In 1994, the Notorious B.I.G boasted about hip-hop’s longevity on his classic record “Juicy,” rapping, “You never thought that hip-hop would take it this far.” Now more than 20 years later, it’s safe to assume the Brooklyn poet may not have predicted how much ground hip-hop would cover. As the dominant musical genre and cultural force, hip-hop touches every corner of the globe and its influence spans generations, which is why paying respect to all it’s done and continues to do is paramount.

Following in the longstanding tradition of celebrating the culture, the 2021 BET Hip-Hop Awards will show its love and appreciation to the genre’s biggest names. The night’s festivities will include one-of-a-kind fashion on the red carpet, electrifying performances, and breathtaking displays of artistry by way of the BET Cypher. DJ Hed will set the tone, while Smino, Tierra Wack, D. Smoke, Rico Nasty, Simba and more go back-to-back in a series of not-to-be-missed lyrical marathons. Along with a host of exciting nominees, this year’s I Am Hip-Hop Award will be presented to Grammy Award-winning artist Nelly, who shattered record sales and broke barriers with his music and Midwestern swag.

On Tuesday, October 5 the BET Hip-Hop Awards will give the culture and all its contributors their time to shine beginning at 9PM EST. Inspired by the upcoming celebration, we tapped a few die-hard hip-hop heads at Complex to go in depth about their favorite artist or album, which BET Cypher still ranks as No. 1 in their book, and, most importantly, what hip-hop has taught them.