Music

Watch Erykah Badu, Brandy, Teyana Taylor & H.E.R.’s BET Hip-Hop Awards Cypher

Each of the artists freestyled over Brandy’s 1994 single “I Wanna Be Down.”

Erykah Badu, Brandy, Teyana Taylor, and H.E.R. linked up to perform a Ladies First Cypher during the BET Hip-Hop Awards 2020 on Tuesday night. 

The artists rapped over Brandy’s chart-topping 1994 single “I Wanna Be Down.” The cypher was fitting given the meteoric rise that women in hip-hop have been experiencing the entire year even amid the pandemic. It was refreshing to see a spirit of camaraderie as the industry is notorious for pitting female rappers against one another.

To start off the set, Teyana held her own as she shared a few rhymes about her personal style, what makes her unique and added a timely mention about OnlyFans. At one point she declared, “The tone is what I set it/If you want it come and get it, don’t forget it.”

Up next was H.E.R. who offered up a few thoughts on her artistry and also paid homage to her Filipina heritage. During her part of the cypher, she also mentioned that she’d created her own music festival, the Light On Festival. “Say a prayer, Breonna Taylor seemed intentional,” she rapped. “Black queens with dreams/Beautiful, exceptional.”

Honestly, our favorite part of the cypher was when Badu stepped away from the turntables. She floated over the beat and that was no surprise. One line we really enjoyed was when she said, “Look, I’m about to go in, I’m about to get inside these bitches head like a sew-in.” When she referred to herself as a “boss” and a “worker” that was also a highlight. 

Last but certainly not least, Brandy closed out the set with a few thoughts to ponder on. She shined as she unleashed her feelings on Black womanhood: “Black females we gonna flourish in these conditions/Born to front lines, not in your kitchen/I’m on a mission.” Beyond that she managed to add nods to overcoming inner struggles and releasing her latest album, B7

Take a look at the Ladies First Cypher below. 

Watch all of the official BET Hip-Hop Awards 2020 cyphers below.

Robyn Mowatt

Robyn Mowatt is a Staff Writer at Okayplayer where she covers culture, music, and fashion. You can see what's on her mind on Twitter at @robyn_mowatt.

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