The 2021 BET Hip Hop Awards aired on Tuesday, October 5 from Atlanta’s Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre. Missouri-bred rapper Cornell “Nelly” Haynes Jr. was the recipient of the “I Am Hip Hop” Award at the ceremony.
“I am honored to receive this award and humbled to be in such great company of past artists who have received this award,” said Nelly prior to the show.
He continued, “I have been blessed to work with some incredible people in my career, making 22 years go by in the blink of an eye. This award isn’t just about Nelly; it is about my fans, BET, and the people that continue to support me and allow me to do what I love to do.”
Nelly also performed at this year’s BET Hip Hop Awards which were filmed on October 1. The 46-year-old rhymer ran through a medley of his biggest hits like “Hot in Herre,” “Dilemma,” and “Country Grammar.” Plus, Jermaine Dupri, Paul Wall, and City Spud joined Nelly on stage.
Beginning with his 2000 debut studio LP Country Grammar, Nelly earned three No. 1 albums and six Top 10 albums. The St. Lunatics leader has four No. 1 songs on the Hot 100 chart as well.
Billboard magazine ranked Nelly as the #3 Top Artist of the 2000s decade. According to the RIAA, Nelly sold 22 million album units throughout his career with Country Grammar being certified Diamond (10 million units).
The 2021 BET Hip Hop Awards also featured performances by Young Thug & Gunna, Bia & Lil Jon, Isaiah Rashad, Baby Keem, Latto, and more. “WAP” collaborators Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion were the night’s big winners by snagging three wins each.