So here’s a confession: as anyone who may have been paying attention to this space closely (probably more closely than anyone is inclined to, frankly) may have noticed, mainstream hip-hop is currently in a situation that I’m not particularly inclined to like!
I have noted in the past that this may be because I am An Old, and there may, in fact, never again be a day where I like radio hip-hop. That’s an interesting development, and certainly possible, but I’ll have to wait until the current crop of third-rate warmed-over Young Thug mumbles and would-be Future clones get out of here to know for sure.
So, anyway, the BET Hip-Hop awards are upon us. The reason, in fact that this is going up so late is that I wasn’t sure I was actually going to manage to write about it at all. But I’m here, doing so, because if I start abandoning awards situations just because they aren’t to my taste, literally the only one I’d ever write about would be the Nebulas.
So here we go, the BET Hip-Hop Awards, hopefully at its nadir, so that I can have more fun doing this next year.
And I’ll be doing it quickly, because I believe in bringing positivity to the world, and not just screaming about Travis Scott all the time.
Best Hip-Hop Online Site/App
I will say that at least Complex is a little bit more interesting than most of these, although we’re not off to a strong start in terms of things that aren’t representative of the worst things about mainstream Hip-Hop.
THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: Complex, I guess
Best International Flow
True story: I had to do a bunch of listening to figure out any of this. I do think it’s hilarious that, while technically accurate, Canada’s Tory Lanes is included here. Heh. Anyway, I like Sarkodie.
THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: Sarkodie
Ugh. So this is the track that makes an “impact” on the society or whatever for justice purposes or what have you. I’m impressed they managed to avoid using the word “woke”. Credit to the producers for that one. I’m also, for the first time in the history of this blog, about to declare J. Cole the rightful winner of something, a thing I once swore I would never do. This is where the world has brought me, and I am deeply ashamed of it.
THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: J. Cole, “Middle Child”
Sweet 16: Best Featured Verse
I kind of wish I could bring back the Mrs. Coach’s Hair running joke for this one, because I can’t imagine thinking any of these verses are the best anything. I dunno, maybe it’s time. Let’s dust it off and give it the ol’ last go. The Mrs. Coach’s Hair reunion tour.
THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: Mrs. Coach’s Hair
I’ll interrupt this positivity festival to point out that the world has lost their fucking mind for this Jack Harlow thing, and I am not feeling it, but for different reasons than some of the other stuff here, so that’s fun! Anyway, I do like Kevin Gates.
THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: Kevin Gates, Luca Brasi 3
Made-You-Look Award (Best Hip Hop Style)
I think this one almost has to go to Cardi B, although I admit that DJ Khaled’s decision to make his “style” just “carrying his adorable child around” makes him a strong contender.
THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: Cardi B
Hustler of the Year
I wonder what the over-under on people mentioning that every Rick Ross is hustlin’ is? LIke a million? I’d take the over on a million. It’s not that it’s a funny joke, it’s just that it’s easier to make the joke than not to make it. Anyway. It’s Cardi B, not Rick Ross. I don’t think RIck Ross has, in fact, ever hustled.
THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: Cardi B
Best New Hip-Hop Artist
The cultural juggernaut of “Old Town Road” aside, I think that we’re probably pretty well through with Lil Nas X. I think that Megan Thee Stallion has started out pretty strong, and i’m pretty to declare her the best of this outfit.
THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: Megan Thee Stallion
Album of the Year
Hey! I actually legit love that Tyler, the Creator record! Super into it! Can say this without much thought or begrudgement! This is the best category!
THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: Tyler, the Creator, Igor
Single of the Year
Oh fuck it. I still don’t think “Old Town Road” is a very good song, but it’s better than “Money,” which is the only other song here I have even a little bit of affection for, and also I do genuinely love the video, so it can have this one.
THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: Lil Nas X, “Old Town Road (Remix)” (f. Billy Ray Cyrus)
MVP of the Year
I’m a big fan of sentimentality, and also a big fan of people finally getting their due, even if it’s only posthumously, so I’m pretty in favor of this going to Nipsey Hussle.
THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: Nipsey Hussle
Producer of the Year
I swear this category is nearly-identical every damn year. I think that I’ve noticed more good stuff coming from London on da Track than usual this year, so by the highly scientific expedient of “stuff I remember”, I’m calling it for him.
THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: London on da Track
DJ of the Year
Oh my god I don’t care. I guess I appreciate that Mustard is out there trying to do his own thing instead of staying int he background, and I also like the irony of him winning “DJ of the year” in the year that he dropped the “DJ” from his name.
THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: Mustard
Video Director of the Year
This set of nominees is hilarious, because the nominating powers at BET clearly have specific videos in mind, but they aren’t listed on BET’s website, so we all just sort of have to guess. Some of them are very easy, some of them less so. It’s a fun little mystery here in the middle of the nominations. Good stuff.
THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: Benny Boom
Lyricist of the Year
It remains the case that I very much do not care about lyrics, and also that to the extent that I do care about lyrics, I would give this award to Vince Staples. But he’s not nominated, because these awards are stupid. Since I don’t know enough individual lyrics to pass judgment, I’ll just assume that it goes to Nipsey Hussle again and have done with it.
THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: Nipsey Hussle
Hot Ticket Performer
I would probably go see The Carters. I mean, I never have, but I think about it every time one or both of them come through Cleveland. Traditionally in categories like this, that makes them the winner.
THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: The Carters
Best Collabo, Duo or Group
This is sort of what I mean, though. Like, all of these songs are pretty bad. Unlike the Best Featured Verse category, they aren’t so bad that I can’t choose, they’re just pretty bad. This is, sort of, what makes this particular writeup so cursory. If it were more execrable (like the CMAs or the iHeartRadio awards) I would enjoy digging in and trying to figure out which turd was the most finely-polished. If it was better, it would be more fun because it’s fun to like things. None of this is bad in a way that makes me mad (except the DJ Khaled song, which is the worst song Common has ever appeared on), it’s all just….not good. Like, I’m sure Lil Baby is happy with his situation and definitely deserves his place in all this, it’s just not a place that I give a shit about. I don’t like to keep giving these to “Old Town Road”, but, honestly, it’s the only thing I can feel positively enough about to even give the time of day.
THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: Lil Nas X, “Old Town Road (remix)” (f. Billy Ray Cyrus)
Best Hip-Hop Video
And so we come to the most frustrating category: “Old Town Road” is nominated for a bunch of these, and it’s not nominated for this, the one category it should actually be nominated for. This is infuriating. Next year somebody better make a fucking pop-rap record that I like or this is going to get even more listless.
It doesn’t have enough list, is what I’m saying here.
Anyway, To conclude the briefest and most cursory awards-show writeup to date, the best video actually nominated in this category is the video for “Money.” Congratulations everybody.
THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: Cardi B, “Money”
Alright folks, tune in next time when I’ll be a little more engaged I hope? Or at least things may have gotten terrible enough that I’d be more upset. I didn’t even footnote anything in this one! This is truly a landmark occasion!