Coming off a six-year hiatus, VH1’s Hip-Hop Honors returned last night with appearances by all your favourite female MCs. The theme was “All Hail the Queens,” to honour all the contributions women have brought to the genre.
Since 2004, VH1’s Hip-Hop Honors was created to pay tribute to the movers and shakers in hip-hop music, but until now, males have dominated the show. This year’s event, hosted by Eve, honoured Missy Elliott, Salt-N-Pepa, Lil’ Kim and Queen Latifah for their innovation in the music industry.
With slayed tribute performances, a message from Michelle Obama and a surprise appearance, this show came back with all the bells and whistles. Though the show wasn’t being broadcast in Canadaland, we’re still able to join the hype with these amazing highlights below.
Eve, Nelly Furtado, Trina, Remy Ma and Lil’ Mo opened the show with a medley of Elliot’s most memorable hits. All the way from the “Hot Boyz” to Elliott’s latest banger “WTF,” the ladies gave a performance that should be in the hip-hop history books.
Puff Daddy and Lil’ Kim’s relationship goes all the way back to when Bad Boy Records just began. Kim thought he wasn’t going to be at the awards because of a previous engagement. Lil’ did she know, the engagement was paying tribute to her. Discussing her fearlessness, fashion innovation and glamour, Puff Daddy let us all see his good boy side before singing happy birthday to hip-hop’s Queen Bee.
Lil Mama, Teyana Taylor, Dej Loaf, French Montana and The Lox took the stage to honour the music and fashion icon as well. The ladies in the performance donned iconic multi-coloured wigs and racy clothing that Lil’ Kim has always been known for.
America’s First Lady made an appearance on the show via video to honour friends and icons Missy Elliott and Queen Latifah. Obama touched on the ladies’ contributions to music and activism—most notably their work for the Let Girls Learn initiative, which works to give girls who can’t go to school a proper education.
Only Queen Latifah can perform in her own tribute and have no one second guess it. From singing Oscar-nominated “When You’re Good to Mama” from 2002’s Chicago to rapping “Come Into My House” from her 1986 debut album, All Hail the Queen, Latifah proved to the world why she deserved to be honoured last night.
It wouldn’t be a celebration of women in hip hop without a reference to Salt-N-Pepa in some way. Performing their popular songs “Shoop,” “Whatta Man” and everyone’s favourite, “Push It,” Eve, Ashanti, Keke Palmer and Deezy got us all breaking out our old school music. Who knew Ashanti could spit fire like that?
Touching on the increase of race issues and police brutality, honourees Queen Latifah and Lil’ Kim used their acceptance speeches to speak up about the issues currently plaguing America.
After a night full of references to the Black Lives Matter movement, it was only fitting that the founders of the group, Alicia Garza and Darnell Moore, introduced the last performance.
Queen Latifah brought all the hip-hop queens onstage for a performance for her girl power anthem, “U.N.I.T.Y.” Calling them all out by name, Yo-Yo, Monie Love, Da Brat, Ms Jade, MC Lyte, Nikki D, MC Sha Rock, Sweet Tee, The Lady of Rage, Suga T, Rah Digga, Mia X, Heather B, Eve Missy Elliott, Salt-N-Pepa, DJ Spinderella and Lil’ Kim joined the rapper on stage to close the show.