The women of the new era in hip-hop have raised the bar musically and lyrically, but we can’t forget the OG’s who paved the way. Capping off the year of major women-led collaborations, the BET Hip Hop Awards shared their Ladies First cypher, featuring Erykah Badu, H.E.R., Teyana Taylor and Brandy herself rapping over the iconic “I Wanna Be Down” remix (originally released in 1995).
Each artist showed off their skills, spitting bars about equality and chasing goals, and of course, flexing a little bit too.
Taylor brought Harlem’s sassy flavor, rapping, “I just snapped back/Black tights, Jordan 3s and a snapback.” The singer/music video director recently gave birth to her second child, Rue Rose with husband Iman Shumpert. She also walked away last night with the award for Video Director of the Year.
During her verse, H.E.R. shed light on the dire need for justice in the case of Breonna Taylor. She then passed the mic to Badu, who served as the DJ for the cypher as well. The “Phone Down” artist stayed true to her Dallas roots, serving up a flow she described as “classic.” “Keep a tight circle/Last name Badu, first name Erykah,” she rapped in her distinctly southern style.
The cypher was wrapped up by the legendary Brandy, who recently released her first album in 8 years, B7—a title that refers to herself. You know you’re the best when you can pay homage to yourself.
This year has arguably been one of the best years for women in hip-hop, and these queens showed exactly us why that’s the case. Of all of the cyphers and performances uploaded, theirs is the most viewed one thus far, with a whopping 200,000+ thus far.
Watch the Ladies First cypher below.