BET Hip Hop Awards ’23: Juvenile & Mannie Fresh, Charlamagne tha God and more talk 50 years of hip-hop

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Hip-hop rung in its 50th birthday on August 11, but celebrating the genre didn’t stop there.  

BET continued the yearlong party with a special-edition Hip Hop Awards, which honored the DJs, producers, rappers and singers who helped shape hip-hop. 

When ABC Audio caught up with a few of the culture’s power players during the show’s taping last week, they opened up about what 50 years of hip-hop means to them. 

Legendary producer and DJ Mannie Fresh said hip-hop was never just about the music — it’s been embedded in artists’ lives since the beginning.

“We grew up on hip-hop. That was our other parent,” he said. “I’m just glad that it’s 50 years and they still acknowledge it, it’s still around and hopefully 50 more years we going to do this again.”

Juvenile, Mannie Fresh’s longtime collaborator, said that hip-hop provides a positive alternative to street life. 

“The way these cats get to have this experience and do something positive with their lives instead of going the wrong way. I tell it to a lot of these cats: how would you want to see ’em, with a microphone or a gun in his hand?”

Someone who also understands what Juvenile calls the power of the microphone: radio host Charlamagne tha God, who said he appreciates the maturation of hip-hop.

“We didn’t understand the power of our voices because we were young,” he said. “But now, when you start to understand … you’re very cognizant and intentional about what you say and who you put on the platform.” 

As for DJ Marley Marl, recipient of the night’s I Am Hip Hop Award, he’s looking forward to another 20, 50, 100 years of hip-hop. 

The 2023 Hip Hop Awards air October 10 at 9 p.m. on BET. 

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