Wednesday, October 28, 2009


After the BET Awards’ dedication to Michael Jackson, which was met with mixed reviews, the network went back to the drawing board for the 2009 BET Hip-Hop Awards, held annually in Atlanta. In spite of the obvious skepticism, this year BET put together a surprisingly balanced event showcasing the underground, mainstream, and past stars of Hip-Hop culture.

Unfortunately, this year security was very strict about any type of cameras or recording materials. Of course, this couldn’t stop people from furiously tweeting throughout the show.

The festivities kicked off with an orchestral ensemble of drums and string instruments backingYoung Jeezy, who came out promptly for theBlueprint 3 track “Real As It Gets.” Jeezy was shown love as a hometown favorite, but it was almost as if the crowd didn’t expect Jay to appear. When he did, there was a huge ovation as both men spit their verses in matching black outfits and mist effects behind them. In an allusion to his stolen MTV Awards moment last month, Jay hit his b-boy stance again, and thankfully this time pint-sized spoiler Lil Mama was nowhere to be seen.

Mike Epps was solid in the role of host, never going overboard with any jokes and keeping the crowd amused after being forced to repeat a segment several times for mispronouncing “choreographer.” (“I know how to say choreographer! You didn’t have to bring the white man out here.”). Of course he had Lil Mama jokes as well, explaining that she was really 46 years old, and just hopped on stage to check on her grandkids.

For 2009, this event’s theme was “Hip-Hop giving back.” Here, emcees got to answer the ever recurring question of what they were doing for their communities. The acknowledged organizations included 50 Cent’s G-Unity Foundation (, Busta Rhymeswith the Orange Rock Corps (, Young Jeezy’s Street Dreams Foundation (, and Jim Jones with the Entertainers 4 Education (

Gucci Mane’s presence was the musical centerpiece of the show. The east Atlanta representer was a part of several performances, first starting with his verse on Mario’s hit single “Break Up.” His appearance was treated like a big event, and pyro flashed in the background as Gucci strutted on stage clad in a garish fur coat. His audience reception was bigger than Jay-Z’s and after Mario and his dancers vacated, Gucci went into “Wasted,” and Plies ran out to another huge ovation. It came across very good live, but we’ll see how it translates on TV.

Later, Gucci returned for protégé Soulja Boy’s “Gucci Bandana.” SB’s collection was determined by tweet requests from his over 1 million followers. Gucci was still the most popular rapper among the performing trio (SB, Shawty Lo, Gucci), but Shawty Lo’s appearance was the most memorable courtesy of an outfit ensemble featuring a Mary Poppins-esque umbrella and galoshes. Finally, Gucci ended his night hitting the stage with Wale and go-go band UCB for “Pretty Girls.”

SOURCE Ismael AbduSalaam
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