Dear BET Hip Hop Awards,

I’d just like to begin by stating that I am a fan of your broadcast. Honestly, the broadcast is one of the highlights of my award watching year, not only because I believe the broadcast is well done but the spirit of recognizing hip hop in a positive light is a noble effort and meaningful for hip hop fans like myself.

While this year’s award show was marred by what we didn’t see on camera, backstage fights reminiscent to the historic Source Awards (RIP). I was pleased that last night’s broadcast did not highlight that aspect of hip hop culture. Instead the tribute to Chris Lighty and the honoring of the God MC Rakim were genuine highlights of the night.

I write this letter to you not out of criticism but out of concern. I believe if a change is not made to a key element of your broadcast, the broadcast as we know it will end. The change that -I know- needs to be made is regarding the most talked about and re-watched segment of your broadcast: The BET Hip Hip Award Cyphers. BET’s inclusion of hip hop cyphers in the hip hop awards is by far the single best decision the network has made since the cancellation of BET Uncut. Cyphers are watched and re-watched on the internet over and over again. It is the most anticipated and talked about part of the show and a breath of fresh air for true hip hop fans.

Since 2006, BET’s hip hop cyphers has broken new stars: Lupe Fiasco, Ace Hood, Big K.R.I.T, Corey Gunz, Nicki Minaj, etc, and had some of hip hop’s biggest stars and crews rock that Sprite logo: Kanye West, Common, Black Thought, Mos Def, Busta, Rozy, the list goes for a while. BET’s cyphers even made one of the games megastars even bigger – everyone already knew that Slim Shady could rip the mic but his BET cypher verses in 2009 and last year crowned him the hip hop cypher king.

Last night’s award cyphers were very impressive: Grand Hustle did their thing – say what you will but everyone was watching Iggy and she held her own. The RZA led cypher had true young guns, the crowd cheered of ASAP but Gambino and Joey B are also brave new voices in the game.  As a fan, I was a little disappointed in the skills of the Ruff Ryder cypher but by no means is that the networks fault, the concept was genius. The Snoop led LA cypher with E-40, Kendrick Lamar, DJ Quick, Kurput, and Snoop was the best cypher of the night – classic material.

With that, BET we have a problem and it’s called the future. I see the problem developing that you need to address immediately before it’s too late. My concern is real and it has already ruined another very secrete broadcast: The NBA Slam Dunk Competition. The trend that star players are too cool to participate will kill the award show. Let me explain, there was a time when the NBA thought the Slam Dunk Competition would be their staple of All Star Weekend forever. Air Jordan, the human highlight film Dominique Wilkins, flip a couple of years to a young gunna in 97′ by the name of Kobe, and Vinsanity in 2000. The NBA has elite athletes come in to their league every year and with that the league thought that their new stars would carry the torch — well they were wrong. It’s true that Blake Griffith (2011 winner) is a star but I would argue that Blake and Dwight Howard are the only true stars that have participated in the dunk competition since around 2000. Last year’s winner Jeremy Evens I’d never even heard of. Even worse, Lebron James, Kevin Durant, Melo, D. Rose, D-Wade, the league’s best players choose to sit out and watch from the sideline in silly glasses with no frames (I’m talking to you D-Wade).

BET, I don’t want this to happen you. So hear is the fix (this would also work for the NBA but it may be too late for them), tell your sponsor Sprite to pony up and offer cash to the cliques that compete and more cash to the most watch cypher on that week. You want to see an award show with cyphers from: YM/CMB, MMG, Slaughterhouse, and G.O.O.D Music doing their best rhymes? In order to get the best of the best, BET (and Sprite) need to put their money where the lyrics are and offer cash for winners.

Now this may sound extreme to you right now but the writing is on the wall. Your show is in trouble and competitive cyphers could change the game for at least  5 years or so. Again, I’m sending you this note as s friend and a fan, a change needs to be made before it’s too late.

All the best,

Your friend Cheats (

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