Joey Bada$$ delivered a powerful performance at the BET Hip Hop Awards 2022, paying tribute to fallen rappers that lost their lives to violence.
The Brooklyn rapper took to the stage on Tuesday evening (Oct. 4) with a special rendition of his recent single “Head High.” The tributes included Young Dolph, who was shot and killed last year and PnB Rock, who was also fatally shot last month.
He also memorialized fallen rappers from different generations of rap, including XXXTentacion, King Von, Nipsey Hussle, Scott La Rock, Tupac Shakur, The Notorious B.I.G, and Big L.
As the song wound down, Joey Bada$$ sent a message to his fellow artists.
“As rappers we got to stop perpetuating our own genocide. It’s a war going on inside and outside no man is safe from. How y’all rappers call y’allselves real, turn round and tell these kids to kill each other? You see the problem is, we y’all biggest ops. I’m done pointing fingers at the judges and the cops. It’s time to take accountability,” he concluded.
Joey Bada$$ performed flanked by dancers clad in all black with matching ski masks wearing hoodies with each deceased artist’s name on the back. Watch his performance below.
The poignant lyrics on “Head High” include the rapper talking about “livin’ in the moment,” because “you never know when could be your last.” Joey Bada$$ also raps about the “survivor’s guilt” he suffers over losing his friend and fellow artist Capital STEEZ.
Kodak Black also took to the stage at the ceremony with his own tribute to his friend and former collaborator, the late PnB Rock. An image of PnB lit up the stage as Kodak performed “Super Gremlin.”