The 2018 BET Hip Hop Awards aired last night, bringing together the hip-hop community to help celebrate the biggest and brightest acts that the culture has to offer. Taking place at the Fillmore Miami Beach at Jackie Gleason Theater, the ceremony was yet another star-studded affair featuring an array of artists from all corners of the genre.
Comedian/actor Deray Davis hosted the festivities, opening with a hilarious spoof of Kanye West and Lil Pump's oversized garbs in their "I Love It" video, and elsewhere mocking Joe Budden and DJ Khaled. Although some stars were not in attendance—most notably Jay-Z and Beyoncé (who won three awards)—a fair share of A-listers were in attendance, including Cardi B, T.I., Gucci Mane, DJ Khaled, A$AP Rocky, YG and Young M.A., who all graced the stage. And then there were the legendary cyphers, which features rappers of various styles, affiliations and geographic backgrounds.
While the 2018 BET Hip Hop Awards included various highlights and moments that will be remembered by those who were present and viewing at home, like most awards shows, there were also a few occurrences and hiccups that made you scratch your head.
With the awards show dominating the conversation and capturing the attention of the hip-hop fans, XXL compiled a list of the best moments from the BET Hip Hop Awards that helped make it an entertaining event, as well as the moments that many viewers back home deemed as the worst.
Best: Lil Baby and Gunna's Duo Performance
Among the lineup of performances from last night's 2018 BET Hip Hop Awards, Lil Baby and Gunna rocked the stage in their first-ever nationally televised performance as a duo. Lil Baby kicked things off performing his verse from "Yes Indeed." Gunna followed up by crooning his vocals from Travis Scott's "Yosemite," before the pair joined forces to perform "Drip Too Hard," the lead-single from their recently released project, Drip Harder, as models worked the runway.
Best: Anderson .Paak Honors Mac Miller
It was only right that the late Mac Miller was honored at the 2018 BET Hip Hop Awards, following his tragic death last month. His friend and collaborator Anderson .Paak gave a short and sweet eulogy, speaking highly of his former collaborator.
"Mac Miller was a brother, he was my friend," said .Paak, who previously worked with Mac on the 2016 song, "Dang!" He added, "I loved him and I still love him."
The Yes Lawd! rapper also made mention of The Mac Miller Circles Fund, which was launched earlier this month in honor of Mac Miller's commitment to the arts.
Worst: All of the Cyphers Feature The Same Beat
Let's be honest: People tune into the BET Hip Hop Awards for the cyphers. They're always a treat for those in attendance and viewers at home, but this year's crop was underwhelming—one reason being the monotony of all artists rapping over the same beat.
While the lineup of spitters and DJ's rotated, the beat from Noreaga's 1998 hit, "Banned from TV," was the only one featured in the cyphers. Although some of the cyphers remixed the beat a bit, the lack of musical diversity or beats that reflect the diversity of the artists put a damper on the shows most anticipated moments.
Best: BET Female Rapper Cypher
Still, the female rapper cypher—featuring Sharaya J, Chika, Neelam Hakeem, Bri Steves and Erykah Badu, who also handled DJ duties—was a shining moment.
While Sharaya J gave props to past female rap greats, Neelam Hakeem mixed sociopolitical bars with pop references and Bri Steves wowed listeners in a big way, it was Badu who took the cake. Dropping an impromptu, quick-strike verse, Badu spazzed, spitting, "You can call me Erykah America/Bitches try to stare at her, but I ain't breaking character." The bars put the crowd in a frenzy, making for one of the memorable moments from this year's award show.
Worst: Vic Mensa BET Cypher Controversy
Chicago rapper Vic Mensa brought the controversy to the 2018 BET Hip Hop Awards when he dropped a subliminal diss to late Florida rapper XXXTentacion. During his cypher rhyme, Vic referenced the sexual assault allegations levied against X in 2016.
"Only time you bear arms is in a wife beater, loser/Your favorite rapper's a domestic abuser," Mensa rapped during his opening verse of the cypher, which also included G Herbo, Nick Grant and Taylor Bennett.
Mensa's lyrics proved to ruffle more than a few feathers, causing XXXTentacion's friends and collaborators to clap back at the former XXL Freshman, even threatening bodily harm against him. It all cast a dark cloud that overshadowed the actual cypher.
Best: XXXTentacion's Mother Accepts Best New Artist Award In His Honor
The Best New Hip Hop Artist award was one of the few televised honors at the 2018 BET Hip Hop Awards. XXXTentacion won, beating out a loaded field that included Lil Baby, Juice Wrld, BlocBoy JB and Rich The Kid. However, due to the rapper's murder in past June, Cleopatra Bernard, the late rapper's mother, accepted the award in his hono. It was a bittersweet moment.
"I wanna thank his fans for their undying support," Bernard said during her acceptance speech. "Jah, this is for you, baby."
Best: Cardi B Performance of "Get Up 10" and "Backin' It Up"
Clad in an army fatigue outfit and flanked by a platoon of dancers, Cardi B lit up the 2018 BET Hip Hop Awards with a performance of "Get Up 10," the intro from her debut album, Invasion of Privacy. A post-pregnancy Cardi also teased the crowd with a little twerk session while performing "Backin It Up," her collaboration with Pardison Fontaine.
After the performance, it was revealed that she received four 2018 BET Hip Hop Awards, including MVP of the Year, Sweet 16: Best Featured Verse, Made-You-Look Award (Best Hip Hop Style), and Hustler of the Year.
Worst: BET's Shameless Promo of 'Hustle In Brooklyn'
BET took advantage of all of the eyes watching the 2018 BET Hip Hop Awards. The network relentlessly promoted Hustle In Brooklyn, the new reality series following aspiring movers and shakers in the music industry. While you can't knock the hustle, all of the promotion—including extended commercials and cast members introducing themselves during the festivities—it bordered on overkill.
Best: Lil Wayne Receives I Am Hip Hop Award
Overall, the night belonged to Lil Wayne, as the living legend received the I Am Hip Hop Award at the 2018 BET Hip Hop Awards.
Introduced by DJ Khaled and Bun B, with various rap stars, R&B singers and athletes, including Kendrick Lamar, 2 Chainz, Monica, Ty Dolla $ign and others singing his praises, Lil Wayne took the stage and shared the own reasons for his gratitude.
"This award, right here, I must give it to the people who refuse," Wayne stated upon receiving the hardware, referencing the fans, artists and family members that stuck by him throughout his business beef with Cash Money. He also touched on his attempted suicide and Uncle Bob, the New Orleans man who rushed him to the hospital after Wayne's attempted suicide as as a youth, making for one of the night's more heartfelt moments.
Best: Lil Duval Performance of "Smile (Living My Best Life)"
Lil Duval's song, "Smile (Living My Best Life)," has been one of the most popular hits of 2018. So it was only right that the comedian-turned-artist hit the stage at the 2018 BET Hip Hop Awards.
Joined by Ball Greazy, Lil Duval hit the stage in all of his splendor, while Snoop Dogg appeared via a prerecorded clip to reel off his opening verse. Ending the performance by hyping the crowd up with his nifty dance moves, Lil Duval closed the 2018 BET Hip Hop Awards on a carefree and eventful note.