Kendrick Lamar was the big winner at the 2023 BET Hip Hop Awards, winning in four categories – hip hop artist of the year, best live performer, lyricist of the year and, with his creative partner Dave Free, video director of the year.
Lamar made history with all four of these wins. He is the first artist to win hip hop artist of the year three times. He won best live performer for the fourth time, tying Kanye West and Jay-Z for the most wins in the category. He won lyricist of the year for the ninth time, extending his lead for the most wins in the category. Lamar and Free won best video director of the year for the second year in a row, becoming the first directors to win back-to-back awards in that category since Hype Williams won four years running from 2009-12.
The BET Hip Hop Awards were taped last week at the Cobb Energy Center in Atlanta and aired on BET on Tuesday (Oct. 10). There will be an encore airing Tuesday at midnight ET on BET.
Lamar wasn’t the only big winner at the show. Two successful collaborations, Drake & 21 Savage and Lil Durk featuring J. Cole, each won two awards, as did Lil Uzi Vert and Metro Boomin.
Her Loss by Drake & 21 Savage, which topped the Billboard 200 in November 2022, won hip hop album of the year. It’s the third collaboration to win in that category, following Jay-Z & Kanye West’s Watch the Throne (2012) and Beyoncé & Jay-Z’s Everything Is Love (2018). Drake & 21 Savage also won best duo or group.
Lil Uzi Vert’s “Just Wanna Rock,” which reached No. 10 on the Hot 100, won song of the year, beating a pair of songs that were notably bigger crossover hits – “All My Life” by Lil Durk featuring J. Cole and “Rich Flex” by Drake & 21 Savage, both of which reached No. 2. “Just Wanna Rock” also won best hip hop video.
But “All My Life” won two other awards — best collaboration and impact track, which is presented to a “song that moves our culture forward with social commentary, political discourse or other thought-provoking lyrics.” This was J. Cole’s record fourth win for impact track. He previously won for “Crooked Smile” featuring TLC, “Love Yours” and Middle Child.”
Metro Boomin became the first producer to win producer of the year three times. He previously won in 2015 and 2017. Kanye West, DJ Mustard and Hit-Boy have each won twice in the category.
Ice Spice won best breakthrough hip hop artist. GloRilla won in the category last year. This marks the first time that women have won back-to-back awards in this category.
Ice Spice is expected to receive a Grammy nomination for best new artist when the nominations for the 66th annual Grammy Awards are announced on Nov. 10. Four former winners of the BET breakthrough award (it has gone by various names over the years) have received Grammy nods for best new artist – Drake, Nicki Minaj, Iggy Azalea and Chance the Rapper (who went on to win the Grammy).