Every year, the BET Hip-Hop Awards–the 2009 edition of which aired last night–round up three or four different rapper cyphers, taped off-site and with somewhat counterintuitive gangs of MCs going in with what are ostensibly freestyles. Last year, Jadakiss, Fabolous, Juelz Santana, and Ace Hood teamed for what was one of the best rap singles of 2008 (it was even election-themed, sort of). This year, the gem was the triplicate pairing of Black Thought, Mos Def, and Eminem, the latter of whom usually doesn’t descend from the clouds to do stuff like this, though on the evidence of his verse, he probably should. Like, all the time. Rap is OK! Also, Jay-Z, who really can take a play or two off, seriously, won the MVP of the Year trophy, Drake took Rookie of the Year, DJ AM won DJ of the Year, and Ice Cube got a lifetime achievement award. Rap is also old!
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on October 28, 2009