BET just celebrated the past year in hip-hop with its two-hour BET Hip-Hop Awards, and it brought many of the rap game's leading lights out to Atlanta's Civic Center. Rick Ross, Kendrick Lamar, 2 Chainz, DJ Khaled all took in the show and took the stage at the event late last month, and each features as part of one of the highs—or lows—of the broadcast. XXL compiled 10 of the very best and 10 of the absolute worst moments, performances and events of the 2013 BET Hip-Hop Awards. —Dan Rys (@danrys) & B.J. Steiner (@DocZeus)

Best: James Lipton Knows What Soul Plane Is

Snoop Lion made for a perfectly acceptable host for the evening's festivities but as anyone who has seen his award-winning series or has a passing familiarity with his star-making role as the Warden Stefan Gentles on Arrested Development can attest, there is nothing that can’t be improved 10,000 percent by the presence of Inside The Actors Studio host James Lipton. J. Lip interviewing Snoop about his roles in Baby Boy and Soul Plane might be the highest form of comedy that has ever been broadcast on BET. No disrespect to Nick Cannon. -B.J. Steiner


Worst: The Almost Complete And Total Absence Of Any Awards

Here's a good joke—Let's have an awards show, and then not give out any awards! Everyone knows the BET Hip-Hop Awards are always more about the Cyphers and performances than anything else, but it probably wouldn't have hurt to give out more than, like, three awards all night, right? Of the awards they gave out, only Kendrick Lamar and 2 Chainz were on hand to accept theirs (for a song by A$AP Rocky, no less), with the rest cut from the awards show or whose recipients didn't bother to show up. And then there was MC Lyte's I Am Hip-Hop Award speech, but we'll get to that in a second. —Dan Rys


Best: The Queen Of New York

The early Cyphers at the Awards are usually reserved for hungry up-and-comers and some lesser names, but when Rapsody began to tear through her verse straight out of the first commercial break, there was little, if any, unproven aspect about her. Her ferocity and confidence led to a series of memorable and quotable lines, but none hit harder than her assertion that she—hailing from North Carolina, no less—was the Queen of New York. Ladies, stand up. —DR

Best: Jon Connor... Yes! Yes! Yes!

There are few things that will quickly win me over as a rap fan faster than esoteric professional wrestling references in a rapper's verse. Thus, Jon Connor's epic reference to WWE Legend Andre The Giant batting famously diminutive wrestler/Duck Dynasty impersonator Daniel Bryan in his cypher freestyle has earned the Flint rapper a permanent place in the squared circle of my heart. —BS

Worst: Who Is Dressing You, 2 Chainz?

If they actually gave out awards at this show, 2 Chainz would be a shoo-in to win the "Versace, Versace, Versace Vanguard Award For Most Inexplicably Dressed Of The Century.” First, 2 Chainz was shown in the crowd sporting an ill-fitting brown suit that can only be described as from the Steve Harvey Collection as if guest designed by a frontiersman. Afterward, Chainz topped his first poor sartorial choice by showing up for his performance in a tracksuit that looked as if he skinned the coaching staff of the 1991 Los Angeles Raiders for their Zubaz gear. Chainz even topped THAT when he made a totally unnecessary costume change during his performance into curiously over-sized white t-shirt that could have easily been mistaken for a dress. —BS


Best: Mannie Fresh & Juvenile

"Back That Azz Up" will always go. —BS


Best: Rick Ross' Wonderful Blue Crushed Velvet Suit

Rozay is not necessarily known for his great fashion decisions—he spends most of his time without a shirt on, after all—but you can't deny the brilliance, literally and figuratively, of the shockingly blue velvet suit he donned while taking the stage alongside Future and DJ Khaled. As similar to the Cookie Monster as he may have seemed, it was another pop culture reference that popped into my head and made me immediately envious: a quote from George Costanza of Seinfeld fame. "It's so cozy...I'm ensconced in velvet. You know, if it were socially acceptable, I'd drape myself in velvet." Indeed. —DR

Best: Snoop Meets The Presidents

Snoop more than held his own as the host of the awards, and by that I mean he contributed a handful of funny bits and mostly stayed out of the way. But his funniest piece was undoubtedly his role as "The Other Butler," where he portrayed the butler for Abraham Lincoln, George Bush and Barack Obama. Hilarious all the way through, especially poignant for his weed legalization reference with the actor playing Obama. Every extra point available for the phrase, "Recount these nuts!" —DR

Best: Action Bronson’s Baby Curls

Don’t act as if Bam Bam’s luxurious, silken locks were not the most glorious perm this side of a Katt Williams' stand-up routine. Wax must have been sick when he saw Bronsolino stunting with the baby curls resting gently on his forehead. —BS

Travis Scott

Worst: Look At The Damn Camera, Travis $cott!

Yeezus no matter how much he tries. It seems as if even Travis himself felt as if his performance was off. —

Lil Kim Cypher

Worst: So, Lil Kim?

Moving on. -BS

Worst: This TDE Performance Was Awesome But Ab-Soul Can't Get Any Shine?

