Busta Rhymes is set to receive the lifetime achievement award at the 2023 BET Awards on Sunday, June 25. Bia, Coi Leray, Cutty Ranks, Dexta Daps, M.O.P., Rah Digga, ScarLip, Spice, Supercat, Swizz Beatz and more will take the stage to celebrate the rapper and his 30-plus year musical legacy.
The show, which calls itself “culture’s biggest night,” will air on BET from the Microsoft Theatre in Los Angeles. The show airs live on the East Coast at 8 p.m., and on tape delay on the West Coast at 8 p.m. PT.
This is the third year in a row that the lifetime achievement award has gone to a rapper. Queen Latifah, who started out as a rapper before diversifying into many areas of entertainment, was the honoree two years ago. Sean Combs was the honoree last year. Previous recipients were artists in mainstream R&B, from Whitney Houston, the first recipient in 2001, to Mary J. Blige, the 2019 honoree.
“Busta Rhymes is a multifaceted, award-winning artist who has mesmerized audiences for decades with his original hip-hop sound and one-of-a-kind visuals,” Scott Mills, CEO of BET, said in a statement. “He continues to leave an indelible mark on the culture that we hold dear, and it is with great pride that we present this year’s lifetime achievement award to a visionary, a master of rhyme and a true pioneer.”
Busta Rhymes, 51, has received six awards at the BET Hip-Hop Awards, but he has gone 0-12 at the Grammys.
The rapper topped the Billboard 200 in 2006 with The Big Bang. He has climbed as high as No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100 twice, with “What’s It Gonna Be?!,” a 1999 collab with Janet Jackson; and “I Know What You Want,” a 2003 collab with Mariah Carey that featured The Flipmode Squad.
In addition to his musical achievements, Busta Rhymes, who was born Trevor Smith Jr., has acted in several movies, including Higher Learning (1995), Shaft (2000) and Halloween: Resurrection (2002).
This year’s BET Awards will pay tribute to the 50th anniversary of hip-hop. Dem Franchize Boyz, D-Nice, Erick Sermon, Fabolous, Jeezy, Redman, Styles P and YG were added to the performance lineup for this segment, joining the previously announced 69 Boyz, Big Daddy Kane, Chief Keef, DJ Unk, E-40, Fast Life Yungstaz & Easton (F.L.Y.), Fat Joe, Ja Rule, Kid ‘N Play, MC Lyte, Percy “Master P” Miller, Remy Ma, Soulja Boy, The Sugarhill Gang, Trick Daddy, Trina, Tyga, Uncle Luke, Warren G, Ying Yang Twins and Yo-Yo.
Apart from that anniversary salute, 2023 BET Awards nominees Ice Spice and Latto, and hip-hop artist Mad Lion are set to perform live on the show, joining the previously announced Coco Jones, Doechii, GloRilla and Lil Uzi Vert.
Kaliii and 2023 BET Awards nominee Lola Brooke will perform on the BET Amplified stage.
The BET Awards has been the No. 1 cable award show among all adults 18-49 for the last two years, and is the No. 1 cable award show among Black adults 18-49 for the 21st consecutive year (CY02-CY22).
Voting for BET Awards 2023 Viewer’s Choice Award, which began on June 8, ends June 25 at 6:30 p.m. PT/ 9:30 p.m. ET. Cast your vote at BET.com.
Connie Orlando, EVP, specials, music programming & music strategy, will oversee and executive produce the annual show, with Jamal Noisette, VP, specials, music programming & music strategy to co-executive produce for BET. Jesse Collins Entertainment is the production company for the show, with Jesse Collins, Dionne Harmon, and Jeannae Rouzan-Clay also serving as executive producers.