Eminem Saves the BET Awards

The BET Awards — taped in Atlanta a few weeks back and televised last night — have it rough. All the really big hip-hop dudes save their energy, and usually their physical presence, for the VMAs and Grammys, meaning this show has to figure out ways to build whole segments around Rick Ross’s underlings. The latest telecast technically had its share of built-in drama, in the form of two recently imprisoned MCs: both T.I., with Young Jeezy, and DMX, with Swizz Beats, showed up. Of course, a good chunk of the excitement there was muted by the fact that everyone already knew they were going to show up (see: taped a few weeks back) and that now-possibly-insane DMX didn’t eat a live pigeon on stage or anything. But, as Grantland has previously pointed out, BET does have one secret weapon: their bare-boned rap cyphers, which are routinely as engaging as anything else the awards circuit pumps out, if not quite as bedazzled or cleavage-y. Last night saw turns from stalwart indie bros Kendrick Lamar and Big K.R.I.T., plus Ludacris pronouncing “Zach Galifianakis” really oddly, but all thunder was stolen by a locked-in Eminem. After giving his Shady Records signees Slaughterhouse and Yelawolf (“White dog! Get ‘em,” “Thank you cracker”) some shine, Em goes in about vaguely ominous squeegees and the things Casey Anthony uses shoeboxes for. Why doesn’t he rap like this on his records anymore? Good question!

Filed Under: Eminem

Amos Barshad has written for New York Magazine, Spin, GQ, XXL, and the Arkansas Times. He is a staff writer for Grantland.

Archive @ AmosBarshad