The 2021 BET Hip Hop Awards rocked the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre in Atlanta on Oct. 5, bringing forth tons of memories and performances that we’ll be talking about for years to come.
Of the winners last night were Jay Z and Nipsey, who took home the “Impact Track” trophy for their collaborative effort, “What It Feels Like,” from the new Judas and the Black Messiah: The Inspired Album, beating out Black Thought’s “Thought vs Everybody,” Lil Nas X’s “Montero,” Lil Baby and Kirk Franklin’s “We Win,” Meek Mill and Lil Baby’s “Pain Away” and Rapsody’s “12 Problems”.
Although Jay and Nip are, rightfully, this year’s winners, more people have had important things to say, which is why we’re taking a look at four other tracks this year that have also been impactful.
“24’ — Kanye West
Said to have been written about both his late mother, Donda and late NBA superstar Kobe, who wore the number, “24” can easily be regarded as an impact track this year solely based on it’s themes of mourning.
“Never the right time to go // Getting the right time to go //Never the right time to go,” he raps.
Between the repeated lyrics, “we gonna be okay,” and “God's not finished,” it’s hard to feel anything other than inspired despite what went around the release of the album.
“Good Vibes” — Wale
Because it was released 19 days into the new year, many may forget how healing and timely Wale’s single, “Good Vibes” was.
In an effort to cleanse the evil that is threatening the world, the D.C. native addresses everything from the Capitol riots to Kaepernick and George Flyod.
"And I'm so tired, all I need is good vibes/S*** ain't right on this side/All my n***as dying and the president be lying," Wale croons. "I'm burning sage in the studio before I let n***as near/I leave my weapon by the speaker so they hearing me clear," he raps. "I mean the money be cool, I did amazing this year/I mean I'm famous, but I'm drained, I need some prayer for real."
“Say Peace” — Common
Appearing on both parts of Common’s A Beautiful Revolution series is the track “Say Peace” with Black Thought which permeates into many of the anxieties people of color have been enduring over the past couple of years.
“Peace, we don’t really want no trouble/Tell me is you down with the struggle?/All they really wanna do is cuff you/They don’t love you,” the hook sings.
These last two albums have been laced with themes of self-empowerment and Black liberation and his back and forth with Black Thought here is no different.
“Brunch On Sundays” — Nas
Coming off of Nas’ Kings Disease II — a follow-up to its Grammy-winning predecessor — is the track “Brunch on Sundays”.
While it may not seem like your prototypical impact track, as it’s not over-political, there’s something to be said about raps of Black empowerment, wealth and being able to sit back and enjoy common luxuries like Sunday brunch.
As the song comes to an end, Nas raps, "To make it Sunday to Sunday, that sh-- is deep."