Monday, October 20, 2008

The 'BET HIP HOP AWARDS '08' Celebrates the Biggest Names in the Game - on the Mic, in the Community and in the Election

PRNewswire/ -- The BET HIP HOP AWARDS '08 was full of non-stop, mind-blowing performances, talented lyricists and incomparable collaborations, but above all, the night was an empowering tribute to the upcoming presidential election, giving back to the community and the reigning ladies of hip hop. With the ever-present T-Pain serving as the surprise ringleader (with scheduled host Katt Williams unable to attend), the hottest show in hip hop was taped at Atlanta's Civic Center on Saturday, October 18 and will air on BET Thursday, October 23 at 8:00 p.m.*

One of the biggest winners of the BET HIP HOP AWARDS '08 was crowd favorite Lil Wayne, who had been nominated for 12 awards and was named Lyricist of the Year, MVP of the Year and the Alltel Wireless People's Champ. But the most impressive theme of the night was each and every presenter, performer and winner encouraging the audience to vote and reminding viewers just how historic this moment is.

The show's most unforgettable moment was the ladies of hip hop medley, featuring the reigning queens of the mic -- MC Lyte, Yo-Yo, The Lady of Rage, Salt-n-Pepa and Spinderella. From MC Lyte's "Cha Cha Cha" to Yo-Yo's "You Can't Play with My Yo-Yo," the performance was an inspiring reminder of how amazing female MCs are and can be. Salt-n-Pepa brought the house to its feet with a number of songs, including "My Mic Sounds Nice," "Shoop," "Big Girls," "Push It, and "Whatta Man" (which included a photo montage of a certain presidential candidate and his wife!).

The BET HIP HOP AWARDS '08 featured other sizzling performances and collaborations, with ATL native T.I. kicking off the show with "What's Up, What's Happening" and later teaming up with Swizz Beatz for "Swing Your Rag." Nas showed off his lyrical skills with "Queens Get the Money" and "Hero," while Young Jeezy gave a high-energy rendition of "Crazy World." Plies was joined by Ne-Yo for "Who Hotter Than Me" and "Bust It Baby," and Rick Ross treated the crowd to "Here I Am" with Nelly and Avery Storm.

Rocking black-rimmed glasses, N.E.R.D. and Common impressed the crowd with "Numbers," "Universal Mind Control" and "Spazz." T-Pain took a break from his hosting duties to perform "Can't Believe It" with Lil Wayne and "Chopped and Skrewed" with Ludacris. Surprise performer Ice Cube had the audience on its feet for "Why Me" and the classic "It Was a Good Day," and Soulja Boy and Bow Wow closed out the night with "Marco Polo."

Also during the show, LL Cool J presented Russell Simmons with the "I AM HIP HOP" Icon Award, which is presented to an individual who, during his or her lifetime, has made notable contributions of outstanding significance to the hip hop community. As one of the most influential hip hop moguls in the world, Simmons has inspired countless other artists to give back to their communities and make charity a top priority. Through his efforts with the Hip Hop Summit Action Network and other philanthropic initiatives, Simmons has proven that hip hop can make a huge difference in the world.

A star-studded line-up of the biggest names in hip hop made appearances at the show, including 50 Cent, Kerry Washington, Keri Hilson, Jim Jones, Derek Luke, Lil Cease, Big Boi, Keyshia Cole, Ciara, Jamal Woolard and Wu-Tang Clan members GZA, Raekwon, Masta Killa, U-God, Inspectah Deck and RZA. Adding to the hype, rapper Jadakiss pumped up the crowd as celebrity announcer, while the famed DJ Drama played all night. Also during the show, BET unveiled an exclusive trailer for Fox Searchlight's new film NOTORIOUS about the life of late rapper Notorious B.I.G.

BET once again teams up with Cossette Productions, the famed producers of the GRAMMY Awards(R) and the seven record-setting BET AWARDS shows, to handle production of the BET HIP HOP AWARDS '08 telecast. Stephen G. Hill, BET Executive Vice President, Music and Programming, along with Lynne Harris-Taylor, BET Vice President of Specials, are executive producers of the telecast.

The BET HIP HOP AWARDS '08 is sponsored by Nike, MySpace Music, Toyota, Alltel Wireless and Fox Searchlight.

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