MIAMI, FL. (BMI) - U.S. performing rights organization BMI saluted the premier r&b, rap and hip-hop songwriters, producers and publishers at its 2005 BMI Urban Awards, staged tonight in the Grand Ballroom of the Fontainebleau Resort in Miami Beach.
Lil Jon and R. Kelly were named Songwriters of the Year, each receiving four "most performed song" awards. "Yeah!," written by Sean Garrett, Lil Jon and Patrick "j.Que" Smith, was named Song of the Year, Kanye West received Producer of the Year honors, and EMI Music Publishing was awarded the BMI Crystal for Urban Publisher of the Year. The first Urban Ringtone Award went to Lil Jon and Craig D. Love for "Freek-A-Leek." A highlight of the gala was a tribute to urban funk legends Charlie Wilson and The GAP Band, who were named BMI Icons for their "enduring influence on generations of music makers."
The ceremony was hosted by BMI President & CEO Del Bryant and Vice President, Writer/Publisher Relations Catherine Brewton, who presented awards to the 70 songwriters of the 35 most performed songs of 2004 in the urban music format.
Lil Jon, who was honored with three major BMI awards - Songwriter of the Year, Song of the Year and Urban Ringtone of the Year - was also named one of BMI's top songwriter/producers of the year. Lil Jon was also named Songwriter of the Year at BMI's Pop Awards held in May, marking the first time that a songwriter earned both Pop and Urban Songwriter of the Year honors in the same year.
R. Kelly received his second BMI Crystal as Urban Songwriter of the Year (he also won in 2002) with four songs on the most-performed list - "Gigolo," "Hotel," "Step In The Name of Love" and "Thoia Thoing" - and was also named one of BMI's top songwriter/producers. His latest CD, TP.3 Reloaded, debuted at No 1 on the Billboard Top 200 the week of its release, instantly becoming his
fifth No 1 album.
"Yeah!," recorded by Usher featuring Ludacris and Lil Jon, was named Urban Song of the Year for tallying the most U.S. broadcast performances in 2004. The No 1 Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop song earned awards for songwriters Sean Garrett, Lil Jon and Patrick "j.Que" Smith, and music publishers Christopher Matthew Music, Hitco Music and White Rhino Music, Inc.
BMI Producer of the Year honors went to Kanye West for logging the most producer credits on charting songs. The BMI Top Urban Producers list also included Cool & Dre, Eminem, Fat Joe, Jazze Pha, R. Kelly, John Legend, Lil Jon, Mannie Fresh and The Neptunes (Pharrell Williams & Chad Hugo).
On the list of BMI's 35 most-performed urban songs, four songwriters contributed three songs each: Eminem, Sean Garrett, Kanye West and Pharrell Williams.
EMI Music Publishing was named BMI Urban Publisher of the Year by accumulating the highest percentage of copyright ownership in award songs. Big Jon Platt, Executive Vice President, Urban Music, U.S., accepted on behalf of the publisher.
The evening culminated with The GAP Band being honored as BMI Icons. Four of the band's nine albums were certified Platinum plus (The GAP Band II, The GAP Band III, The GAP Band IV and GAP Band V - Jammin') and featured 15 Top Ten and four No 1 r&b hits, including "You Dropped a Bomb On Me," "Party Train," "Burn Rubber," "Outstanding," "Oops Upside Your Head," "Early in the Morning," and the smooth love song, "Yearning for Your Love." "Outstanding" alone remains one of the most sampled songs in history and has, astonishingly, been used by over 150 artists.
In addition to the BMI performance awards, music trade magazine Billboard recognized the BMI-affiliated writers who had No 1 songs on the R&B/Hip-Hop Songs, Hot Rap Tracks, Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Airplay and Hot 100 charts during the past year.
Now marking its 65th year in business, BMI is an American performing rights organization that represents more than 300,000 songwriters, composers and publishers in all genres of music. With a repertoire of more than 6.5 million musical works from around the world, the non-profit-making
corporation collects license fees from businesses that use music, which it then distributes as royalties to the musical creators and copyright owners it represents.