Rapper Cordae opened the 2020 BET Hip Hop Awards Tuesday night with a powerful freestyle about the state of Black America while encouraging viewers at home to vote.
The pre-recorded event -- which was hosted by popular comedian troupe, the 85 South Show, composed of DC Young Fly, Karlous Miller and Chico Bean -- featured a living room stage similar to the one the trio uses for their podcast of the same name.
T. I. was the first to join the 85 South crew on the couch, where he described his new album "The L.I.B.R.A." as a "philosophical presentation."
R&B singer Monica also joined the couch to present the award for Best New Hip Hop Artist, which went to Pop Smoke. The late Brooklyn rapper was honored by Quavo with a tribute performance of their joint collaborations, "Shake the Room" and "Aim for the Moon."
Megan Thee Stallion was honored with the Hustler of the Year award, the Hip Hop Artist of the Year and the Best Collaboration award for her "Savage (Remix)" with Beyonce.
— BET (@BET) October 28, 2020
Another highlight: Snoop Dogg's introduction of the I Am Hip Hop Award, which went to Percy "Master P" Miller, who was honored for his numerous contributions to music and hip-hop culture.
Lil Baby and 42 Dugg gave the first performance of the evening with their latest collaboration, "We Paid." The City Girls followed up with a fierce, jungle-themed performance of their "City on Lock" singles, "Kitty Talk" and "Jobs."
For the first cypher -- or freestyle session -- Chicago rapper Polo G, Chika, Jack Harlow, Flawless from Netflix's "Rhythm + Flow," and Rapsody, who also won Lyricist of the Year, joined forces. Dancehall legend Beenie Man introduced the award show’s first-ever reggae cypher, featuring Skip Marley, Bounty Killa, and Jamaican artists Koffee and Shenseea.
And for the ladies of R&B cypher, Brandy, H.E.R., Teyana Taylor and Erykah Badu freestyled their wide range of vocals over an instrumental of Brandy's "I Wanna Be Down."
Wearing a shirt with the faces with Breonna Taylor and George Floyd, rising Houston rapper Tobe Nwigwe delivered a high-level performance of "Try Jesus" and "Eat."
Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris also made an appearance to express the need for historically Black college and universities "to help us build the shared future we all deserve."
— #HipHopAwards (@HipHopAwards) October 28, 2020
"I know there is nowhere like an HBCU campus to fully appreciate the power, the dignity and the diversity of the voices in our country," she said. "It's where so many of us go to strengthen our voices, to pursue our dreams and explore our roles in the fight for justice."