LL Cool J & Rakim Paid Homage to Pioneering Producer Marley Marl at 2023 BET Hip Hop Awards

Considered one of the greatest rap producers of all-time, Marley Marl enjoyed his flowers at the 2023 BET Hip Hop Awards when he received the I Am Hip Hop Award during the Tuesday (Oct. 10) broadcast.

Presented by Swizz Beatz and Timbaland — who previously were honored with the Rock The Bells Cultural Influence Award earlier in the night — Marley Marl felt the love from his peers in a stirring highlight reel that captured his most significant wins, including producing Roxanne Shante’s “Roxanne’s Revenge” and LL Cool J’s “Mama Said Knock You Out.” “The energy that LL had with Marley’s production lit a fire under LL to make that album what it was,” said Eminem.

The famed producer doubled down on Em’s statement by detailing their efforts in the ’90s. “Me and LL had something to prove, and we proved it,” said Marl during his acceptance speech. Swizz Beatz elaborated on Marl’s greatness by telling the audience, “He said something that’s very G, that I don’t think a lot of y’all heard. He invented sampling on a record. This is Marley Marl right here.”

LL Cool J and Rakim delivered a rousing performance in honor of the hip-hop pioneer. First, Rakim, clad in a black hoodie, delved into his fistful of classics, including “Eric B. Is President” and “Paid In Full” with Technician The DJ and Jazzy Jeff on the 1’s and 2’s. Then, LL Cool J paid homage to his frequent collaborator by performing “Jingling Baby,” “Around The Way Girl,” “Mama Said Knock You Out” and “Rock The Bells.”

Earlier in the night, DaBaby, Sexxy Red and City Girls performed while Atlanta legend Jermaine Dupri enjoyed So So Def’s 30th anniversary with a huge medley of hits.

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