Comedian/actor Mike Epps, who recently received favorable reviews for his portrayal of “Satin” in the 2012 update of the classic feature film “Sparkle,” returns to host the 2012 BET Hip-Hop Awards, airing at 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 9. Epps made his hosting debut at the annual hip-hop celebration in 2009.
Videotaped at the Boisfeuillet Jones Atlanta Civie Center on Sept. 29, the BET Hip-Hop Awards pay homage to “a culture that changed the world while highlighting the year’s best in hip-hop music.” The ceremony recognizes artists in 19 categories including Best Hip-Hop Video, Best Live Performer, Lyricist of the Year, Video Director of the Year, Producer of the Year, Track of the Year and Rookie of the Year.
Performers at the annual hip-hop summit include Rick Ross, Wiz Khalifa, 50 Cent, Fat Joe, Missy Elliott, Omarion, Busta Rhymes, Funkmaster Flex, French Montana, T.I., Kirko Bangz, MGK, Kendrick Lamar, Diddy and Future.
The evening is highlighted by freestyle sessions featuring T.I., B.o.B, Snoop Dogg, E-40 and Cassidy, but the mood turns somber when rap icon LL Cool J pays homage to Chris Lighty, the revered hip-hop mogul who took his own life last August. Rappers Q-Tip, Fat Joe, Busta Rhymes, Missy Elliott and 50 Cent take the stage to perform in his memory. In addition, T.I. presents legendary rapper Rakim with the “I Am Hip-Hop Legend Award” honoring “for his contribution to the music industry as being one of the greatest lyricists of all time.”
“It’s going to be a great show,” said BET President Stephen Hill. “We got Meek Mill, 2 Chainz, Future and Diddy doing a great performance. We got a fantastic tribute to Chris Lighty, who a lot of people may not know because he wasn’t a performer, but he was a manager and a real force behind some of your favorite hip-hop acts. We have a great all-star tribute to Chris.”
On Tuesday, May 1 at 9 p.m., the Emmy Award-winning VH1 series "Rock Docs" continues with a new film titled "Uprising: Hip Hop and The L.A. Riots."
Executive produced and narrated by hip hop icon Snoop Dogg and directed by Mark Ford, "Uprising: Hip Hop and The L.A. Riots" premiered in March at the SXSW Film Festival, receiving rave reviews. Now 20 years removed from the beating of Rodney King in South Central Los Angeles and the resulting riots, this candid account "explores the connection between the violence manifested on the streets during the 1992 riots and the rage expressed in Hip Hop by NWA, Dr. Dre, Ice T. and Ice Cube," among others.
According to the network, "Uprising: Hip Hop and The L.A. Riots" tells the story of "the most destructive riot in American history" and is scored by some of the most iconic and controversial hip hop tracks of all time, including NWA's "F Tha Police" and Body Count's "Cop Killer." With definitive first-hand accounts and exclusive rare footage that was locked away and hasn't been seen until now, the documentary gives an inside look at the four tumultuous days that left 53 people dead and over 12,000 arrested.
"Uprising" is told through the diverse perspective of the rappers, musicians, police officers and victims who lived through the L.A. Riots in April, 1992. Viewers will also witness the unheard stories of well known figures and hip hop artists who were affected by or were actual participants in the riots, including Rodney King, Arsenio Hall, Ice T, Professor Todd Boyd (USC), Connie Rice (civil rights attorney) filmmaker John Singleton, Too Short, KRS-One, Nas and Henry Watson (one of the "LA Four" convicted of beating Reginald Denny).
The film shows archival footage of the white motorist being dragged from his vehicle and beaten on the streets of South Central Los Angeles, along with the looting, arson and general unrest that overtook the city.
VH1's "Rock Docs are "feature-length documentaries that tell unique stories of artists and music from a wide range of genres, styles and musical perspectives."
WEST HOLLYWOOD, Calif. — Snoop Lion won't fire back at critics who say his backing of the Rastafari movement is simply another gimmick from one of hip-hop's savviest self-marketers. But Snoop Dogg will.
Reggae pioneer Bunny Wailer is the most notable skeptic. Wailer bestowed the Lion name on Snoop, but has since repeatedly questioned the 41-year-old rapper's intentions and commitment to Rasta ideology.
Asked by The Associated Press to respond, Snoop's face registered a flash of malice followed by a devilish smile: "If I was Snoop Dogg: '(Expletive) Bunny Wailer.' But I'm Snoop Lion right now, so I'm chilling," he said.
He is using the name to release a reggae- and dancehall-focused album, "Reincarnated." Produced by Major Lazer — which includes DJ-producer Diplo — it features guests ranging from Chris Brown and Drake to Jamaica's Mr. Vegas and Mavado.
While promoting an accompanying documentary that tracks his trip to Jamaica and exploration of Rasta culture, Snoop makes it clear that his Lion persona is less a drastic transformation than part of ongoing personal growth.
With his film in limited release this week and his album due out April 23, the performer talked to the AP about his identity issues, his effort to stay positive and religion.
AP: What does Snoop Lion mean to you? In the movie we see Bunny Wailer give you the name because he said he didn't want to call you a dog. That was his take on it.
Snoop: I don't know what that take was because I'm going to always be Snoop Dogg. I can't throw that person away and get rid of him. To me, the Lion is the growth of Snoop Dogg — me growing into the next phase of my musical career, the next phase of my life. But at the same time, I can never get rid of who I am. I'm an East Side Long Beach Rollin 20s Crip, first and foremost. ... I'm Snoop Doggy Dogg, then I'm Snoop Dogg, then I'm Snoop Lion. But it's all the same.
AP: In interviews since the film was made, Bunny has been skeptical of you. What's your take on his criticism?
Snoop: I've done nothing but what I said I was going to do: Go to Jamaica, make a great record, intertwine with some people, build on some relationships and come back and bring something back to the community. ... As far as what people feel about how I'm representing or misrepresenting, that's for no man to judge. I'm here to do what I'm doing. This is my journey. And for those who don't like it, I still got love for them.
AP: What has been religion's place in your life up until now — and how does Rastafari fit in?
Snoop Dogg: As a kid, I was pushed into the Baptist church, taught that way. As an adult, I was able to seek out information on my own to find out that the Muslim religion, Rastafari, Baptist, Christian — that they all the same. They all God-fearing people and love is love. ... It's more based on life and a way of life and liberty as opposed to religion. Because religion is so false, because it's so past tense and written by someone who is not here. I feel like religion should be based on the way you live and the way you treat yourself and treat others.
AP: How does Rastafarianism fit in there for you? Do you feel like you converted?
Snoop: I feel like I'm a part of it. I feel like I'm a part of anything that's positive, that's loving. And Rastafari is so connected to who I am that I feel like I'm a part of it. Because it is me. It is what I am. And through the spirit of it you want to learn more about it. ... I'm just learning. So it's all brand new to me.
AP: What were you trying to accomplish with this album? Your daughter appears on one song and there is very little cursing.
Snoop: It's a goal to have songs that represent who I am today. A lot of the songs I got represent who I was, not who I am. It is my music. I love it. It's my baby. So I'm not going to ever denounce it. It's just that it'd be nice to have a song about peace and love and happiness and about what's going on in the world and about addressing some real issues, when that's what's important right now. As opposed to just partying all the time and having a good time. That's not what I'm on.
AP: Will you only make reggae music now?
Snoop: To me it's not about record sales, so I believe I'm going to do it whenever I want to. So I'm not doing this to create financial gain or money. So it's fun. So anytime it's fun, it's to be done over and over again. Just like with rapping. Rapping had got not-fun to me because 20 years of doing it and being on top. -- (AP)