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Live Breakdown: VH1 Hip-Hop Honors (Video)

Posted by Nathan S. on 10/14/09 | Filed under Features, Live Breakdown
Although ten years ago VH1's programming was so white it made Dick Cheney look like Malcom X, the channel has someone reinvented itself as a hip-hop mecca with its VH1 Hip-Hop Honors show. This year they're running a salute to 25 years of Def Jam, the legendary label created by Russell Simmons and Rick Rubin, and I sat down to watch the show with a minute by minute break down of all the night's important events. You know, like Foxy Brown's breasts. Enjoy.

(Did I steal this idea from Bill Simmons? Yes. Is that going to stop be from doing it? Not even close. Just thought I should give credit where credit's due.)


9:02 – Turned on the show a little late, but apparently the only thing I missed was a mediocre Tracy Morgan opening skit. Why do I have the feeling that’s going to be a common theme.

9:05 – Our first show of the night, and thank Jesus it’s The Roots. If you haven’t seen these guys live you should be ashamed. And oh shit! Now Slim Shady’s out and ripping up the stage. If the whole show's anything like this it’s going to be an absolute beast.

Although it definitely paid the man's bills, nothing did more to turn Jazzy Jeff into a national joke than "The Fresh Prince." After years of watching hang out with Carlton it's easy to forget that the man's legitimately one of the best DJs on the planet.

9:15 - Public Enemy is absolutely killing this set. Chuck D hasn’t lost a step. And with The Roots backing them up? This is a hip-hop dream. Although at this point watching Flava Flav be a serious artist is like watching Lindsay Lohan give a speech to the U.N. Security Council on nuclear non-proliferation.

On a side note, my girl just yelled at me to turn off the tea kettle. Not the first time someone’s listened to a Public Enemy record and thought that.

9:19 – How many times are we going to have to watch this Jay-Z Rhapsody commercial tonight? I’ve got the over/under at 12.

9:22 – How much marijuana does Rick Rubin smoke a day? An ounce? A pound? A bale? Also, Russell Simmons just dropped five f-bombs in under a minute. Well done Russell, well done.

9:24 – “We’re about to go to a place with wood grain gripping.” I’m assuming they don’t mean Boise. Nope, it’s a Def Jam South show with Luda and Scarface. Man, I know Scarface likes to rock a low hat, but this is insane – although if that’s what he needs to rhyme like this, he can pull that hat as low as he wants. Of course the booty dancers come flying out as soon as Luda hits the stage. Saw that one coming. Luda’s voice sounds a little raspy tonight – someone hasn’t been drinking his chamomile tea.

9:28 – These Tracy Morgan skits are bombing. It’s never a good sign when even the live audience isn’t laughing.

9:34 – Man, Kid Rock looks a little homeless right now, but I got to give it up, he’s got some turntable skills.

9:35 – Really? We’re including Gym Class Heroes on this? So far so bad. Is KRS-ONE freestyling right now because he’s a legendary MC, or because he forgot the lyrics to "No Sleep Till Brooklyn"? Either way, it sounds dope. Wale with a decent verse, overall this performance just isn’t working. That’s what happens when you try to put dudes who aren’t used to it over some hard rock.

Russell's opinion? A a lukewarm golf clap.

9:40 – The more you think about it, the crazier it is that the Beastie Boys were as successful as they were. What were the odds that three punk rock white kids would become hip-hop legends? A million to one? Higher?

9:44 – One a mission trying to find Mr. Warren G. I got called Nate Dogg for a solid two years straight after "Regulators" dropped back in eighth grade. Can’t lie, I was pretty pleased with the nickname.

Trey Songz is trying to sound like Nate Dogg and it’s going horribly – he’s trying to drop his usual falsetto down to Nate Dogg’s baritone and bombing. Warren G has to be desperately missing Nate right now.

9:46 – Yep, Trey Songz is still doing terribly. Just thought you’d like an update.

9:49 – Tracy Morgans skits are going over like Rush Limbaugh at a NAACP convention. Ok, that’s a bit harsh, but no one’s laughing.

