Receiving credit where it’s very much due, Busta Rhymes was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2023 BET Awards over the weekend.
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To present the Hip-Hop icon with the honor, first actor Marlon Wayans took to the stage to speak about Busta’s many great accomplishments and contributions. Next, a compilation reel played featuring kind words and memories from many of Busta’s friends and peers, including Missy Elliott, Diddy, Mariah Carey, Pharrell Williams, Public Enemy‘s Chuck D, and more.
Then, after Swizz Beatz said a few words, Busta was brought up on stage to accept his Lifetime Achievement Award, which he did with a lengthy and emotional speech that had us saying, “pass the Courvoisier tissues — please.”
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“All right. So, I’m going to wear it on my sleeve. I do want to cry,” Rhymes shared, as the crowd cheered him on, and he dabbed at his eyes with a towel. “I’m going to say, I am grateful that the blessing that has been bestowed upon me and this gift that I have been given and this fire that continues to burn as a passion in my soul, that allows me to get into any situation — from the stage to collabing with whoever — and making sure that I am far from the weak link.”
“Because I enjoy walking away from a situation saying, ‘I bust a**!’ It’s just me trying to continue to advance the culture and continue to contribute in a significant way,” Busta continued. “I see so many people in here that I have known and grown with for a long time, you’re watching me grow and I love y’all and I know y’all love me.”
Busta went on to recall how he began his career as a member of Leaders of The New School, shared how he was scared to start his journey as a solo artist after the group broke up, and got emotional when mentioning his kids.
“My oldest child was a 3-year-old in the ‘Woo-Hah!!’ video back in ’96. He’s 30. He’s right here,” the rapid-fire rapper said while pointing out how five of his six kids were at the awards show.
Also speaking on how he got to work with other artists, Busta recalled how he’d sneak into studios after asking receptionists who was coming in to record.
“I would act like I was working in those studio rooms the night before and I forgot something in there. ‘Y’all, I left my rhyme book. I gotta get something. I gotta look for something. Good to see y’all. Can I come through?’”
And when curious minds inquired what he was doing, Busta noted, “I said, ‘Let me go in the booth and do it. I ain’t telling you my rhyme until you let me in the booth,’ and I go in the booth and I spit.”
Rhymes said the artists would want his raps, so he’d bill them, and as a result he began a new era in rap. “I ain’t got to split it up with nobody in the group. I liked that. Long story short, by default, I pioneered the feature,” he said.
After expressing appreciation for his career thus far, and how grateful he is for blessing that has been bestowed upon him, Busta emotionally thanked his friends that were standing with him on stage.
Then after speaking out about disagreements in the rap world, noting it was beyond time to stop any “little petty beefs,” he shouted out a few emerging, as well as some favorite artists — like Ice Spice, Coi Leray, Kendrick Lamar, J. Cole, Wu-Tang Clan, and Nas. Busta’s speech was promptly followed up with a performance that got everyone up on their feet.
Check out Busta Rhymes’ full 2023 BET Awards speech above, as well as a clip from his energy-filled performance.
Stay tuned as Audacy continues to celebrate the birth and trailblazing influence of Hip-Hop. Check out audacy.com/hiphopmade all through 2023 for more, and listen to your favorite music on Audacy’s Hip Hop Made suite of stations.