At the Atlanta Civic Center, Young Jeezy — who often has high-profile guests to join him onstage — pulled off a huge move during the BET Hip-Hop Awards, kicking off the show by bringing out surprise guest Jay-Z. Hov and Young opened the show with “As Real As It Gets,” with the two hip-hop heavyweights going back and forth on verses. With the audience on their feet by song’s end, Jeezy said, “Welcome to Atlanta.”
Jay later took home the MVP of the Year award, beating out such popular peers as Lil Wayne and Drake. Hov dedicated his win to Mr. Magic, Snoop Dogg and Ice Cube. “Brooklyn, we did it again,” he said at the conclusion of his brief speech.
Other big winners announced during the show were Drake for Rookie of the Year and DJ AM for DJ of the Year.
Busta Rhymes stood in for the turntable great, who passed away in August. “I’m honored to accept this,” he said. Rhymes also saluted his recently deceased personal DJ, Roc Raida, and pioneer Mr. Magic who formatted his New York radio show with 100 percent hip-hop in the 1980s.
DJ Drama was the house DJ, with DJ Khaled serving as the show’s MC. Mike Epps, the show’s host, did a short stand-up routine as he cracked the mic, clowning on everyone from Lil Mama to Snoop Dogg.
During breaks, BET showed videotaped packages of their now-famous “cypher” rap sessions. DJ Premier played a beat while three sets of MCs rapped. The first set included KRS-One and Wale, while the second set showcased Joe Budden and Nicki Minaj. The rhyme of the night went to Eminem, however — his session included Black Thought and Mos Def. Em hit a rapid-fire flow that addressed everything from s*x to Barack Obama.
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