1. "BET Hip-Hop Awards Cypher," TDE
Hot line: "Nothing's been the same since they dropped 'Control'/And tucked a sensitive rapper back in his pajama clothes/Ha-ha, joke's on you, high-five/I'm bulletproof"
All eyes were on Kendrick when he closed out Black Hippy’s cypher at the BET Awards. This was the 2013 version of the Summer Jam screen that once embarrassed Prodigy and clowned Ja Rule. And Kendrick Lamar didn’t disappoint. What he did here, in this 122 seconds, was not only identify himself as one of the modern day greats—he asserted himself as king. King Kendrick. And while we’ve heard this declaration before, here, post-”Control,” it sounds a bit more tangible. A bit more believable. He made Papoose STFU (finally) and sent a not-so-friendly dig at his biggest obstacle, Drake. And even amidst the tangle of alliteration and metaphor, there’s that one outstanding jingle that hooked us all and drew cheers from the live audience: “Hold up, wait a minute/Your career ain’t shit if you don’t got some Kendrick in it.” Watch the throne, Drizzy.