Lil Wayne was named lyricist of the year and Russell Simmons was honored as a hip-hop icon at this year’s BET Hip-Hop Awards taped on Saturday in Atlanta.
The New Orleans rapper, who was nominated for 12 awards, was also named MVP of the Year and the Alltel Wireless People’s Champ at the ceremony, which was hosted by T-Pain instead of scheduled host, comedian Katt Williams.
The show featured a hip-hop matriarch medley that included MC Lyte, Yo-Yo, Salt-n-Pepa. DJ Khaled, Young Jeezy, Ludacris, Busta Rhymes, Big Boi, Lil Wayne, Fat Joe, Birdman and Rick Ross took home the award for Best Hip-Hop Collaboration for “I’m So Hood (The Remix).”
T.I. also made this year’s show. The Atlanta rapper was scheduled to headline last year’s ceremony, but was arrested hours before the event on federal weapons charges after he was caught trying to purchase semi-automatic guns and silencers. T.I. pleaded guilty earlier this year and is scheduled to be sentenced in March.
Atlanta factored heavily into the night’s festivities, with a performance by Young Jeezy, Soulja Boy and Bow Wow. Shawty Lo was named MySpace Music Rookie of the Year.
LL Cool J presented Simmons with the “I Am Hip-Hop” Icon award, given to an individual who has made notable contributions of outstanding significance to the hip-hop community. Simmons was recognized as a philanthropic inspiration to other artists.
Atlanta rapper Shawty Lo was named MySpace Music Rookie of the Year.
The awards show will air on Oct. 23.