Yes, the royal couple of hip-hop and R&B were at last night’s BET Awards, front and center. Beyonce and Jay-Z were the second and third most nominated artists (respectively) of the night, only behind their play brother Kanye West. Although the Carters didn’t perform it was a great night for both hip-hop and R&B. Usher, Chris Brown, Melanie Fiona, Maybach Music Group crew, Nicki Minaj and countless others brought their A game. As hard as it was to choose only three, here are our top three performances from BET Awards 2012.
3. G.O.O.D. Music swerved on everybody.
Nothing gets a crowd hype like dropping the beat to one of the hottest songs of the summer. Big Sean emerges on top of a neon lit Lamborghini to the beat of “Mercy.” Pusha T delivers his verse followed by 2 Chainz. The crowd explodes when 2 Chainz hits the stage. It’s safe to say 2 Chainz is the latest rap phenomenon. Being Kanye he skips his “Mercy” verse and appears as the beat changes to “Way Too Cold.” When he finishes his first verse, he raps an acapella freestyle before dropping the mic. It doesn’t get much better than that for an opener.
2. D’Angelo is back like he never left.
Bonnaroo was blessed with D’Angelo’s first performance in 12 years last month. But it was BET that snagged his first TV performance in over a decade. On Twitter the ladies went wild. His set was probably the second most anticipated moment of the night, only after Whitney Houston’s tribute. Seeing him may have been part of the excitement, but hearing him sing again was what everyone was there for. Beyonce and Solange stood for his entire set. He started off with his classic hit “Untitled (How Does It Feel)” in his soulful voice before hopping into a piano solo and the funk fused “Sugar Daddy.” D’Angelo has a voice that is as smooth as molasses. He is proof that talent and good music is timeless. He performed like he’s back, indefinitely, and had never really left.
1. If there is a such thing as perfection it was BET’s Whitney Houston tribute.
There was a lot riding on the tribute for the legendary Whitney Houston. The Grammys didn’t have time to put together a full on tribute, but J. Hud did Houston justice, as did Jordin Sparks at the Billboard Music Awards. BET Awards was the first to honor her in the way an incomparable star such as Whitney deserved. And they hit the ball out of the park. Mariah Carey opened the tribute with a touching story about her dear friend Whitney. Monica brought church to BET with a riveting performance of “I Love the Lord.” Like many R&B singers, and like Whitney, Monica started singing in the church. Monica has always had powerful vocals, but church music is her thing. This is where she shined. Brandy performed “I’m Your Baby Tonight” and “I Wanna Dance With Somebody.” She slayed in both songs. Imagine having to sing a tribute to your deceased mentor and idol. Well, Brandy did it like only she could. Whitney’s brother Gary sang before giving the spotlight to his mother, Cissy Houston, who honored her daughter in “Bridge Over Troubled Waters.” The tears in the audience began to roll when Ms. Cissy Houston sang. To close out the tribute Chaka Khan turned the performance out with “I’m Every Woman” to which she received a standing ovation. If a greatest tributes list was ever created, this would have to top the list at number one. It was just that good. Actually, it was that great.
[Photo: Getty Images]