From 6lack and Cozz, to Rapsody and Eminem, this is our ranking of the 2017 BET Hip-Hop Awards cyphers.
Last night, the 2017 BET Hip-Hop Awards offered rap fans around the world another installment of their yearly cypher series. Hosted by DJ Khaled at the Fillmore Miami Beach Jackie Gleason Theater, this year’s awards featured performances by a collection of artists that exist in different levels of fame. For one night, they were all brought together to showcase their talent on one of the biggest stages in the world. Although the performances were shot at different times, and in different locations, every cypher had a singular message. “Fuck Donald Trump.” Insults, inquiries, and endless knowledge were dropped by several of the artists, while some even took a knee or raised the fist of Black power. The political climate of the world has never made such a dramatic impact on the cyphers, and it was interesting to watch poets speak politics.
Of course, some cyphers were better than others. Some were less political, some more so. Some lacked flow, some relied solely on flow. It was apparent right away which artists were spitting pre-written verses, which is the norm, and which artists were actually freestyling. Some rhymes were polished and perfected, while others just didn’t hit the mark.
Before this ranking begins, let’s be real. Eminem is a rap god. When his cypher was announced, the internet nearly exploded. Everyone knows Marshall Mathers is a wordsmith that can rain lyrical onslaught down upon any victim he chooses. Fortunately for us, his victim was Donald Trump. For over four minutes Eminem destroys Trump, while touching on the several blemishes on his presidential resume. The Slim Shady’s previous BET cypher featuring his Shady Records cohorts, and TDE’s absolutely mind-blowing cypher where Kendrick dissed Drake, are always heralded as fan-favorites, and while Eminem didn't have his a crew around him this time around (although Shady Records -- featuring newly-signed Boogie -- have teamed up for a cypher release post-BET Hip Hop Awards, as it were, a "digital cypher"), he's left a similar impression on fans.
It is unfair to rank Marshall alongside anyone else, but we did it anyway. It is obvious he’s got the number one spot (sorry to spoil the surprise), but which group was the closest to reaching Em’s status? Which new talent made a name for themselves, and who has already been forgotten?
We're looking at the group as a whole -- which group (or in Eminem's case, person) ultimately left the largest impression on our collective minds, and how they managed to do that -- in one instance, it could be through lyrical onslaught, and in another, with a memorable flow or personality -- when all these elements collide within a group, you've got magic. This is our ranking of the 2017 BET Hip-Hop Awards cyphers.
Stay tuned as we will also be looking at the best individual verses as well.