2013 BET Hip-Hop Awards: 5 best moments

There’s one thing that took a major backseat on the 2013 BET Hip-Hop Awards: actual awards.

The telecast, which aired Tuesday, didn’t parcel out many trophies during its two-hour telecast. Instead most of the night was dedicated to live performances from a gamut of acts including Meek Mill, 2 Chainz, Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, Future, Rick Ross and the always hotly anticipated cyphers.

For those who missed the telecast, and all of the chatter that dominated Twitter throughout the night, we tuned in and kept a running tab of all the moments that wowed, delivered a head scratch or made for a great, and likely profane quotable.


Here's five of the night's best highlights:

1. Cyphers. The true meat and potatoes of the telecast are the cyphers that showcase veteran and emerging wordsmiths delivering their most ferocious freestyles. The members of Slaughterhouse delivered a fiery set of rhymes. Rapsody and Lil Kim held it down for the ladies in separate cyphers (sorry Tiffany Foxx). The cast of the Kevin Hart led spoof reality show, “Real Husbands of Hollywood,” provided splitting laughs -- and a few punches. But the night easily went to Top Dawg Entertainment's cypher, particularly the imprint's breakout star Kendrick Lamar. After dropping a bombshell on the rap world with his acid-spewing guest verse on Big Sean’s “Control” -- the Compton-raised emcee declared himself king of New York and challenged his contemporaries (by name) to step up their game -- a host of rappers barked back. Lamar had yet to respond, until his cypher.

His TDE brethren built the tension with successive wallops of fury, but Lamar capped the cypher by dishing out two minutes laced with vitriol and a punishing amount of gut punches. Choice lines came in abundance. "Nothing's been the same since they dropped 'Control'/ And tucked a sensitive rapper back in his pajama clothes / Your … never penetrates/ Pin the tail on the donkey, boy you been a fake," most likely sent a chill down Drake's spine, while missives such as "I'm the master that masturbated on your favorite emcee," "I got my thumb on hip-hop/ And my foot in the back of your ass" and "Hold up, wait a minute/ Your career ain't … unless you got some Kendrick in it" light volcanic fire underneath the feet of every rapper with a pulse. Ouch.

2. Snoop can do no wrong. Whether he’s peddling Hot Pockets, churning out reggae tracks, appearing on daytime soap operas, Snoop Dogg (sorry Snoop Lion, or Snoopzilla, or whatever he chooses to call himself) can do what he wants. Seriously the man has enough charm and pizzazz to sell a stale chicken sandwich to a vegetarian. Hip-hop’s finest jack-of-all-trades added show host to his resume. Did it work? Duh. Uncle Snoop filled the telecast with enough LOL-worthy moments to keep the show moving, including a punchy opening monologue and skits with everyone from BET mainstay Kevin Hart to James Lipton. Yes, that James Lipton (see No. 5).

3. MC Lyte drops much-needed wisdom. Though the genre is still dominated by men, one of the night's biggest honors went to one of hip-hop's pioneering women. MC Lyte was feted with the "I Am Hip Hop" achievement award and although her presentation featuring Eve and pretaped testimonies from Queen Latifah and Missy Elliott made us wish the network asked them to instead hit the stage and show the new generation how it's done, Lyte used her speech to school the crowd.

"Men, we are depending on you. We need you to protect us when no one else will, so stop cursing us out all the time, OK," she pleaded to a cheering, yet hopefully heeding, crowd. "Find some love for us somewhere. And ladies, I say if you want to be treated like a Queen, act like one."

4. Revisiting Cash Money’s glory days. Lil Wayne has been racking up hits since he was a teenager as part of the Hot Boys, one of a handful of Cash Money acts that helped put New Orleans on the rap map in the mid-'90s. He’s since gone on to radio permanence as a solo act and launched platinum superstars Drake and Nicki Minaj. But 2 Chainz took viewers back to those glory days during his performance when he brought out Mannie Fresh and Juvenile to deliver the signature verse to “Back That Azz Up,” Juvenile’s smash hit that taught an entire generation how to truly twerk (years before Miley does whatever she passes off as twerking).

5. James Lipton goes hip-hop. It's not every day you get to see the legendary host of "Inside the Actors Studio," poke fun at himself, let alone see the astute interviewer quiz Snoop on his work as a not-so-serious actor. Lipton and Snoop opened the show with a spoof of "Inside the Actors Studio." The gem? Discussing Snoop's "most riveting role to date" where he played a pilot tasked with saving the lives of hundreds as he "hurdled through the night's sky in a capsule filled with ratchet wonder." Rent "Soul Plane" to actually understand the brilliance of the moment. Quick fun fact: Lipton and Snoop had brief stints as pimps.

As for actual awards? Lamar won the night, naturally. He took home five awards including lyricist of the year and album of the year for his breakout "good kid, m.A.A.d city." Drake came in second, scoring four trophies including hip-hop video for "Started From the Bottom."

Full list of winners can be found here.

Check out Kendrick Lamar ripping, well, everyone. But this is hip-hop, expect explicit language: