Before the 2013 BET Hip Hop Awards aired, or were even recorded weeks before broadcast, its outcome wasn’t a matter of whether Kendrick Lamar or Drake would win awards. Instead, it was a matter of how many and, perhaps more importantly, who would win more? Also, after Lamar’s infamous “Control” verse— calling out Drake and Lamar’s other various contemporaries– how would they treat each other at the show?
It turns out Tuesday night (October 16), Lamar edged out Drake. The L.A. rapper scored five including Lyricist of the Year and Album of the Year for good kid, m.A.A.d. city; Drake scored four including Best Hip-Hop Video for “Started from the Bottom”— but the two never came face-to-face to show respect or otherwise. Drake was absent from the proceedings.
And where Drake’s name rang out in his absence from the show, Lamar’s was everywhere, even on the Hip Hop Awards’ cyphers, a giant tag team of diverse and usually up-and-coming rappers spitting run-on verses to camera. It was arguably Lamar’s best and most confident screed since “Control.”