Busta Rhymes’ 2023 BET Awards’ Lifetime Achievement Performance Was As Wild As He Deserves


Busta Rhymes was given a massive tribute at the 2023 BET Awards as he received a Lifetime Achievement Award. After award presenter, Marlon Wayans roasted the Long Island MC for his boisterous demeanor, a video of Busta’s longtime collaborators and admirers like Diddy, Janet Jackson, Mariah Carey, Missy Elliott, Pharrell, and more found him being called “hip-hop’s mayor” and being complicated for his “rambunctious and bold” approach to hip-hop music. His one-of-a-kind impact could only be celebrated in one way, though — a performance featuring all of those qualities.

And so, Busta hit the stage to accept his award from Swizz Beatz and show off his unmatched energy with an electrifying set including his verses from MOP’s “Ante Up” and A Tribe Called Quest’s “Scenario” remixes, his verse from Chris Brown’s “Look At Me Now,” and his hits “Break Ya Neck,” “Give It To Me,” “New York Sh*t,” “Touch It,” and “Put Your Hands Where My Eyes Could See” — with a special appearance from Coi Leray, who performed her remix of “Players” that samples it. He finished with his new song with BIA, “Beach Ball” and a tribute to his Jamaican roots.

During his acceptance speech, Busta admitted, “I do wanna cry,” before doing just that, shedding a couple of tears as he acknowledged his kids (the oldest of whom appeared in his “Woo-Hah!” video) and recounted his journey through hip-hop, from making his debut with Leaders Of The New School to becoming a Grammy-nominated solo artist and game-changing MC who became ubiquitous over the next 30 years.

He also spoke out against petty beef in hip-hop (I’m gonna stare meaningfully at Jim Jones and Pusha T right now), while shouting out J. Cole, Kendrick Lamar, Nas, and other hip-hop luminaries for their work in keeping hip-hop at the forefront of culture despite streamers warning that its popularity is waning. Hip-hop’s 50th birthday was also celebrated with a string of performances saluting decades of excellence.

You can watch Busta Rhymes’ performance and acceptance speech above.