The BET Hip-Hop Awards, the network’s second most important award show after the eponymous BET Awards, will air on Oct. 16, but were recorded this past Sunday, Oct. 7. The show traditionally includes the airing of a series of cyphers, themselves recorded before the show, in which a mishmash group of rappers all freestyle for a minute or two over a boom bappy beat. These cyphers are often the thing that people talk about in the day or two after the show—you may remember Eminem’s anti-Trump diss from last year—and this year will almost certainly be no different.
Participating in one of this year’s cyphers was Vic Mensa, and in his verse he apparently disses XXXTentacion, the recently murdered rapper whose immense popularity was a source of controversy due to credible claims by an ex-girlfriend that he was sexually and physically abusive. The diss first came to light via DJ Scheme, an XXXTentacion affiliate, who tweeted on Sunday that an unnamed rapper had said… something about X. His tweet read:
yo bro how u gone say
“Your favorite rapper is an abuser” and then follow it with a line saying “some shit X some shit so I won’t live long” u can deny it but everyone who was there heard that shit
— SCHEME (@DJSCHEME_) October 7, 2018
On Monday night, Mensa posted a video to Instagram where he said, “Recently I did a freestyle for the BET Awards cypher, addressing and condemning rappers who unabashedly abuse women and those who stand up for them and even call them legends.” He went on to say that he stands by his verse—the full nature of which is still unclear.
In the video, Mensa also apologizes to X’s mother, Cleopatra Bernard, who was in attendance to accept her son’s award for Best New Artist. Said Mensa:
“It was pre-recorded weeks ago, and I had no idea a grieving mother would be in the audience to honor her lost son. I never intended to disrespect her and I offer my deepest condolences for her loss at the hands of gun violence. However, I vehemently reject the trend in hip-hop of championing abusers and I will not hold my tongue about it. I don’t give a fuck about getting attention. I care about bringing awareness, and holding people accountable for their actions.”