A New Class of Hip-Hop Legends Revered At VH1 Hip-Hop Honors

A new cast of Hip-Hop pioneers were celebrated at VH1's third annual Hip-Hop Honors Saturday night (Oct. 2) at New York's Hammerstein Ballroom.

The show paid respect to the visionaries that helped shape Hip-Hop into a global phenomenon.

The class of 2006 included Afrika Bambaataa, Beastie Boys, Eazy-E, Rakim, MC Lyte, Russell Simmons, and Wu-Tang Clan.

With the exception of Afrika Bambaataa and the late Eazy-E, all the honorees performed their classics.

Eazy-E was commemorated with a performance by his son, Lil' Eazy-E, as well as Young Jeezy and Bone Thugs-N-Harmony.

Performing for the first time nationally since being released from prison, Lil' Kim, along with Remy Ma and Da Brat, covered MC Lyte's "Lyte as a Rock" as a tribute to the veteran female rapper.

"I feel great. What other way is there to feel when you're in a space where everyone is showing their love and want to honor you," MC Lyte told AllHipHop.com. "The foundation was laid, and it is important for people to see how well respected you are by today's artists as well."

Actor Forest Whitaker, who worked with the RZA on the film Ghost Dawg, helped pay tribute to the Wu-Tang Clan, and despite a brief backstage altercation with security guards, Clan member RZA was flattered by his group's induction.

"It's a super honor because I live Hip-Hop. I lived these streets of New York, writing, performing, break dancing, deejaying--every component of it," said RZA. "Some of these people I grew up admiring them. Some of these people got twenty years in. I got what?--ten, twelve years in. To be honored with them, that means that in maybe half the amount of time I've achieved the same."

As a 2005 Hip-Hop Honors inductee, this year's host Ice-T knew firsthand the importance of having such a platform to tribute Hip-Hop luminaries.

"I'm just happy VH1 started this thing three years ago," he said. "We didn't know if VH1 was the right place to for Hip-Hop Honors, but they've shown and proved."

"What I'm loving is that they're honoring those that have paved the way," said West Coast rapper/actress Yo Yo. "Having events like this, and having us come down and support gives them [new artists] something to look up to. It lets them know that if you want to be in this, they're certain things that you have to do. There's a code of ethics. The kids that are coming up today are our kids. We really birthed them into Hip-Hop."

The VH1 Hip-Hop Honors will air Tuesday (Oct. 17) at 9 p.m. ET.