The 2021 BET Hip-Hop Awards transpired last night, bringing out several of the game’s biggest names in the process. And while there were many notable performances and wins throughout, one of the most memorable moments arose when four top-tier lyricists stepped up to hold it down for one of the many cyphers.

Though there were several freestyles scheduled throughout the evening, the standout arose when GRIP of Atlanta, Tierra Whack of Philadelphia, Smino of St Louis, and D Smoke of Inglewood held it down for the “Lyricist Cypher.” A fitting name, given that all four emcees have proven themselves to be elite wordsmiths, not to mention consistently underrated in the larger mainstream conversation. 

D Smoke

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Alas, BET has limited viewability of the cypher at this moment, making it difficult to watch the entire video. Still, responses from Twitter indicate that all four parties held it down, with GRIP in particular receiving a solid co-sign from Sirius XM channel Rock The Bells Radio — and well deserved, given that he recently dropped off one of the year’s most lyrically compelling albums with I Died For This?! 

That’s not to say there was a clear-cut winner, as each emcee saw support from their loyal fanbases — though admittedly, not everyone was a fan of the chosen instrumental. While we wait for the full release to land, check out some of the fan reactions to the BET Lyricism Cypher — and to think, there are people who still confidently declare hip-hop to be dead. For those who did catch the bar-spitters in action — who do you think stole the show: Smino, Tierra, GRIP, or D Smoke?