It seems like a bit of a no-brainer that Kendrick Lamar would take home the Lyricist of the Year award at the BET Hip Hop Awards. Aside from his jaw-dropping flow on the jazz-infused To Pimp A Butterfly that dropped early last year, people still talk about K.Dot’s “Control” verse with a sense of awe in their voices. He takes words and elevates them beyond phrasing, style, or tone — truly, a Kendrick verse is a work of art, a literary accomplishment that deserves a certain amount of respect.
Tonight, BET afforded him that respect, notably, when the audience didn’t want to stop chanting “Alright” when the music cut out. “That’s love, appreciate ya’ll,” Kendrick said. And for his part, K.Dot showed respect in a different way — he wore a hoodie to the event, wordlessly honoring fallen victims of police brutality and other violence like Trayvon Martin. In his short and sweet speech, Lamar gave all the glory to God, and emphasize the fact that music is what brings everyone in the room — and everyone watching — together. But after a mostly solemn speech, he ended with a feisty little quip: “And as long as I’m alive I’ma be kicking that real motherf*cking sh*t, you feel me?” We do. Watch it above.