I've covered many awards shows, but on Saturday night I was finally able to sit down and enjoy a show in person -- since it was pre-taped, I didn't have to work live -- and the 2014 Bet Hip Hop Awards was a pretty good place to start. It felt more like a family affair, than a stiff black tie event. The show airs October 14, at 8 p.m. ET. on BET, but here's a preview of what went down on Saturday, at the Civic Center in Atlanta.
Shurmda Stole The Show
Atlanta was very present on stage Saturday -- with performances from T.I., Young Thug, Rich Homie Quan, Migos and Rae Sremmurd -- but somehow it was Bobby Shmurda who really had the crowd going nuts. Shmurda was the only performer of the night who had everyone on their feet before he even started rapping. It was a mob scene when he launched into "Hot N---a," with his GS9 creqw joining him, and Lil TeRio dancing his a$$ off in up front. The Brooklyn rapper was so excited, that he even flipped the mic and dropped it for a second. No big deal though, Snoop was on the other side of the stage distracting everyone else with his own Shmoney Dance.
The Moving Mike Brown Tribute
Common performed his Nobody's Smiling single "Kingdom" with the backing of a full choir and an assist from Vince Staples. Then Jay Electronica surprised us by joining them both to add a remix verse, as they all paid tribute to slain St. Louis teen Mike Brown. Brown's parents joined the three artists on stage as the song ended, with hands raised to the sky, and there was a heavy moment of silence.
Brandy, MC Lyte, Yo-Yo And Queen Latifah
Brandy appeared out of thin air when the beat for "I Wanna Be Down" dropped. Eventually MC Lyte appeared, then Yo-Yo, with the crowd getting louder and louder, and when Queen Latifah finally made it on stage, well...it was very loud. No one really saw that one coming, so BET gets points for the big surprise there.
Rae Sremmurd's Excitement
Ever notice how the cameras cut to celebs during award shows who look like they're bored enough to die? Well, not Rae Sremmurd. The ATL duo opened the show with an insanely energetic performance of their hit "No Flex Zone," and took that energy with them right off the stage. For every performance, award, announcement, anything, these two were going insane in the audience, along with their entourage. I'd hire them for any party for I was throwing. Easy.
Uncle Snoop's Antics
Sorry, you missed the most hilarious Uncle Snoop moments during the commercial breaks -- but hey, maybe they'll air them as outtakes? Snoop (who played host for the night) pointed out that this was the most informal awards show he'd ever attended, with rappers standing up and exchanging contact info even when the show was on-air, but he didn't keep it professional either. One of the funniest moments came when he was forced to re-do a Beats By Dre promo several times, and decided to go in on Dre and his billion-dollar brand for forcing him to work harder. Plus, he might be the best backup dancer ever. His Shmoney Dance is a must-see.
Young Thug's Outfits
I'm pretty sure the ladies from "The Real Housewives of Atlanta" thought they had this one on lock, but nah. Young Thug gets the award for best outfits of the night. After performing in baby pink, skin-tight ripped jeans for "Lifestyle" with Rich Homie Quan, he switched it up for his second set of the night. When he joined T.I. for "About the Money," Thugga was wearing some interesting combination of a mesh dress and pants, with a hooded cape/poncho draped over it. Where's he even get that at?
Snow Tha Product Killed The Cypher
Cyphers are always a big draw for the Bet Hip Hop Awards, but this year the rhymes were a bit lackluster, honestly. Taylor Gang got things off to a pretty mediocre start, and the standouts, as far as crowd reaction, were Snow Tha Product (who went in, spitting in both English and Spanish) and Remy Ma and Papoose who teamed up and finished strong with a riff on "black love." I won't spoil it for you though. Tune in to see for yourself.
Murda Mook Called Out Drake
But would you expect anything less? After taking some time on the carpet to explain how Drake had challenged him to a rap battle (and pretty much saying that Drizzy didn't stand a chance) Mook also popped off during the live battle, hogging the microphone and spitting 'till they cut the music off.