Can’t Another Brother Cook These Delicacies?

VH1's Hip-Hop Honors, recapped

Slick Rick does, uh,
Slick Rick does, uh, "Children's Story"

The 2008 VH1 Hip-Hop Honors freight train rolled through Time Warner Cable’s broadcast schedule this week, premiering on Monday and continuing into the next day until every innocent channel-surfer had the chance to see Jim Jones bust out his best B-Real and hear actor Michael Rapaport tell us how he named his son after Maseo from De La Soul.

I know, Maseo Rapaport. His Irish grandmother must be horrified.

The Hip-Hop Honors are a nice gesture put on by the great folks over at Video Hits One. Every year they select a few OGs who deserve a little recognition, and then they bring out a few more corresponding YGs to pay tribute to the heads who set them on the right foot. This year’s honorees included Cypress Hill, De La Soul, Naughty By Nature, Too $hort, and Slick Rick, and showing them love were myriad current artists, including Ghostface, Bun B, the Roots, Q-Tip, MC Lyte, EPMD, and Kid Rock.

But, as one might expect from a hip-hop salute put on by the same network that’s turned Flava Flav into a love-sick Viking, there were a number of quirks, some of which I can’t let slip by without mentioning. A guy like Freddy Rodriguez should never be introducing Cypress Hill. And how about De La Soul’s Dave wearing a shirt that said “Ewing + Oakley + Starks + Anthony + New York?” I know this isn’t VH1’s fault, but don’t you think Anthony Mason would feel a little bit left out as the fifth man on that squad?

There were highlights, too. It was funny to hear B-Real say “people know we get baked." Getting the story as to what “Potholes in My Lawn” means will be extremely useful next time I’m discussing hippie-rap. (If the lawn represents De La Soul’s lyrical styles, the potholes emerged when other rappers would bite their flow.) It was great to see EPMD get out there to honor De La on “Stakes is High,” and anytime you can catch Cee-Lo Green in a silver body suit, the night’s a success.

To honor those, well, honored, Mick Boogie’s put together The Honor Roll, a 31-track mixtape available for download. So often, the only time you can hear a rapper flow over someone else’s beats is when they’re ripping the track for a mixtape. The Honor Roll’s different, though, as Boogie’s hooked up with a number of lesser-known MCs to cover these classics in their original form. Slick Rick’s “Children’s Story” gets waxed by Kidz in the Hall and U-N-I takes a stab at Posdnuos’ “Stakes is High” verse. AP and the Pacific Division roll through Naughty By Nature’s “Hip Hop Hooray” and “O.P.P,” respectively, while Game Rebellion’s Netic busts out on Cypress Hill’s “How I Can Just Kill a Man.”

It’s a great tribute to the ones who’ve come before, and you don’t even need to put up with the Flav to get a listen.

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