NEW YORK — It's that time of year again: The weather is getting colder, days are becoming shorter and legends of hip-hop are being honored.
The 2008 VH1 Hip Hop Honors2008 VH1 Hip Hop Honors premieres Monday at 10 p.m. ET, and rehearsals were held Wednesday and Thursday at the Hammerstein Ballroom to make sure the honorees were recognized in style.
Those being honored this year include Slick RickSlick Rick, the late Isaac Hayes, Too ShortToo Short, De la SoulDe la Soul, Cypress HillCypress Hill and Naughty by NatureNaughty by Nature. This is the fifth class of legends to be nominated; past honorees include Snoop DoggSnoop Dogg, the Wu-Tang Clanthe Wu-Tang Clan, Run-DMCRun-DMC and RakimRakim.
"We're here to be a part of something historical," Gym Class Heroes frontman Travis McCoy told MTV News. "It's like the all-star game of hip-hop."
Another West Coast act being honored is Too Short, whose career has been anything but. The MC has been in the game for more than 20 years, spawning hits such as "Short Dog the Pimp" in the late '80s and a guest spot on Snoop Dogg's "Life of Da Party""Life of Da Party" earlier this year.
A video was played during the rehearsal in which Naughty by Nature recalled being accosted by New York crowds early on in their career because they were from New Jersey. They eventually grew to be loved, no matter where they performed.
"They're the anthem kings," Big Boi said of Naughty by Nature. "From 'O.P.P.''O.P.P.' to 'Hip-Hop Hooray''Hip-Hop Hooray' — every time they put out a song, they had an anthem that the whole globe was singing, man."
While Slick Rick and De la Soul rehearsed their sets, Wale, Busta RhymesBusta Rhymes, Spliff Starr, ?uestlove?uestlove, Bun BBun B and Biz MarkieBiz Markie mixed and mingled. The ballroom was more like a family reunion then a rehearsal.
The only non-rap artist being celebrated is Isaac Hayes, and while the late musician never spit a bar, his work helped inspire many MCs. From the Notorious B.I.G.'sNotorious B.I.G.'s "Warning""Warning" to the Geto Boys'Geto Boys' "Mind Playing Tricks on Me,""Mind Playing Tricks on Me," Black Moses had a lasting effect on hip-hop.
While Biz Markie played a sample of one of Hayes' songs, a cipher featuring Mos DefMos Def, Busta Rhymes and others broke out. The Biz playfully stopped the beat, interrupting the freestyle session causing participants to yell, "Yo, keep playing that!"