This year's annual VH1 Hip-Hop Honors awards show seems to be one of the most contentious to date, thanks to its focus on "Honoring the Dirty South." On one hand, you've got major Southern artists like Scarface, who feels the show is just ghetto-izing his peers. (The Houston rapper, actually, is refusing to attend in protest.) On the other hand, you've got artists like Miami's own Luther Campbell, who is thankful for some recognition, but feels that VH1 is getting its history wrong.
Others, though, like Lil Jon, seem to just be grateful that the South is getting a shout-ou
t on a program that's formerly mostly focused on the now-defunct East Coast/West Coast division. And while Atlanta and New Orleans have gotten a lot of the Southern hip-hop shine, Miami's got a pretty good showing of artists set to appear, and our city's been featured in many of the program's promotional spots.
While the program has been taped already, it airs for the first time tonight at 9 p.m. EST and still promises some surprises. We know that Gucci Mane, Missy Elliott, Rick Ross, and Trina's appearances, to name a few, will all be stellar. Here are a few other things we're looking forward to on the show.
5. The Return of Master P, Mystikal, and Juvenile
Ok, we know he's still been releasing plenty of street records and representing New Orleans but ... aboveground, he hasn't made us say uuunnnnggghhh since the late '90s, pretty much. Will his appearance on major cable help to reignite wider interest in his career? And will he try to drag his son Romeo (ex- "Lil) into it all?
Mystikal and Juvenile, meanwhile, similarly define that particular era in the come-up of Southern rap. Have they changed or updated their sound at all, or, will we see how songs like the former's "Danger" and the latter's "Back that Azz Up" have aged?
4. Bun B's Tribute to Pimp C
It's sad that Pimp C didn't survive to see the performance, but his former UGK partner, Bun B, is set to represent for him. A sneak preview has been floating around of Bun B performing Pimp C's verse on Jay-Z's "Big Pimpin,'" which was indeed a good verse but seems like a strange choice for this show, considering UGK's body of work together otherwise. Will Bun B perform any other UGK songs?
3. Pitbull's performance
We're predisposed towards Pit, of course, but we're looking forward to his performance because it totally flips all expectations of Southern rap on his head. He definitely represents Miami, all the way at the bottom of the map, but he does so by rapping in slangy Spanglish over dance music. It sounds so dubious on paper, but somehow comes across as so right in a live performance. How will it come across with this crowd?
2. The crowd's potential reaction to goofy, out-of-place guys Asher Roth and Kid Rock
Our issue with Roth's and Rock's place on this show is not really about race; it's more about nerdiness and plain inappropriateness for this bill. Straight-up, neither of these people belong, especially corny frat-rapper Asher Roth. HE'S FROM PENNSYLVANIA! Kid Rock, meanwhile, barely raps any more, preferring instead to write country-tinged bar anthems most of the time... And for all his attempts at writing Southern rock, yeah, there's again that fact that he's FROM MICHIGAN. How will the audience react to these two? Is booing allowed at the taping of these events?
1. Luther Campbell's response to anything
We're anxious to see if and how Uncle Luke responds to anything if he gets microphone time. He's being honored both on his own merit and for his work with 2 Live Crew, and both nods have the potential to ruffle his feathers. He's already expressed that he deserves more credit from VH1 for Luke Records. At the same time, he's repeatedly, publicly challenged his old group's version of 2 Live Crew history
, and his relationship with the other members days seems contentious. So, will he open his mouth or not?