Every year the BET Hip-Hop Awards come around and every year the culture bats their collective eyes at the pre-recorded show. Whether we’re questioning the choice of performers, wondering why certain awards even exist, or leaning on the event’s lack of legitimacy, BET’s annual rap gala can be more of a comedy affair than a measure of success. Still, the show does have one element every hip-hop head goes out of their way to watch — the cyphers.
Every year, the network manages to pull together some of the nicest known and unknown MCs on the planet and pair them up in groups to see who has the best collective bars. Whether their rhymes are pre-written or off the top, these artists get to spit their hearts out in front of a national audience, atop beats served up by DJ Scratch and DJ Premier.
For true heads, this is must watch television, no matter who’s serving up the show. Last year, the line-up was extremely random and consisted of artists like Raury, Vince Staples, Black Thought, Tink, Doug E. Fresh and even Lin-Manuel Miranda from Hamilton fame. This year, the bar should be raised even higher. Or not?
Find out by watching each anticipated cypher from the 2016 BET Hip-Hop Awards below. They’ll be added throughout the show.
Millyz, Jaz, Your Old Droog, John John Da Don And Chris Rivers
Despite being the undercard, the show started with a bang thanks to this politically-charged cypher, full of young gunners.
State Property Cypher – Peedi Crack, Neef, Omillio Sparks and Freeway
The Roc is in the building. Shout out 2002! Where’s Young Chris though? We all know he wasn’t too busy.
Don Q, Russ, A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie, Kent Jones and Nick Grant
New school hit makers in the house on this one. Russ is one of our favorite new artists, Kent Jones had the song of the summer and we’re still rocking Grant’s 88 project. The catch is, they all killed it with their bars.
Sam Black, Ms. Jade, Kur, Dave East and Young M.A.
We have a Ms. Jade sighting! Alongside Dave East and Young M.A., nonetheless? Interesting choice, BET.
Oswin Benjamin, Locksmith And Dead Prez
Mike Biv, Bre-Z, Yazz The Greatest and Big Ron DeVoe
In what was probably the most random cypher of the night, we saw founding members of New Edition freestyle alongside Hakeem from Empire (Yazz The Greatest). Oh wait, that’s a preview for the upcoming New Edition made for TV movie. Of course it is. That’s the BET Awards for ya.’
Aaron Cook$, 3d Na’Tee, Rain 910, Consequence and Jidenna
Between Aaron Cook$ suggesting he’s the “lightskin Pac,” 3D’s claim to be “like BIG and ‘Pac in a female body” and Jidenna saying he’s the “Black Abe Lincoln,” this cypher was stacked with bold statements.