Veteran lyricist Rakim Allah received the prestigious I Am Hip-Hop Award during the 2012 BET Hip-Hop Awards telecast. If there's one rapper that embodies hip-hop, it's Rakim, whom many regard as the "God MC."

Kendrick Lamar, who earlier in the night won the coveted Lyricist of the Year award, presented Rakim with the prestigious honor. "We are here tonight to celebrate the lyrics of the man who effectively developed new textures and techniques on his way to creating verbal landscapes and classics that we value today," he said about the New York emcee. "Rakim changed the flow of hip-hop. He created innovative soundscapes  ... painting moving pictures of life as he knew it."

A video montage was played as various rappers pay homage to Rakim, who undoubtedly inspired a generation of wordsmiths. "He is the creator of a whole style of hip-hop," says Common. Legendary producer Marley Marl, the man behind Eric B. & Rakim's classic 1986 hit 'Eric B. Is President,' called Rakim "The Truth."

Afterward, Rakim graced the podium and with his distinctive monotone voice thanked the "Most High" and his family for their love and support. Then, like a true MC, he took his time to eloquently talked to audience filled with both veterans and up-and-coming rhymers in the rap game.

"Big-ups to BET for giving me this award and giving hip-hop a platform so we can show what we can do," he said. The rap legend also gave props to DJ Red Alert for taking him under his wings early in his career despite him being so rough around the edges.

Finally, Rakim offered one last sentiment to the rappers who are keeping the "torch lit" for hip-hop. "Keep doing what you're doing, represent [hip-hop] from the heart and don't let nobody stop it."

Word. Follow the Leader.

Watch the Rakim Tribute Video From the 2012 BET Hip-Hop Awards