Jet-setted out to Miami for a hot minute to cover the BET Hip Hop Awards. Hosted for a second year by DJ Khaled, this time with his little protege Asahd by his side. 11-months old and that kid has more of a following than I could ever hope to accrue in all the years I have on him. It’s those cheeks I tell you! It was also the first time the awards took place in Miami, aka 305, aka Sunshine State, aka Khaled’s adopted home and the place that gave the super producer his big break into the industry.
“It’s my second time hosting the awards, and I asked them, ‘man, if you ever decide to move to another city, I would love for it to be in Miami,’ nahmean? Now it’s in Miami, and it’s such a blessing, nahmean!” he said, on the red carpet. Khaled, as host and 9-time nominee, along with Cardi B and Kendrick Lamar, had quite the night. But not quite as big as Cardi B. She took home Hustler of the Year, Single of the Year and Best New Artist prizes. The 24-year-old is riding the wave of her success – having become the first female rapper to top the Billboard 100 chart since Lauryn Hill back in 1998.
[Photo: Jeff Daly/BET Networks]
She also performed the track that’s had people asking more questions about the ex-stripper turned reality star turned rapper – Bodak Yellow. That track has become ubiquitous. Taking to the stage in a massive fur coat, she gave a shoutout to her Bronx upbringing through the barber and bodega shopfronts used as her backdrop.
Gucci Mane and Khaled also performed, as well as Florida’s most well-known talents like T-Pain and Flo Rida, but the performances that had me most excited were the Cyphers, especially the all-female one featuring Kash Doll, Leikeli47, Tokyo Jetz and my favourite rapper at the moment, Rapsody – and her Africa-flag-bearing jacket. Cardi B may be getting all the big-name kudos, but Rapsody’s second album, Laila’s Wisdom is full of that let-it-settle greatness. She spits lines that have you thinking about them way after you’ve heard them and others that are instant punches. Witness: “Influenced by many, but I’m a whole new star. There’s levels to this, but I’m a whole new floor.” She’s been in the game for a while, but it seems the time is right for a little more recognition and a lot more respect for Marlanna Evans. At least the time seems right to celebrate women in hip hop however they choose to be.