The annual BET Hip-Hop Awards are back, hosted for the second consecutive year by DJ Khaled. Khaled himself is nominated for a record nine different awards, including MVP of the Year and Producer of the Year. Needless to say, it’s been a prolific year for fan-favorite Khaled with the release of his newest studio album “Grateful.” The album title is in part a reference to the birth of his first son Asahd who, at only 11 months, has amassed quite a following on social media with over 1.5 million Instagram followers.
The red carpet outfits at the awards were as loud and garish as you would expect from a bunch of young rappers with unimaginable wealth and a love for designer brands. One of the more interesting looks came from 19-year-old SoundCloud phenom XXXTentacion as he rolled up to the Fillmore Miami Beach in a black and white theatrical mask to match his characteristic hairstyle.
The main events of the night included performances from Playboi Carti, Migos, Cardi B and a surprise cypher from Eminem. Cardi is one of the newest faces on the rap scene with her breakthrough single “Bodak Yellow,” which has been sitting at number one on the Billboard Hot 100 for a record-setting three consecutive weeks. The song has taken the title for longest-reigning chart-topper by an unaccompanied female artist, a feat that hasn’t been done since Lauryn Hill’s “Doo Wop (That Thing)” in 1998.
Her performance for the awards was one of the highlights of the night. Cardi was a commanding presence on the stage. She came out wrapped head-to-toe in an exotic, zebra print faux fur coat which she quickly shed to reveal a far more scandalous outfit. As the camera panned around to the famous faces of the audience, everyone was on their feet echoing the chorus, “I’m making money moves.”
Gucci Mane and Playboi Carti followed suit with similarly electric performances. Carti went with a more minimalistic stage design with only a handful of backup dancers who milly rocked along to his summer hit “Magnolia.” He kept the momentum going with “Wokeuplikethis,” another of his most popular songs from his newest album. Gucci, in typical fashion, had no shortage of women at his side as confetti rained down upon him and the dancers.
However, Eminem stole the show with his surprise cypher which shocked many viewers due to its highly political message and direct attacks on President Donald Trump. The track had no beat or instrumental, just the Grammy-award winning rapper’s rhythmic voice accompanied by powerful gestures – a performance reminiscent of slam poetry. Eminem, who has been outspoken about his disgust with Trump in the past, made no attempt to shy away from controversial topics as he spit verse after verse on gun control, nationalism, presidential campaigning tactics and racism. The whole experience was incredibly intense and emotionally charged. The 4four-minute tirade culminated in a final statement that was only fitting for the cypher’s overall sentiment: “F*ck Donald Trump.”
Khaled closed out the show with a heart-felt message to his personal mentor Luther Campbell as he was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award. Khaled credits Campbell with giving him the opportunities that have allowed him to be where he is today. Luther accepted the award on the brink of tears in a touching moment for BET Hip-Hop Awards history.
Mitchell Clark is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.