse four one-by-one butchered-down every MC. Returnee to the annual event, Joe Budden staggered his start; “done took the wine out of Amy House,” and “I don’t blame y’all for being trash fans and copping it / The radio’s the crime scene the masses are the hostages / In my youth I throw shots, the fan would be dodging it / I’m grown, I ain’t watching the throne, I’m sabotaging it.”
32-plus bars later, Budden showed why he’s a revered member of Slaughterhouse. Royce Da 5’9 weirded out with his ‘Hi Rihanna’ lines and high anticipation for Joell Ortiz was met with the swiftly-rapped “Ortiz keep they fire ready / And trying to put me out’s like trying to steal a transvestite from Eddie” and Crooked I snatched back with “I spot a victim, the plot’ll thicken when the clock is tickin’ / I caught em slippin, I gotta give em a shot, I hit ‘em with proper spittin’ / Hottest writtens and compositions, so competitions a contradiction.”
Rabbit was reborn when Mr. Mathers, who took his one moment to a career-high of lyrical beatdowns once again stormed on to shut down the whole event: “Can Yelawolf fit a fifth of rum in a big cup between stickshiftin in his friggin pickup / and drink like a hick redneck hill billy until he gets hiccups? / Flippin the script up like Mike Vick gettin his junk bit by a pit, yup, Ima sick pup / Id be a horrible magician, cause Ill fuck a trick up / Fix your lips up to say something fly, or zip up.”
At which point Joe Budden walked off in defeat, much like everyone else.