9:54 – If I you showed me this guy, and said “he directed Redman and Method Man videos” there’s no way I would believed you. If you told me he owned a comic store, that I would have believed.

9:55 - There’s no way Meth and Red don’t f**king kill this right now. Yep, it’s a slaughter. Take notes Gym Glass Heroes, this is how you do it. La la la la la la la la! (And yes, it’s 8 “la”s. I just counted).

Oh shit! Mary J and Meth. This is the jam. The crowd’s going appropriately nuts. This is the anthem. And to prove it, Chris Rock apparently can sing along with every word.

10:00 – Wow, apparently Ja Rule is alive and he’s going to prove it by performing. I’ll believe it when I see it.

10:07 – Onyx! On the real, I haven’t thought about these guys in years, but back in the day I used to go crazy in my living room rhyming along to Slam. And amazingly they haven’t slowed down at all. If I have this much energy at their age I’ll be happy, and probably doing large amounts of coke.

10:12 – I thought Diddy was purely a MTV man. Apparently VH1 threw some big time money his way. Maybe he’ll find another band on VH1 to f up as badly as he did Danity Kane. We can only hope.

10:14 – Damn, I was way under on the “number of times we’ll have to see this Jay-Z Rhapsody commercial” prediction. With 45 minutes left in the show we’re only up to three. Come on Jay. Let’s pick up the pace.

10:15 – I can’t lie, Eve looks damn good.

10:16 - And to think, there was a time when Ashanti and Ja Rule were the two most popular people in rap/r&b/pop. Now Ashanti’s an after thought and Ja Rule’s in a witness protection program. All jokes aside, this performance is taking me back a bit. Good times…although apparently Russell disagrees. The camera just got to him in the audience and he looks straight up bored.

10:21 – Damn, DMX is going to perform?! Is there a SWAT team nearby just in case things get out of hand.

10:28 - I think Tracy Morgan might be physically incapable of whispering. That is one loud man.

10:29 – It’s Freeway Rick! And he’s going to do "Hustlin"! I’m excited to hear how he’s going to do this first verse without dropping 7 f-bombs. Answer: replace “f**k” with “sucka.” Plus the man’s beard game is on point. I love me some Rick Ross, even if he does look like a cross between Fat Albert and Mushmouth right now.

10:39 – I have no idea what top expect from DMX right now- the answer? He sounds damn good, and looks like he’s having a great time. It’s been sad to watch such a talented man self-destruct. Hopefully he can get it together and start dropping new material again. With a performance like this, he’s definitely got the skills to.

Glad to see that white guy in a purple bandanna is enjoying himself. Really purple bandanna guy? You left your house to head to the show and thought, “you know what this outfit needs? A purple bandanna.” There’s no accounting for taste.

10:44 – Tracy Morgan has officially gone 0-07 on the skits tonight. I love him on 30 Rock, but maybe next year we get a new host, huh?

10:50 – Chris Rock was just hilarious, but he apparently wasn’t willing to get up from his seat. Hey, when you’re that rich and famous you don’t have to stand for anyone.

10:50 – It’s medley time! Video’s below.

10:51 – For a 150 pound white guy, Kid Rock’s doing a decent LL Cool J impression right now. Too bad he’s only putting out country albums now.

10:52 - EPMD! And they’re wearing bucket hats. Sitting through all those terrible Tracy Morgan skits was now officially worth it.

10:53 – Foxy and Loso!? Sweet Jesus – I hope there’s a medical staff on standby in case Foxy’s breasts break lose and accidentally suffocate Fab.

10:55 – Great to see Ghostface get some love here. The man’s one of the most underrated rappers alive. I’d love if he did Stapleton Sex right here – no such luck. Still, a great performance from Starks, as always.

10:56 – Kanye’s still not performing huh? Wale’s good, but he’s a poor substitute for Mr. West. Personally I would have just cut this one…wait, nevermind! Did Wale just shout out Taylor Swift! Hilarious.

10:58 – All in all a good show. Now that VH1 is done honoring hip-hop, it can go back to disgracing it with reruns of "Flava of Love" and "For the Love of Ray J." Thanks guys.

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