Snoop Dogg received the “I Am Hip Hop” award at the 11th annual BET Hip-Hop Awards in Atlanta on Saturday.
Kendrick Lamar introduced Snoop Dogg in front of a packed crowd at the Cobb Energy Performing Centre. Lamar said Snoop Dogg “paved a way into many hearts” with his authentic rap flow and infectious persona.
When Snoop Dogg accepted his award, he said he felt misunderstood at the beginning of his career and made feel-good music for listeners.
Lamar took home Lyricist of the Year. After claiming his award, Lamar continued to praise Snoop Dogg. The rapper also told the crowd music is one of the best ways to bring people together, and thanked BET for putting together the show.
Fat Joe and Remy Ma won Track of the Year award for their song “All the Way Up.” The Hustler of the Year honor went to DJ Khaled, and Best New Hip-Hop Artist was earned by Chance the Rapper, who was not in attendance.
Desiigner closed out the show with “Tiimmy Turner.”
T.I. and several others offered passionate statements against police brutality of African-Americans.
Wearing all black, T.I. performed his politically charged song “We Will Not” as a stage full of people sporting the same dark attire held up “Black Lives Matter” signs. The rapper said he was motivated to write the song after hearing about a series of deaths of unarmed black people who were shot by police including Sandra Bland and Philando Castile.
Big K.R.I.T. and Lecrae, a Christian rapper, expressed their thoughts on the matter through their own poems, and radio host Sway Calloway stood alongside Khaled and said, “We’re at war.” Actor Shameik Moore encouraged people to cast their vote.
T.I. said at the end of his performance that blacks should unite, adding, “They can’t kill us all.”
Gucci Mane, recently released from prison, was the first to hit the stage at the show. He performed four songs, kicking his set off with “First Day Out” and “First Day Out Tha Feds.” The rapper was released in late May from a Federal Correctional Institution in Terre Haute, Indiana.
He served a three-year sentence after pleading guilty to aggravated assault for attacking a fan at an Atlanta nightclub. That sentence ran concurrently with a 39-month federal sentence he was given in 2014 for possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.
First-time host DJ Khaled followed with “Holy Key” with soul singer Betty Wright and a choir dressed in gold.
For the third straight year, Drake topped the nominees with 14 nominations.
The show will air Oct. 4 on BET.