Cheers, tears, and surprises showered the 2014 BET Hip Hop Awards as the ceremony exploded from ATL’s famed Boisfeuillet Jones Atlanta Civic Center on October 14, 2014. After his stellar hosting stint at last year’s event, Snoop Dogg returned to host the event once again. Big winners at this year’s ceremony were DJ Mustard with four wins, followed by Drake with three wins.
Although it was an awards show, the performances seemed to dominate. Among all, three of them stood out the most.
With an emotional performance of “The Kingdom” remix, Common, Jay Electronica, and Vince Staples took the stage to pay tribute to slain teenager Micheal Brown, who was shot and killed by Officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Missouri. The performance ended when Brown’s parents joined them onstage, and the audience raised both hands in complete silence.
Hip-hop pioneer Doug E. Fresh received the I Am Hip-Hop icon award which was evening’s highest honor. Once appearing onstage to receive his award, the master beatboxer emotionally shared that his mother recently passed away from Alzheimer’s disease, and paid homage to her and hip hop for being constant forces in his life. He was then joined onstage by Snoop Dogg, for a rousing accapella rendition of his classic hit “La Di Da Di”, which Snoop also covered on his hit 1994 release, Doggystyle.
One of the evening’s biggest highlights however, was from singer/actress Brandy. Joined onstage by hip hop pioneers, MC Lyte, Yo-Yo, and Queen Latifah, Girl power was recreated once again when the ladies performed the 1995 hip hop remix of “I Wanna Be Down”. Penned by Keith Crouch and Kipper Jones, the original 1994 hit taken from Brandy’s self-titled debut described Brandy flirting with a boy, whom she was trying to convince to be with her.
Last night’s performance emulated the music video. Against a plain white backdrop, the “Fab Four” came out one by one to deliver their memorable verses. With Brandy appearing first rocking a Boho Chic style, she was quickly followed by MC Lyte, Yo-Yo and finally, Queen Latifah who all looked and performed impeccably. In slight contrast, the music video featured the ladies in glamorous black and white film, complete with flashbulbs and colored backdrops popping to the beat.
With its soft blend of hip-hop soul, R&B, and its a mid–tempo flow, “I Wanna Be Down” gave a then 15-year-old Brandy her first number one hit. With this strategy in mind, it was no question that a remix had to be done.
In February of 1995, female hip-hop pioneers Queen Latifah, MC Lyte and Yo-Yo appeared on the Hip Hop Remix of “I Wanna Be Down“. Brandy softly cooed the opening lyric, as MC Lyte followed with her seductive delivery. Rounding it out was the delightfully boastful Yo-Yo, as Brandy bounced back with the hook, while Queen Latifah brilliantly danced across the song’s finish line with here sassy verse.
Brandy thought of co-stars as mentors and was thrilled with being embraced as their little sister. For all who were teens in the 90s, last night’s performance was blissfully nostalgic.
View the original 1995 music video here: