Ah yes, the most important portion of the BET Hip-Hop Awards: the freestyle cyphers. While there were certainly some solid straight-up performances last night, the cyphers have remains the reason why folks tune in, right? I mean, who wouldn’t want to see Yelawolf, Joe Budden, Crooked I, Joell Ortiz, Royce da 5’9″, and Eminem rhyme while DJ Premier mans the turntables? I thought so.
Their cypher, dubbed Shady 2.0, is clearly the best and one hip-hop heads will be deciphering for the next few days. But there are some highlights in the others, including Kendrick Lamar absolutely ripping shit and the Maybach Music Group boys just having a lot of fun.
Now as some of you no doubt know, these aren’t really freestyles in the truest sense of the word. What I mean is, the rappers in the cyphers aren’t spitting bars off the top of their head. Rather, they’re delivering written verses that may very well appear on their next project. Kanye West fans might recall that his freestyle at last year’s award show found a home on My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy‘s “Dark Fantasy.”
But enough rap-nerd talk. Let’s get to the cyphers, shall we? They are all available below and kind of ranked by which we thought were the best.
Eminem, Yelawolf and Slaughterhouse
Big K.R.I.T., Tech N9ne, Machine Gun Kelly, Kendrick Lamar and B.o.B
Wale, Pill, Stalley, Meek Mill and Rick Ross
Reek Da Villian, 2 Chainz, Busta Rhymes and Ludacris
Lady of Rage, Blind Fury, Dom Kennedy and Skillz
Nitty Scott, Lecrae, Sporano and Estelle
Ace Hood, Kevin McCall, Tyga & Chris Brown