Hip hop dominated last night’s 2014 BET Awards, and LA’s Nokia Theater is still in awe. Referred to as “The Black World Cup” by ultra comedic host Chris Rock, the evening’s events were full of pleasant surprises. Which moment outshined the other? Was it Chris Brown’s surprise performance of his hit single “Loyal” with Lil Wayne and Tyga? Or Lil Wayne’s performance of “Believe Me”?
The New Orleans hit maker gave a rousing performance of the Drake-assisted cut which did not feature his Canadian hit making collegue, but Wayne didn’t have a problem swinging solo, and kept the crowd hyped. The Lil Wayne led Young Money also won best group which includes fellow group mates Drake and Nicki Minaj.
The extremely talented Pharrell Williams, who also won best male R&B/Pop artist, kicked off the show with a playful performance of “Come Get It Bae” along with fellow super producer and artist Missy Elliott to perform a verse from her 2003 hit single “Pass the Dutch.” Pharell’s nationwide smash “Happy” won video of the year.
T.I. and Iggy Azalea sizzled with an energetic performance of his tune “No Mediocre” which morphed into Iggy’s hit “Fancy”.
But it was Nicki Minaj that turned countless heads. Joined by 12th season American Idol contestant, and seventh place finisher Burnell Taylor, he Trinidadian superstar delivered a fairytale inspired performance of her new hit “Pills N Potions”.
She began her performance on a motorcycle, soon after the stage transformed into a scene, reminiscent of Disney’s Alice in Wonderland.
Currently at #2 on Billboard’s US Hot Rap Songs chart, “Pills N Potions” opens with a haunting drum beat, while Minaj sings the pre chorus in a whispery tone, “Pills N Potions”, we’re overdosing’/I’m angry but I still love you”. As the pre-chorus repeats, an echo effect is added to her vocals, and “blooming” chants of “I still love, I still love, I still lu-uh-uhhhv” are sung to create the songs chorus.
During the verses Minaj raps with a sense of urgency, and restrain as she pinpoints someone who wronged her. Scorned, she raps “They could never make me hate you/Even though what you was doin’ wasn’t tasteful/Even though you out here looking so ungrateful/I’mma keep it movin’ be classy and graceful.
There were other memorable performances from newcomer August Alsina, Usher, Jennifer Hudson, and John Legend with his soul stirring performance of “You and I” morphed with “The Worst” by rising newcomer Jhene Aiko, who won over the crowd, with her pristine pipes as Legend played piano. Power couple Jay Z and Beyoncé closed the show with a sulty performance of Beyonce’s hit “Partition”, which broadcast via satellite from their concert in Miami.
Another surprise, was a tribute to 90s R&B from as popular groups Silk, Color Me Badd and Troop who performed their well-known jams that enticed the excited yet nostalgic crowd.
And who could forget the incomparable Lionel Richie being presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award and receiving a standing ovation after singing hits “Easy” and “All Night Long.” The 65- year- old veteran was serenaded during tributes by John Legend and soul songstress Ledisi.
Did you miss it? Fear not, there’s always next year!