The Yankees, Knicks, Giants and Jets were replaced by the Braves, Hawks, Rockets, and Da U at this year’s VH1 Hip-Hop Honors, with the Dirty South taking center stage at the Hammerstein Ballroom on 33rd St. in Manhattan, NY. The honorees for this year areJ. Prince, the creator of Rap-A-Lot Records, Luther “Uncle Luke” Campbell, the 2 Live Crew, Master P,Timbaland, Jermaine Dupri and Organized Noize.
All of the honorees received equal praise, and some even joined in on the performances themselves. Master P played the background, but Uncle Luke, the 2 Live Crew and Jermaine Dupri pitched in on the party at hand.
The crowd was all too into it for the entire night, even though notables like T-Pain and Ludacris weren’t present, T.I.’s appearance seemed to fill the void. Although he didn’t perform, he still introduced the Atlanta artists who represented for the state of Georgia, a short while after being saluted by the honorees!
Host Craig Robinson, who’d been in movies such as “Knocked Up,” “Zack and Miri Make a Porno,” and “Hot Tub Time Machine,” did his thing, cracking jokes about the South’s ease to make a record about anything, and was involved in some movie shorts about how it is to be a rapper in the South.
Rappers who made special appearances were Drake, who performed “Get Throwed” with Bun B, taking care of Pimp C’s lyrics on the track; Fabolous, Puffy, Bow Wow, and Gucci Mane, another Southern favorite. All with the exception of Ross performed songs in honor for the honorees. Missy Elliot even stopped by to show love for her ‘Brother,’ Timbaland, who sat with 2 Live Crew perched on the balcony.
Jermaine Dupri, who put his record label So So Def on the map by producing countless hits for artists like TLC, Mariah Carey and Jay-Z, performed “I Think They Like Me,” with Dem Franchize Boyz, Puffy and Bow Wow, as well as the “Welcome to Atlanta (Remix)” with Fabolous. Bow Wow’s solo performance for Kris Kross may have been the best of the night. Jumping from out of the floor onto the stage with a backwards C.C. Sabathia Jersey on, the crowd couldn’t help but, “Jump, Jump!”
The show was all about the Southern sections, and who put them on. J Prince, who really should be, as Eddie Griffin called him, “J King,” not only put Houston on, but Southern Hip-Hop itself, starting Rap-A-Lot Records in 1986. Luther Campbell put Florida on the map, with Miami Bass, and the Supreme Court ruling for the “Campbell vs. Acuff-Rose Music” case, which argued that parody can be fair use. Luke is one of the founding member of the 2-Live Crew, and you have to remember he is responsible for finding artists Trick Daddy and Trina. Master P and No Limit Records held down Louisiana, with Cash Money Records not too far behind. Dupri held down Atlanta, along with Organized Noize, who also produced massive hits for Ludacris, TLC, and Outkast. It’s amazing that Outkast wasn’t there.
Presenters included Brandy and her brother Ray J, Lauren London, Kelly Rowland, Kid Rock and Taraji P. Henson.
33rd St. wasn’t New York for one night. It was Georgia, Florida, Texas, and Louisiana. All of the people honored had to do more than break new ground. If you’re not from New York it’s like another planet altogether, so it’s that much harder to make it in Rap when the East and West were already at the forefront. Times have definitely changed, and VH1 solidified the South’s status in Hip-Hop as being at the top.
Images by Christian Ortiz for Parlé Magazine
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