There's no one more fitting for this '90s celebration.
Hip-hop has always been bigger than the music on the radio, and VH1’s annual Hip-Hop Honors is taking steps toward recognizing that. In this year’s iteration, the awards show is honoring innovators who helped bring the culture to a wider audience in the 1990s.
VH1 couldn’t have picked a more apt honoree to announce first. The bacchanal for legends of hip-hop will honor Martin Lawrence at this year’s gala-cum-block-party.
Lawrence brought the spirit of hip-hop to countless homes where it otherwise wouldn’t have been via his sitcom Martin. His wildly successful movies like Bad Boys, Blue Streak and Big Momma’s House reached even further outside of hip-hop’s bubble to bring people in. He was also the most visible nexus point between the worlds of hip-hop and comedy as he hosted Def Comedy Jam.
The show has also announced that Regina Hall, from the Scary Movie franchise and the upcoming film adaptation of The Hate U Give, will host. In addition to that, Missy Elliott, a former honoree, will kick off the “‘90s Game Changer” event with a tribute to the decade.
“Missy Elliott is the very definition of a ’90s game changer. Rising to worldwide fame in the ’90s, Elliott has achieved and maintained success over three decades,” the channel said in the announcement of Elliott’s act. “She’s a critically acclaimed, five time Grammy Award-winning producer/songwriter/singer/rapper and she has sold over 30 million albums worldwide. Not to mention the fact that all six of Elliott’s studio albums have been RIAA platinum certified or better, making her the only female rapper to have achieved this. Say it with me one more time: Game. Changer.”
The show goes down at 9 PM EST on September 18.
The show began back in 2005 and honored the obvious choices for the first iteration of a hip-hop honors show. Pioneer DJ Kool Herc, breakthrough commercial act Run-DMC and the chartbusters in The Sugarhill Gang all were given a second to shine. In addition, the show took time to call out Public Enemy and KRS-One.
Later versions of the show moved forward in time to pay homage to acts like Ice Cube, LL Cool J and the Wu-Tang Clan. The show also frequently honored movements, movies and other cultural artifacts that were related to the genre. The first show paid tribute to graffiti and later shows honored New Jack Swing and Boyz In Tha Hood.
Some of the shows — like this year’s model — have centered on a theme. One year was an out-and-out celebration of Def Jam Recordings and last year’s party focused on women in rap with awards for Salt N Pepa, Lil Kim, Queen Latifah and this year’s show opener, Missy Elliott.
What do you think about the show so far? Will you be watching? Do you like the decision to expand beyond the music to honor people who were on the fringes? Can you think of a better honoree than Martin Lawrence, if they’re going this route? How do you feel about Regina Hall hosting? Are you excited for Missy Elliott’s performance to kick off the show? Let us know in the comments and don’t forget to SHARE this article.