“Although he wasn’t behind the mic, like myself, ” LL Cool J explained via a pre-taped introduction. “If it wasn’t for him, we wouldn’t have music like this.”
And with that, the tribute to the late Chris Lighty, a high point for the 2012 BET Hip-Hop Awards, kicked off. Past Violator clients, including A Tribe Called Quest, Fat Joe, Missy Elliott, Busta Rhymes and 50 cent paid homage to their fallen friend.
Busta, adorned in a military-styled blazed with a graffiti-tinged V emblazoned on the back, was effusive in his performance. The rowdy New York rapper emphatically called for the Atlanta crowd to get their hands up. Former foes 50 Cent and Fat Joe shared a stage, putting their beef to bed in honor of Lighty.
A host of awards were given out, although only a number were televised.
G.O.O.D. Music’s Pusha T and 2 Chainz accepted the Reese’s Perfect Combo Award (Best Collabo) for the Kanye West-led posse cut, “Mercy.” West, who wasn’t present at the awards, also took home Producer of the Year, Made-You-Look (Best Hip Hop Style) and he and Jay-Z shared Best Live Performer, Track of the Year (“Niggas in Paris”) and Best Club Banger as The Throne.
2 Chainz nabbed the People’s Champ Award Powered by Verizon for “No Lie” featuring Drake and his “Mercy” verse netted him the Sweet 16 award for Best Featured Verse. The Atlanta vet also won the Rookie of The Year. He capped off his night with one of the broadcast’s best performance, importing a choir and a casket for a double medley of “I’m Different and “Birthday Song.”
Upstart Kendrick Lamar cemented his growing legend with a spirited performance of ”The Recipe” and “Swimming Pools (Drank),” along with a surprise win for Lyricist of the Year and the TDE rapper introduced Rakim, along with T.I., for the I Am Hip Hop lifetime achievement honor.
Kendrick also participated in the Respect the West Cypher, alongside Snoop Dogg, E-40, DJ Quik, YG, and more.
Full list of winners at the 2012 BET Hip Hop Awards:
Best Hip Hop Video: “HYFR” – Drake f/ Lil Wayne
Reese’s Perfect Combo Award (Best Collabo): “Mercy” - Kanye West f/ Big Sean, Pusha T & 2 Chainz
Best Live Performer: The Throne (Jay-Z & Kanye West)
Lyricist of the Year: Kendrick Lamar
Hip Hop Video Director of the Year: Hype Williams
DJ of the Year: DJ Khaled
Producer of the Year: Kanye West
MVP of the Year: Rick Ross
Track of the Year: “Ni**as In Paris” - Produced by Kanye West, Hit-Boy and Mike Dean (The Throne – Jay-Z & Kanye West)
CD of the Year: Watch The Throne – The Throne (Jay-Z & Kanye West)
Rookie of The Year: 2 Chainz
Hustler of The Year: Jay-Z
Made-You-Look Award (Best Hip Hop Style): Kanye West
Best Club Banger: “Ni**as In Paris” – The Throne (Jay-Z & Kanye West)
Best Mixtape: “Dreamchasers2″ – Meek Mill
Sweet 16: Best Featured Verse: 2 Chainz – “Mercy” (Kanye West f/ Big Sean, Pusha T & 2 Chainz)
Impact Track: “Daughters” – Nas
People’s Champ Award Powered by Verizon: 2 Chainz f/ Drake – “No Lie”
Best Hip Hop Online Site: World Star Hip Hop