The king of the South was one of kings of rap saluted at the first-ever BET Hip-Hop Awards, held in Atlanta on Sunday.
T.I. was the definite crowd favorite at A-Town’s Fox Theatre, delivering what was arguably the most energetic and well-received performance of the night with his “Top Back” remix (B.G., Young Dro, and Big Kuntry joined him onstage). T.I. scored his first victory of the night in the Video of the Year category, with “What You Know” beating out Busta Rhymes “Touch It” remix, Common’s “Testify” and Lupe Fiasco’s “Kick Push.”
The head of the Grand Hustle label took a second big honor, winning the Hip-Hop MVP of the Year award over Lil Wayne, Young Jeezy, Chamillionaire and Yung Joc.
“You can hate if you want, but you’re wasting your time,” T.I. said at the end of his acceptance speech.(Check here for pictures of the stars in their Sunday best.)
Chamillionaire was another multiple winner, scoring Rookie of the Year as well as the Alltel Wireless People’s Champ award, voted on by viewers.
Jay-Z stood tall against Diddy, T.I., Ludacris and Nelly in the Hip-Hop Hustler category.
“Luda is supposed to win this one,” Hov said. He joked that he and Cris would work it out so Luda could take the trophy next year.
Grandmaster Flash was the first recipient of the I Am Hip-Hop Award, honoring icons in the game, while Common was named lyricist of the year and Busta Rhymes won in the Best Live Performer category.
And the prize for the unofficial category of most performances of the night went to Young Jeezy, who rocked the mic three times. The Snowman brought the gentlemen’s club to the awards show with a performance of “I Luv It” that featured girls dancing on stripper poles, and teamed up with Ludacris for “Grew Up a Screw Up.” Jeezy also rapped on a special version of the show’s opener, “Welcome to Atlanta,” featuring Luda, Producer of the Year winner Jermaine Dupri and Lil Jon.
The Game, Snoop Dogg, DJ Unk and Jim Jones — with some hyping from Juelz Santana — were also among the performers at the ceremony, which was hosted by Diplomat artist and top urban comedian Katt Williams.
The BET Hip-Hop Awards airs Wednesday at 9 p.m. on BET.