VH1 Hip Honors returned from their six year hiatus with a fresh twist this year. Unlike previous shows, this year’s Honors was solely dedicated to females mcees. Wittily dubbed “All Hail the Queens,” the show paid tribute to Salt N’ Pepa alongside DJ Spinderella, Missy Elliott, Queen Latifah and Lil Kim. These six game changers and chain breakers watched from their balcony seats as artists ranging from Ashanti and Tweet to Dej Loaf and Lil Mama covered some of their greatest hits. Let’s recap some of my favorite moments!
Remy Ma started off the Missy Elliott tribute with “Work It,” dressed in a black and white Adidas track suit, similar to what Missy wore in the music video. As she danced off the stage, the music switched to “Get Your Freak On” and out came Nelly Furtado, who was featured on the remix. We haven’t heard much from her since her single “Say It Right,” but it’s hard to forget a voice like Nelly’s. The beat dropped and the booming bass of “Hot Boyz” came in as Eve walked on stage from the crowd dressed in an all black jumper with an assortment of silver zippers and a plunging neckline revealing her infamous paw tattoos. “I love y’all,’ she shouted into the balcony as Lil Mo joined her on stage. As they exited, Trina entered center stage with a quick verse from “One Minute Man,” followed by a dance-only performance to “Lose Control.” The tribute came full circle with Remy Ma’s performance of “WTF (Where They From).”
Fantasia, Monica and Tweet took over the second Missy Elliott tribute to highlight her producing skills. Fantasia effortlessly sang one of her biggest hits and one of my favorite songs “Free Yourself,” followed by Tweet and her debut single “Oops (Oh My).” I know I can’t be the only one who had no idea what this song was even hinting at until my late teens. Monica closed it out with everyone’s favorite breakup song “So Gone.” All three ladies were dressed in white looking heavenly and wrapped the tribute up in unison.
Unlike Missy Elliott’s tribute, Queen Latifah took charge of her tribute. And again, unlike Missy Elliott’s tribute, I couldn’t keep up. I grew up singing “Hot Boyz” and “Get Your Freak On,” but outside of “U.N.I.T.Y” and “Who You Calling a Bitch,” I don’t know many of her songs. She performed a medley of her hits from “When You’re Good to Mama,” to “Ladies’ First.” It was a one woman show until Rah Digga, Da Brat, Lady Rage and Yo Yo joined her in “Had It Up 2 Here.” Although I couldn’t sing along, it was nice to see all those women rocking the stage together.
Eve opened up the Salt N’ Pepa tribute with Shoop followed by Ashanti with “Whatta Man” and Keke Palmer and Dreezy closed the tribute dressed in bomber jackets similar to the ones in the music video with a kickass dance routine to “Push It.” This tribute didn’t have much of an effect on me, but I appreciated Salt N’ Pepa’s and Spinderella’s bond. Not many groups can say they’ve been together for 30 years.
And last but not certainly not least, the long awaited Lil Kim tribute. Lil Mama and Dej Loaf opened the tribute with “Crush On You” with outfits that looked like they came straight out the music video. As they walked off the stage, the melody of “No Time” crept in and the doors in the middle of the stage opened, revealing Teyana Taylor seated comfortably in the infamous Lil’ Kim squat we all know from the cover of her debut album “Hardcore,” with the outfit and wig to match. She completely embodied that era of Lil Kim, from her delivery to her stage presence. French Montana chimed in for the chorus. The Lox took over with “All About the Benjamins,” and Teyana stormed back to the stage with a whole new look and one of Lil Kim’s most well-known verses.
The show ran longer than it scheduled, but it was well worth the overtime. It felt really good to see that VH1 honored these women and it was mostly women that paid tribute to them. “Women been Hip-Hop, women are Hip-Hop and women will always be Hip-Hop,” Eve said. Touché, Eve. Touché.