The 2023 BET Hip Hop Awards, originally recorded on Oct. 3 and aired on Tuesday (Oct. 10), was a night of recognition and celebration for notable figures in the hip-hop industry.
For the second consecutive year, Fat Joe took on the role of host, overseeing an event that saw esteemed figures receiving some of the industry’s highest honors. Marley Marl, an icon hailing from Queens, was presented with the esteemed I Am Hip Hop Award, while the enduring contributions of Timbaland and Swizz Beatz were acknowledged with the Cultural Influence Award.
The event paid tribute to the 30-year legacy of Jermaine Dupri’s iconic So So Def record label, an institution deeply intertwined with the city of Atlanta, where it was born. Established by Dupri in 1993, So So Def left an indelible mark on the music industry, producing chart-topping hits and shaping the sound of a generation.
Dupri set the tone for the So So Def tribute, reminiscing, “Back in 1991 I was sitting in my room and I wrote this song.” He then delivered the opening lines of Kris Kross’s 1992 smash hit, “Jump,” before the stage unveiled Ludacris.
Ludacris paid homage to the hometown crowd with a performance of the Atlanta anthem “Welcome to Atlanta,” followed by a lively set by Lil Jon.
The tribute continued with a series of hits; Bone Crusher brought the energy with ‘Never Scared’, Nelly delivered ‘Grillz’, and Chingy and Tyrese collaborated on ‘Pullin Me Back’. JD then assembled Dem Franchize Boyz, Da Brat, and Bow Wow for a memorable performance of ‘I Think They Like Me.’
“WELCOME TO ATLANTA WHERE THE PLAYAS PLAY!” BET captioned a clip of the performance on social media. “30 years of So So Def putting on for hip hop and being influential to the culture. WHAT A PERFORMANCE!”
For those who missed it, the performance is available for viewing below.