Brandy’s ‘I Wanna Be Down’ cypher steals the show at BET Hip-Hop Awards

Biba Adams
·3 min read

Who knew they could rhyme? H.E.R., Teyana Taylor, Brandy and Erykah Badu rocked their mics right.

Erykah Badu took to the turntables to help Brandy, Teyana Taylor and H.E.R., show off their respective rhyme skills during the all-female BET Hip-Hop Awards cypher. The legendary singer also spits a verse over Brandy’s “I Wanna Be Down” instrumental.

The four women rapped about the beauty of Black women, with Brandy saying: “Know you beautiful and Black, go be proud / always trust in God, your higher self, take that vow / And if they say the sky is the limit then buy a cloud/ And if they can’t treat you like an equal, they not allowed.”

The “BET Hip-Hop Awards” cypher featured (from left) H.E.R., Teyana Taylor, Brandy and Erykah Badu, who rocked their mics right.
The “BET Hip-Hop Awards” cypher featured (from left) H.E.R., Teyana Taylor, Brandy and Erykah Badu, who rocked their mics right.

H.E.R. offered up a humble brag that she is the first Black woman to have her own festival. At the same time, the singer touched on the police slaying of Breonna Taylor: “Say a prayer / Breonna Taylor seemed intentional / Black queens with dreams / Beautiful, exceptional / Say you wanna be down, but still ain’t arrest them, though.”

Fans raved that the all-female cypher was one of the best of the show. 

The 15th annual event, broadcast on Tuesday night, was notably different from past productions amid the coronavirus pandemic. But the cyphers remained a signature part of the night.

Other women rhymers made their presence felt too.

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Megan Thee Stallion picked up three awards, including Hip-Hop Artist of the Year, Best Collaboration (for “Savage” featuring Beyoncé) and Hustler of the Year. Rapsody took home her first-ever award for Lyricist of the Year. The Miami rap group City Girls also performed at the ceremony.

Brandy also made reference to her critically-acclaimed seventh studio album, B7, which was released earlier this summer. Journalist Kimberly M. Dobine opined that the LP is “reminiscent of what we have come to expect from Brandy,” declaring her “back and better than ever.”

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