On Tuesday night (Oct. 5), the 2021 BET Hip Hop Awards returned in-person to Atlanta with a star-studded line-up in attendance. Not only did Tyler, The Creator walk away with a bevy of awards, including hip-hop album of the year, but St. Louis legend Nelly received the most significant honor of the night, with the I Am Hip-Hop Award.
Hosted by the stars of the 85 South Show for a second year in a row, fans enjoyed various ciphers by emerging acts, as well as performances from Young Thug, Gunna, Baby Keem, and more. Check out the performances ranked from tonight’s festivities below.
7. Bia, “Whole Lotta Money” / “BIA BIA” featuring Lil Jon
Though Bia’s performance for “Whole Lotta Money” lacked the same vigor and spice as her Hot 100 hit, enlisting crunk legend Lil Jon for “BIA BIA” helped raise the temperature on what was initially a lukewarm effort from the hip-hop star.
6. Latto, “Soufside / “Big Energy”
Latto didn’t lack energy when she hit the stage to perform: her legion of dancers not only followed safety protocol with their mask-clad attire, but they flaunted their best moves to her new single “Big Energy.” The lady in red also raised the bar beforehand when she dished out a helping of “Soufside.”
5. Baby Keem, “Family Ties”
The PG Lang upstart didn’t miss a beat with his militant rendition of “Family Ties”: with an army of dancers in his corner, Keem stormed through his Billboard top 20 track sans Kendrick Lamar. Unlike his peers, the blazing rendition only gave fans a single-serving — electing to keep his performance to one song, and leaving us yearning for more.
4. Isaiah Rashad, Doechi, Kal Banxs, “What U Sed” / “From the Garden”
Isaiah Rashad, the lyrical stalwart of TDE, had a very eye-catching set as he transformed his stage into the outside of a mini-mart. With lawn chairs and park benches occupying the area, Rashad, Doechi and Banx flexed their seamless chemistry before the Tennessee MC gave fans an animated version of “From the Garden,” from his acclaimed album The House Is Burning.
3. Young Thug & Gunna, “Tick Tock” / “Too Easy” / “Ski”
YSL’s dynamic duo of Young Thug and Gunna kicked off the 2021 BET Hip Hop Awards with a fiery medley. First, Thugger performed his instant party starter “Tick Tock” atop a giant pink spider before tapping his partner-in-rhyme, Gunna, for the arcade-centric banger “Too Easy.” The Atlanta pair didn’t stop there, as they slid through the stage with their slithery anthem “Ski,” which brought the crowd into a frenzy.
2. Nelly, “E.I.”/ “Country Grammar” / “Air Forces Ones” and more
With a St. Louis Cardinal fitted in tow, Nelly dove straight into his 2000 classics, including “E.I.,” “Country Grammar” and “Air Force Ones.” As the crowd gushed at his tireless energy, The I Am Hip-Hop recipient also brought out Jermaine Dupri for Jagged Edge’s “Where The Party At” and his pearly anthem “Grillz” with Paul Wall. The nostalgia reached a fever pitch when he performed “Ride Wit Me,” “Dilemma” and his sweltering anthem “Hot in Herre.”
1. Tobe Nwigen, “Fye Fye”
Tobe and his wife Fat made it a family affair with their electric rendition of “FYE FYE.” With a basketball hoop hanging up at the center of the stage, Tobe and Fat bulldozed their way to the top with fervor, leaving nothing to chance in their all-white outfits. The proverbial cherry on top, letting their kids saunter onstage after their demolition derby.