Busta Rhymes sheds tears during BET Awards speech

Culture’s biggest night included the ultimate honor for Busta Rhymes.

The Brooklyn-born rapper, 51, has been honored with a lifetime achievement award – presented by Marlon Wayans and Swizz Beatz.

During his acceptance speech at the awards show on Sunday night in Los Angeles, Busta Rhymes became emotional and wiped tears from his eyes as he reflected on his career and his hopes for the future of hip hop.

“I’m going to wear it on my sleeve. I want to cry,” he admitted at the start of his speech.

The rapper told stories about his early days as a solo artist after leaving Leaders of the New School – his Long Island hip hop crew of Charlie Brown, Cut Monitor Milo and Dinco D. He went on to note that “a lot of greatness of our people and our culture is by default, because it is by magic that we have.

Related: BET Awards 2023: Full list of winners

He expressed his gratitude to the audience by sharing, “I’m just grateful that the blessing given to me and this gift given to me and this fire that continues to burn like a passion in my soul, which allows me to step into any situation – from performing to collaborating with anyone – and making sure I’m far from the weakest link.

The rapper also had a message for the next generation of hip-hop artists, encouraging his peers to “stop this petty little jamming that we’re doing.”

“You mess up the bag. You waste the energy,” he said. “I don’t like it when I talk to these guys who run these streaming platforms and they go, ‘You know, we’re turning off the consumer because there’s so little of this and so little of that going on with you rappers.’ We’re gonna stop this, we’re gonna love each other and we’re gonna get that money.

Busta Rhymes’ candid speech was preceded by a short video montage that highlighted his many accomplishments throughout his career – with stars like Janet Jackson, Diddy, Pharrell Williams and others commenting on his lasting legacy.

The rapper also took part in his own tribute performance, with artists Cutty Ranks, Dexta Daps, MOP, Rah Digga, Scar Lip, Spice, Super Cat and Swizz Beatz joining him on stage. Together, they delivered a medley of his greatest hits, including career highlights with his verses on MOP’s “Ante Up” and A Tribe Called Quest’s “Scenario” remixes, as well as his signature tracks like ” Break Ya Neck”, “Give It To Me”, “New York Sh-t”, “Touch It”, and “Put Your Hands Where My Eyes Could See”.

The performance also featured a special appearance from Coi Leray, who sang his remix of “Players” which samples one of his songs. Busta Rhymes ended the set with a performance of “Beach Ball”, his latest collaboration with BIA.

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