There’s something about the temperature warming up that makes it the perfect time for a rapping/singing bop. Summer is thee season for this audible joy.
The 2020 BET Awards are fast approaching (June 28th at 8 pm EST), so we’ll find out soon enough what bangers will be performed. In the meantime, take a look back at some recent rap/sing collab performances that got our attention at previous BET Awards.
In 2019, Mary J. Blige received the Lifetime Achievement Award, but instead of sitting back and watching other performers do their versions of her hits, the Queen of Hip Hop Soul put on her best white thigh-high boots and hit the stage for an epic 20-minute medley performance. In addition to a whole squad of dancers, Mary also brought out a few special guests. Method Man and Lil Kim came out for their verses on “You’re All I Need to Get By” and “I Can Love You,” respectively. It took you straight back to the 90s (in a good way). Mr. Clifford Smith (aka Method Man) has aged like fine wine. The ladies looked good too.
Rapper Lil Nas X and country singer Billy Ray Cyrus arrived at the stage doors on horseback! For that alone, you have to tip your hat to their commitment to the performance. “Old Town Road” is a fun song that people of all ages seem to love and it was the surprise country hit that some industry folks didn’t see coming. For their 2019 BET Awards performance, both men stuck to their typical attire. Billy Ray Cyrus was in neutrals while Lil Nas X went for a more eye-catching look with bright yellow leather with tassels.
J. Cole is known for bringing thought-provoking lyricism and he didn’t disappoint at the 2018 BET Awards. DC rapper Wale served as an actor/model for Cole’s stage performance and Daniel Ceaser and Willow Smith chimed in on the vocals. Though many rap/sing collabs are made for the clubs, this was a decidedly more laid back vibe. There were even children on stage dressed in all white meditating and dancing.
The late Nipsey Hussle’s spirit was certainly felt at the 2019 BET Awards. After a lovely tribute from Marsha Ambrosius, DJ Khaled and John Legend got on stage to perform the song they created with Nipsey called “Higher.” As Nipsey’s family and longtime partner Lauren London looked on singing along to the words, Nipsey’s voice and image filled the theater via the music video for “Higher.” Nipsey has a spine-tingling lyrics in his verses, including this one: “Lookin' back at my life make my heart race/Dance with the devil and test our faith/I was thinkin' chess moves but it was God's grace.”
Beyonce not only puts out surprise albums, she also does surprise performances! At the 2016 BET Awards, King Bey shocked fans by opening the show with rapper Kendrick Lamar. The powerful “Freedom” performance had smoke, dancers, fire and there was even a little walking on water. Now THAT’S how you open a show. Who knows what surprises are in store for the 2020 BET Awards?
(Photo by: JEAN-BAPTISTE LACROIX/AFP via Getty Images)