Kanye West reunited with his old label boss Damon Dash on Saturday (24Jan15) as the music executive presented the Stronger hitmaker with a top prize at the BET Honors.

The rapper was feted with the Visionary Award at the Washington, D.C. ceremony, where stars including his longtime pal and collaborator Jay Z, Common, Kendrick Lamar and his wife Kim Kardashian paid tribute to West in a video montage.

He was then introduced to the stage by his old friend Dash, who confessed he had doubted West's rapping abilities when he was first trying to make the transition from producer to artist.

Stepping up to the podium, a flattered West stated, "I understand what it is to be humbled for the first time."

He then shared a few words of advice to youths seeking to make their mark on the entertainment and arts industry, saying, "You can't be the kid in the back of the classroom with black nail polish. You have to smack the s**t out of people with your creativity."

It was also an emotional night for R&B superstar Usher, who fought back tears as he received the Musical Arts Award from his childhood idol, Bobby Brown, while actress Phylicia Rashad was celebrated with the Theatrical Arts Award.

West has had little to do with Dash since the label co-founder fell out with his business partner Jay Z in 2005 after the sale of their record company to Island Def Jam.