[Sunday Coffee Sipper] Reflecting on the BET Hip Hop Awards

On October 16 in Los Angeles, California Rap music’s elite showed out for the annual BET Hip Hop Awards, commemorating the best of all things hip-hop in the past year. Kendrick Lamar cleaned up, hauling in five awards including best album and lyricist of the year while Jay-Z, Big Sean and the rest of hip-hop’s governing body took turns patting each other on the back. For today’s Sunday Coffee Sipper I break down the list of winners from several of the categories and decide who I would have picked from the very small group of nominees that were available for the awards, enjoy!

Best Hip-Hop Video: Drake “Started From The Bottom”: I literally thought this was the most bogus video I had seen until Chief Keef’s “Love No Thotties” premiered this week. Seriously though, you’re not making it any easier to legitimize the “Started From The Bottom” mantra with the opening scene of a Toronto youth soccer game played in a bubble, or perhaps it’s the perfect metaphor. The fake snow, all white everything convertible dance scene is just downright goofy, as is the Wal-Mart confetti-strewn dance party. Drake had a lot of dance parties at the bottom. Where is ‘here’ anyway? Could be anywhere. Ah, Drake, they’ll love whatever you do.

Who Should Have Won: Kendrick Lamar – ‘Don’t Kill My Vibe’

Reese’s Perfect Combo Award (Best Collabo, Duo or Group): A$AP Rocky f/ 2 Chainz, Drake & Kendrick Lamar “Problems”: Of the nominations, this was an easy favorite for the best collaboration of the year. Featuring the top names in hip-hop today and a blistering verse from K Dot it stood head and shoulders above even Ace Hood and Future’s summer banger “Bugatti” and J. Cole and Miguel’s “Power Trip”.

Best Live Performer: Jay-Z: Not sure about the nomination or the win on this one. Jay-Z is certainly a pillar of hip-hop, but there are plenty of better live acts around the country that could have vied for the title, even outside of the nominees. Granted, Jay-Z proved to be a step ahead of the competition in the crafting of a different live set idea with his “Picasso Baby” art installation, a wholly different take on hip-hop as an accepted artform. Regardless, I can’t help but feel there was a better choice to be had.

Who Should Have Won: J. Cole/2 Chainz

Lyricist of the Year: Kendrick Lamar: They probably didn’t need to announce this one. Between good kid, m.A.A.d. city, the much-talked about verse on Big Sean’s “Control” and a host of outstanding features throughout the year, Kendrick cemented himself as the lyricist to match in 2013. The “Control” verse in general, in which he called out the other top names in the game, nestled Kendrick firmly in the upper echelon of hip-hop artists today.

Album of the Year: Kendrick Lamar, Good Kid m.a.a.d. City: Again, a fairly easy choice as the top rap album of 2013. Kendrick finally emerged from Section 80 to the big leagues with his chart-topping album that, as stated earlier, vaulted him from one of the new guys to the forefront of everything happening from here on out.

Producer of the Year: Mike Will Made It: It’s hard to be too upset with this decision, Mike Will Made it had some of the year’s biggest songs, using his enormous drum ensembles to shake the walls of clubs from coast to coast with songs like”No Lie” by 2 Chainz, “Bandz a Make Her Dance” by Juicy J, “Pour It Up” by Rihanna and “We Can’t Stop” by Miley Cyrus. They weren’t the best songs of the year, but they topped the charts. I can’t forgive him for allowing Cyrus to don a Michael Jordan jersey while twerking in their “23” collaboration, though. In comparison, Pharrell did songs with Jay-z, Justin Timberlake, Robin Thicke and Daft Punk.

Who Should Have Won: Pharrell Williams

Track of the Year: “Started From The Bottom,” produced by Mike Zombie and Noah “40” Shebib: Can’t even lie about it, this song was not the best track of the year, by any means. Drake’s attempt at convincing listeners that watched him as Jimmy on Degrassi that he, “started from the bottom” was ill-conceived and uninteresting. Sure, the beat and hook get stuck in your head, but is that all it takes to have a hot track? Of course, you catch more fish with a larger net and most of the nominees for each category were held to roughly the same six characters. That makes for a small net.

Who Should Have Won: ‘Don’t Kill My Vibe’ – Produced by Sounwave (Kendrick Lamar)

Best Mixtape: Big Sean, Detroit: This one just didn’t make sense. In a category that included a host of independent artists including Chance The Rapper and Travi$ Scott, this would have been the perfect opportunity for BET to sway towards the up and coming, essentially the heart of hip-hop today. Instead, the crown for best mixtape was given to Big Sean’s Detroit, making for an un-inspirational win for the G.O.O.D. Music star.

Who Should Have Won: Chance The Rapper: Acid Rap

Who New? Rookie of the Year: A$AP Ferg: This is deserved. Trap Lord  was easily one of the hottest releases of a packed summer of new music and Ferg showed that the buzz surrounding him and his major debut release was no fluke. With co-signs from just about everyone in the game right now, the award was fitting. Tough competition here, too, with Earl Sweatshirt, Action Bronson and Joey Bada$$ rounding out the nominees.

MVP of the Year: Kendrick Lamar: Honestly, he could have taken most of the awards with the competition BET stacked up against Kendrick. More than anyone else, Lamar and his TDE crew have brought about a sound and a mentality that had been lacking in hip hop as of late. As he made it known on that fateful “Control” verse, this is now Kendrick’s game, and everyone has to step up.


Jake Krzeczowski

Jake Krzeczowski is a writer based in Chicago. Since graduating from the University of Iowa in 2012 he has written for the likes of The Chicago Sun Times, Complex Magazine, and Elevator Magazine.

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