The BET Hip Hop Awards’ show in Miami was a night full of unforgettable moments that Florida rap fans will remember for years to come. Pioneers like Disco Rick and 2 Live Crew ignited the Miami bass movement in the late ’80s, while controversial artists like Trick Daddy and Trina set a new standard for Florida-born hip-hop. Their groundbreaking efforts opened the floodgates for rappers from Rick Ross to Flo Rida and DJ Khaled — and the new generation of rhymers who champion Miami’s distinct sound and exercise their First Amendment rights with their music.
Now, 35 years after 2 Live Crew’s inception, the 2017 BET Hip Hop Awards finally gave Uncle Luke and 2 Live Crew the respect and credit that they, and every other rapper, DJ and producer from Florida, have been demanding for decades. The good people at BET finally followed DJ Khaled’s advice from last year to bring the annual awards show from Atlanta to Miami Beach. The Grateful DJ reprised his role as host and made sure to give props to everyone in his city.
Eminem’s powerful bars in “The Storm” freestyle definitely rocked the country, but they didn’t take away from BET’s noble intention of honoring Miami’s pioneer in hip-hop, Uncle Luke, with the I Am Hip-Hop award, and Florida’s permanent place in the rap game. Fans across the country tuned in to catch Migos, Yo Gotti and Playboi Carti show out in the 305 with outstanding performances, and to watch Cardi B win at life. In the end, they got to witness the power of Florida’s rap scene
7. DJ Khaled reunited with T-Pain, Plies, Rick Ross and Trick Daddy for “I’m So Hood”
Back in 2007, no one could escape DJ Khaled’s second single, “I’m So Hood,” off his We the Best album. The Miami resident brought a squad of Florida’s leading emcees together from all parts of the state to jump on the record. T-Pain held down the Panhandle, Plies controlled the West Side, Rick Ross rocked for Carol City, and the OG Trick Daddy repped Liberty City down to Florida City. “I’m So Hood” went on to become Khaled’s highest charting song at the time.
The We the Best Music Group’s founder opened the 2017 BET Hip Hop Awards by reuniting with his Florida brethren to perform that top-charting collaboration. It was the first time Khaled, Pain, Trick Daddy, Plies and Ricky Rozay had performed “I’m So Hood” on national television together in years, and they killed it like it just dropped yesterday. Watch the full performance here.
6. Cardi B finally met Asahd Khaled
There was a true moment of bliss between the future of Miami hip-hop and Cardi B that brightened the mood of the green carpet. Cheers from the press and numerous flashes from a squad of photographers erupted all at once the minute Cardi B arrived on the scene and followed her down the green carpet.
DJ Khaled was already at the end with little Asahd in his hands when they ran into the “Bodak Yellow” rapper. While Asahd bit on his little hands, Cardi reacted loud and proud when she met the youngest executive producer in the game. Now all they need to do is get in the studio and make more money moves.
5. Miami’s DJs did what they do best: run the show
— 99JAMZ (@99JAMZ) October 11, 2017
With former 99 JAMZ mixer DJ Khaled as the host, the BET Hip Hop Awards called on other Miami DJs — the ones who grind harder than the average club DJ to push all of Dade County’s groundbreaking music into the streets. 103.5 The Beat’s own DJ Epps worked alongside Khaled to announce each guest. Meanwhile, the real master of ceremonies who set the vibes throughout the night was none other than DJ Nasty 305. The Pac Jam show host was in the mix for each break between awards and the lit performances.
4. Gucci Mane brought “LIV on Sundays” to primetime TV
— 99JAMZ (@99JAMZ) October 11, 2017
The world-renowned club boasted about by Lil Wayne, Jeezy and others took the summer off to renovate for the first time ever, and made its return just in time for the BET Hip Hop Awards. During the show, Gucci Mane became the first rapper to perform from inside LIV on national television.
As bottle girls invaded all the VIP areas with sparkling bottles of champagne, Gucci performed his smash single “I Get the Bag” without Migos, who did their own performance of “Too Hotty” onstage at the Fillmore. There aren’t many people born in Miami who can say they’ve partied at the exclusive club inside the Fontainebleau Hotel. Now they can at least say they briefly witnessed the experience on national television.
In 2008, Ace Hood became the first rapper from South Florida to jump into the BET Hip Hop Awards’ cyphers. Since then, the only other rapper to hold Miami down in the cyphers was Rick Ross, back in 2011. That all changed last night, when the ‘Young Miami’ cypher went down between Miami’s best-known young spitters: Zoey Dollaz, Denzel Curry, Ski Mask the Slump God and Ball Greezy. Although all four MCs killed it, Zoey Dollaz took it to another level by firing up a new beef after he said we should “never go Joe Budden.”
“Jay told me never go Eric Benet,” rapped Zoey Dollaz. “I say never go Joe Budden, and lose a bad chick like Tahiry all on TV.”
The Slaughterhouse rapper was quick to post and delete his response that Zoey is “trash” from his Twitter timeline. Meanwhile, loyal fans who have seen each Miami native in the cypher develop from rookie MCs into hip-hop’s hottest commodities were overjoyed to see them rise to the top. The ‘Young Miami’ cypher gives every artist in Florida the motivation to do everything in his or her power to be worthy enough to freestyle at the BET Hip Hop Awards. Watch the full freestyle here.
2. Uncle Luke said the Hip Hop Awards couldn’t be in Miami without honoring him
Luther “Uncle Luke” Campbell helped build the foundation of Miami music with his controversial but influential catalog. Over the years, Luke has matured way past the drama of fighting with the Supreme Court to deem his music as free speech rather than “obscene.” The only headlines Luke wants to see and hear about are about his work in Miami-Dade County, especially Liberty City. As a businessman, community activist, author, radio host, artist and, most importantly, a coach, Luke feels that his time for such an honor from the hip-hop community is well overdue.
“It’s been a long time coming,” Luke told VIBE on the green carpet. “After 35 years in the game, it’s finally my time. I guess they ran out [of] people. They gave it to Russell a few times, Lyor Cohen and Jimmy Iovine, so now they’re like, ‘F*ck it.’ Then they wanted to come to Miami, so they couldn’t do it without honoring me, but I am truly honored and humbled about this opportunity.”
This leads us to the most memorable moment of the night.
1. Rick Ross, Trick Daddy, Trina, Flo Rida and others paid homage to Uncle Luke and 2 Live Crew
It’s safe to say that no other awards show has shown as much love to Florida’s Miami bass movement than the BET Hip Hop Awards. After Luke received his I Am Hip Hop award, Disco Rick did the honors of bringing him back out to perform an epic tribute with a medley of his classics, with some help from Trick Daddy, Trina, Flo Rida and, of course, the OGs of 2 Live Crew. Luke got the party started in full Miami Hurricanes gear with a fleet of dancers as songs like “It’s Your Birthday” and “Hydrolics” echoed throughout the Fillmore.
Afterwards, “Me So Horny” came on, and 2 Live Crew’s original members Mr. Mixx and Brother Marquis made their surprise appearance. As the face of the late Fresh Kid Ice appeared in the background, the most controversial crew in Miami rap history spiritually came together on stage for the first time in more than a decade. That’s when Rick Ross came out to perform his Luke-inspired smash single “Pop That,” and the stage transformed into a pop-up strip club complete with skilled exotic dancers. As if that wasn’t enough, Luke made everyone hop out of their seats when he closed out with “Doo Doo Brown.” He even went to the first row to personally bring up Cardi B to twerk to his original strip club anthem.