Snoop Dogg declared himself upbeat about life and the future of rap as the veteran star was recognized for career achievement at the BET Hip-Hop Awards on Tuesday.
In an industry infamous for bitter beefs between rappers, the 44-year-old Snoop Dogg instead took an inspirational approach as he was presented the “I Am Hip-Hop” award at a televised ceremony in Atlanta.
“I’m content. I love who I’ve been through my whole journey,” said Snoop Dogg, who emerged from California’s gangsta rap scene before creating his own more mellow sound.
“I’m just thankful to have been given a position to speak to people, to mentor people, to become Uncle Snoop, to not become some bitter old rapper who’s mad because the young MCs is happening. That’s not me,” he said.
Snoop Dogg advised younger rappers to “stay original,” describing music as having a universal power.
“I’m loving where hip-hop is going, I’m loving how you’re taking it across the world, and how you’re all uniting people,” he said.
Politics was also in full display at the awards, one of the biggest annual events on the hip-hop calendar which is broadcast on BET, or Black Entertainment Television.
The rapper T.I. performed his new song “We Will Not,” which voices solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement against police abuses.
As T.I. rapped, his dancers took the stage as if protesters holding up signs. One by one they were knocked down by two actors playing club-wielding white police officers.
When the police tried to strike T.I., the officers instead tumbled to the ground and the rapper ascended stairs, closing the song with the line, “They can’t kill us all.”
Kendrick Lamar, one of the rappers most identified with Black Lives Matter, won the award for Lyricist of the Year.
A fellow West Coast rapper, Lamar presented the career award to Snoop Dogg.
Toronto rapper Drake won for Album of the Year with “Views,” which is so far the top-selling album released this year in the United States across all genres.
He beat major names in hip-hop including Kanye West and Dr. Dre.Punch