It's OK to admit it. They main reason you were excited about the 2013 BET Hip Hop Awards was the cyphers. After hearing a few incendiary lines from Kendrick Lamar's cypher verse you knew you'd sit through the show eagerly awaiting his apparent shots at Drake and of course K-Dot did not disappoint.
But It's also cool to admit that the cyphers leading up to the TDE cypher were pretty good too. We got bars from certified spitters like Slaughterhouse, Action Bronson, and the A$AP Mob. Even Queen Bee Lil Kim made an appearance.
Although every cypher had its highs and lows, even the most unanticipated ones had some gold bars to liven up the night. Here's our list of the best verses of the evening.
Perhaps the craziest part of Kendrick Lamar's performance was how the Drake reference wasn't even the best line. The BET Hip-Hop Awards' most anticipated verse is also its longest. It doesn't meander at all either. Lamar showcases chest-bumping bravado, aggression and an amazing display of technical prowess. Highlights include twisting a Danny Brown punchline into what can be perceived as a Papoose diss ("Hold up, wait a minute / you career ain't s--- until you had some Kendrick in it") and what he will do to your favorite rapper. Warning: King Kendrick isn't for the kids.
Joe Budden is unquestionably an extremely reliable clean-up batter, and that fact isn't in doubt for a second has he runs through his verse. He isn't that interested in technicality, as much as making his points clear and concise. And hilarious at times. Is that a yea or nay to having Wale do a spoken word at your funeral?
Action Bronson perhaps delivered one of the best mixtures of tough guy bravado and absurdity in this performance. The Queens rapper snatches women because they're on the menu like lamb and leaves his foes laid out on a handball court. He'll also come out of a jeep shooting, but please don't forget to notice his curly hair.
For whatever reason, two of Jay Rock's greatest verses of his career involves some mention of Jordans. There's his 'Money Trees' guest verse and his "freestyle" right here. In the context of this cypher, Jay Rock plays the gritty realist to Kendrick's unearthly ambitions. Outside of the cypher, Jay Rock's verse is notable because of how visceral the street perspective is.
A$AP Rocky makes the top 10 with these lines: "This is Huey Newton with the uzi shootin’ / The trill Martin Luther finna to spark the Ruger / Malcolm X’s muslim army marching to ya block/ Bring the choppa till your preacher’s screaming hallelujah!" This is how bravado is done.
Royce da 5’9″'s verse is something that can only be categorized as grown man's rap. He doesn't sound like he's putting in that much effort into his verse as he shouts out Detroit, mixes in a bit of horrorcore with some absurdity. Example: Having a baby with Hallie Berry and getting Drake to adopt it. It's not as hilarious as "Hi, Rihanna" but it's still funny
Recent Aftermath signee Jon Connor had to show he was worthy of joining the label that brought us Eminem, 50 Cent and Kendrick Lamar and he did just that. There's an excellent combination of technicality and punchlines. Isn't a Maury line always welcome?
It's not just how Rittz switches up his flow how you on point some of his punchlines are. There's a certain nonchalance to many of them. Check out how he eases out of rapid fire flow to give Charlie Sheen a shoutout and diss Paula Deen.
Even though this freestyle didn't air, Problem took his time to make more of a statement verse. This isn't one of those "I can rap and I'm mad at you" type of statement verses, though. Problem exudes confidence in his laid back flow as he slings lines like, "Cuz I'm a madman / Just f--- up n----s like the Klan man / Leave 'em sleep like the sandman.
Kevin Hart is far from the most technical rapper of the cyphers. Hell, he's not even a rapper. He's Kevin Hart. But is it entertaining? Definitely. There's something brilliant in how Hart satirizes hip-hop narratives by turning from emotional to putting back on his faux-hard persona. A definite step up from Boris Kodjoe deciding to rap in German. What was he even saying?