You can tell the hip-hop music community has thrown a successful awards show when they can crow that "no one was stabbed in the lung this year." That was the buzz coming out of the third annual Vibe Magazine Awards that aired on UPN stations on Nov. 15. (Last year, a fight at the awards show surrounding the rapper Dr. Dre ended up with the stabbing.)
This show promised to be so filthy that UPN's seven-second delay button pushers were probably doing finger calisthenics preparing for the rappers to come out. This apparently meant nothing to UPN (owned by the increasingly notorious Viacom company), which once again displayed its utter lack of class by starting this bleep-fest in the first hour of prime time, the "family hour." They not only had to catch the endless S-words and the F-bombs in the rap lyrics, but also hit the button for the N-word that only rappers can use.
It's important to state up front that the Vibe people were offering awards for the thump of the sound, not the beauty of the message. Note I don't call it music, because it isn't. They were celebrating "cutting-edge presentation and genre-expanding work in urban music." What did they mean by that?
The awards began with the rapper called "The Game" winning for "Hottest Hook" for a song called "Hate It Or Love It." The song has all the typical lyrics about glorious gang-banging for big money and how he used to threaten to kill people over Nike sneakers. When he won, he just had to declare from the stage that, "I want to thank God, from whom all blessings flow."
God must have been so pleased.
UPN viewers could then watch the R&B singer Chris Brown, who's just 16, with his song "Run It," boasting that he already has sexual skills: "Girl I can set you off ... I can definitely show you things/ that's gonna have you sayin' I can't be 16 / Once I get in, you won't wanna go." Before you dismiss him as a fringe element, consider that Brown's song hit No. 1 on the charts and is in heavy rotation on MTV and Black Entertainment Television. If that's not mainstream enough, the publicists say you can see him on Nickelodeon soon, and the Walt Disney World Christmas Day Parade.
The rapper T.I. won for Best Street Anthem for his song "U Don't Know Me." It's loaded up with the N-word and boasts about how nasty he is, and how he's going to shoot people in the side and cause a "slow leak."
It's only natural that in his victory speech, he, too, gave thanks to God.