Last night BET aired their annual Hip-Hop Awards, and as the network decided to reveal the award winners in the day leading up to the broadcast, the show really became all about the performances and cyphers. And trust hip-hop to deliver. Over the two-hour show, performances from YG, Rae Sreummurd, Migos, T.I., Young Thug, Ty Dolla $ign, Rich Homie Quan, Jay Electronica, Vince Staples, DJ Mustard, Bobby Shmurda and more all helped liven up proceedings, while the cyphers, particularly the live battle rap edition, sparked the usual explosion of conversation about whose was best. Check out what XXL thought were some of the best moments from last night's BET Hip-Hop Awards. —XXL Staff


Doug E. Fresh Winning The I Am Hip-Hop Award

Last year, MC Lyte took home the prize, and this year it was NYC legend Doug E. Fresh who was honored with BET's legends award. It was an emotional moment, as Fresh used the opportunity to praise and honor his mother, nearly coming to tears after accepting the award. He thanks the Get Fresh Crew, Slick Rick, his brother and the "original hip-hop pioneers" before turning to his family, getting so choked up he was almost unable to speak while thanking his late mother, who had died five weeks prior.

Brandy Performing "I Wanna Be Down" With MC Lyte, Queen Latifah And Yo-Yo

It was a moment to celebrate the women who make hip-hop great, as Brandy brought out MC Lyte, then Yo-Y0, then Queen Latifah to celebrate the 20th anniversary of their track "I Wanna Be Down." All three women looked, but most importantly, sounded, fantastic, and the performance was so strong that it would have been a major candidate to have closed out the show.

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Birdman's Performance With Young Thug And Rich Homie Quan And The Outstanding Gif That Followed

Rich Homie Quan and Young Thug performed "Lifestyle," their latest mega-hit, during the show, but really the only thing you need to see is this ridiculously complicated handshake that Birdman and Thug executed perfectly at the end.

Remy Ma And Papoose Rocking Their Cypher

It's good to see Remy Ma back spitting after so long behind bars, and no matter how you feel about Papoose, he and Rem have one of the best love stories in hip-hop. Their cypher, which also featured strong efforts from 2014 XXL Freshman Jarren Benton and Canadian rapper Charron, was a particular highlight, with the two rocking back and forth bar for bar in a fresh twist on the regular cypher format. Welcome back Remy The Ruler!

The Live Battle Cypher

Murda Mook held no punches, threatening to cripple Drake's career in his verse, while shots were thrown from all over the park by the likes of Arsonal, Couture and Calicoe as DJ Premier spun the backbone to Drake's "0 To 100" behind it all. It was the first-ever live cypher that the Awards had ever had, and with any luck it will set the precedent for all the cyphers going forward. But whether or not the non-battle-rap community will stand for that remains to be seen.

David Banner's Cypher Verse

It may have been a little unexpected that David Banner popped up in a cypher alongside young guns like Vic Mensa and Snow Tha Product, but the Mississippi OG wasn't about to let the new crop of talent hold him down. Shortly after he started his verse, the beat dropped out and Banner spit with fire and conviction about the social issues that plague the hip-hop community, and received a standing ovation for his efforts. One of the best verses on the night, hands down.

The Mike Brown Tribute

Common is emerging from 2014 as the conscious voice of hip-hop, even as guys like Talib Kweli and Killer Mike take aim at the political systems that are structurally aimed at keeping black men down. But now again this year, Com has led the remembrances for Mike Brown, this time in a performance of "Kingdom" alongside Jay Electronica and his protege of sorts, Vince Staples. The performance with a gospel choir was clear and powerful, but when they brought out the parents of Mike Brown and put their hands in the air, the audience did the same and went completely silent in tribute. There aren't words to sum up the emotion of that moment.

Bobby Shmurda Closing Out The Show

Terrio danced on stage. The whole GS9 crew was mobbing around. Hell, even Uncle Snoop couldn't help but try to get in on the dance-a-thon that erupted when Shmurda busted out "Hot Nigga" to close the BET Hip-Hop Awards. It may have been a strange selection to cap the night—with so many other high-profile performers, it was the newest member of the mainstream hip-hop community who took final plaudits—but the reaction of everyone in the building seemed to justify the choice.

YG Riding A Bike

YG, DJ Mustard and Ty Dolla $ign are enjoying a hell of a year, riding high off YG's My Krazy Life, Dolla $ign's $ign Language and XXL Freshman slot and the fact that every major rapper in the game is fiending for a Mustard beat. But since they've become so ubiquitous, they had to pull off something a little special during their performance, and they didn't disappoint. Dolla $ign came in from the crowd to perform his hit "Paranoid" and then introduced YG who came in riding a ridiculous tricycle to perform "Do It To Ya."