As expected TDE ended up ruling the evening after King Kendrick dropped his furious cypher (more on that below) while Q, Jay Rock and K. Dot joined forces to deliver one of the night’s most memorable performances as the three members of Black Hippy dropped a medley of their biggest hits. I have one quibble with their performance, though. Where was Ab-Soul? I understand that Soulo has not broken through with hit record on the radio yet but wouldn’t it have made sense for him to join the crew on stage as a hype man or something? —BS

Worst: "Turn Up" Is The Night's Magic Word

While there is already a special rung in hell reserved for award show patter writers, a special achievement must be acknowledged for the profound inanity featured in Big Tigger’s and Love & Hip Hop star Joseline Hernandez’s segment during the ceremony. By the time that “turn up” is discovered by white grandparents in March 2015, BET will have long since ensured that the phrase will already be as uncool as humanly possible. It's no wonder that nobody showed up to actually collect these awards. —BS

Best: Kendrick saying, "I spilled blood on my apron cooking this shit up."

Where do you even start with Kendrick's Cypher? How about, "I'm the master that masturbated on your favorite MC"? Or maybe, better yet, "I got my thumb on hip-hop and my foot in the back of your ass"? Either way, whether he went at Papoose (ha!) or not, Kendrick washed his hands with just about every rapper in the game using broad strokes rather than pointed barbs. Which is why his best line might have been his most lethal: "I spilled blood on my apron cooking this shit up." Damn. —DR

Worst: Diddy Is Wearing A Crown

Coming straight out of the sensory overload that was Kendrick Lamar's bonkers verse in the TDE Cypher was a performance of "Ain't Worried About Nothin' (Remix)" by French Montana, Rick Ross, Snoop and, most regrettably, Diddy. With Diddy on record as being salty about K.Dot's "King of New York" claim (whether he was being serious or not), he pulled what may have appeared to have been a joking gesture, but came off as really tasteless, by putting a crown atop his own head. Nevermind the fact that you really have to earn a crown in order to wear it, it hit a little too close to home for those who thought he was—once again—biting Notorious B.I.G. from Biggie's iconic photo with the crown atop his head. Diddy may think Kendrick hasn't earned his slot yet, but there are surely better ways to go about it. —DR


Worst: Big Sean's Detroit beating out Chance The Rapper's Acid Rap For "Mixtape Of The Year"

While the show continued glossing over or just not even acknowledging the awards—also known as, you know, the point of having this show—BET seemed to want to brush the Best Mixtape crown under the rug. Maybe that's because they gave the award to Big Sean's Detroit over Chance the Rapper's Acid Rap. I have no problem with Detroit—I actually really liked it, and thought it was a step forward with little pressure for Sean, which was refreshing—but to not give the award to Chance is just ridiculous. It smacks of catering to the big dogs and not acknowledging the realities of hip-hop in this day and age, and it'll be a decision they'll regret one day. Not that anyone will notice, since they completely cut it from the broadcast. —DR


Worst: Every Shot of DJ Khaled Looking Bored In The Crowd

Khaled definitely seemed like he was suffering all night, and minus his performance on stage, it seemed like he may have been suffering from lack of sleep rather than success. Seriously, almost every shot of Khaled sitting in his seat made it seemed like he was one yawn away from snuggling up and dozing off. He's not the first to do it, but he never has been the first to do anything. —DR

Best: Will Smith is SUPER into MC Lyte

MC Lyte was given a touching video tribute during the award ceremony, honoring her role as the first female solo artist to release a full-length LP. The video featured peers, artists and celebrity fans such as Will Smith, Jada Pinkett-Smith, Queen Latifah and Missy Elliot paying homage to Lyte for her contributions to hip-hop culture. Warm feelings abound. —BS

Worst: Chopping up MC Lyte's Acceptance Speech

This one might have bothered me the most. MC Lyte was honored with the I Am Hip-Hop Award, a most deserving honor that should have served as a centerpiece of sorts to the entire show—think the Oscars or the Grammys dishing out their Lifetime Achievement Awards and honoring those who have pushed the art form forward for decades. That's what they were acknowledging in Lyte, a phenomenal rapper who not only blazed a trail in the industry for women in hip-hop, but continues to contribute to the culture through her humanitarian and educational efforts. So to cut up her acceptance speech into a comically brief, choppy thank you while giving guys like Future and Rick Ross multiple extended performances smacks of disengenuity. It was sad, and Lyte deserved a better and bigger platform. —DR

Best: The Yo Gotti/Rocko/Rich Homie Quan Performances

Some performances were strange, others mic'd poorly, still others buried by indifference. But the penultimate medley—which combined Yo Gotti's "Act Right," Rocko's "U.O.E.N.O" and Rich Homie Quan's "Type Of Way"—actually highlighted three of the biggest tracks of the summer, rather than pandering toward release dates and promotional spots. It was refreshing to see, to say the least. —DR

Best: Bone Thugs-N-Harmony Close The Show

There are basic, nonnegotiable rules of existence that all we must live by. The first rule is that Bone Thugs-N-Harmony is the best and I will not accept opinions of dissent to the contrary. A Bone Thugs-N-Harmony national television performance in 2013 (even without Layzie) is an automatic, unequivocal best. Anytime Flesh-N-Bone is free enough to show up on your television screen, you savor that shit like good cheese and a well-aged Bordeaux. Besides Bone-Thugs-N-Harmony closing an award show might be the closest Cleveland ever comes to winning a sports title. Turn up. —BS