To no one’s surprise, Drake was a no-show at the 2018 BET Hip Hop Awards, despite leading the pack with 11 nominations. This year’s host DeRay Davis addressed Drizzy’s regular absence during his opening number. And let’s just say his punch line was, well, predictable.

He set up the joke by speaking on Kanye West’s creative freedom: “Like Drake. He can go back and forth over the border without his baby; that’s a lot of freedom!”

He continued: “Drake always nominated, always win, and dont come to the shows,” the comedian told the crowd. “I understand you don’t want to rock with us, bro. You don’t want to come to the awards shows. You ain’t gotta come. At least send the n***a who wrote your shit.

Even the crowd felt the sting.

“Don’t 'oh and oooh,'” DeRay told the audience. “Drake ain’t gonna say nothing to me, ‘cause J. Prince told him he couldn’t.” 

That last bit was a reference to Drake's decision not to respond to Pusha-T's diss record, “The Story of Adidon.” J. Prince, the CEO of Rap-A-Lot Records, claims he was the one who advised Drake to let the situation go.

I spoke with Drake. I made an OG call to Drake this morning, telling him, 'I don't want you to respond to this. We're going to put this to bed.'” Prince told DTLR Radio. We're going to put this to bed because we can't get into the pigpen with pigs. Because pigs turn into hogs and hogs get slaughtered.”

As most of you know, Drake has faced ghostwriting allegations for the past several years. Many have claimed or theorized that Atlanta rapper Quentin Miller was responsible for some of Drizzy’s bars; however, Miller denied the allegations in a 2015 Tumblr post, writing: “[…] I am not and never will be a ‘ghostwriter’ for Drake.. I’m proud to say that we’ve collaborated … but I could never take credit for anything other than the few songs we worked on together ... That's all I have to say on it.”

Drake’s 2018 nominations include Album of the Year (Scorpion), Hustler of the Year, Best Collab, Duo or Group (“Look Alive” with Blocboy JB), and Single of the Year (“God’s Plan” and “Nice for What”).

Keep it locked for more coverage of tonight’s Hip Hop Awards broadcast.