The music industry celebrated many of it’s most successful and distinguished artists at the 2013 BMI R&B/Hip-Hop Awards on Thursday night in New York City. The star-studded event, formerly known as the BMI Urban Awards, celebrates the songwriters, producers and publishers of the most-performed R&B/Hip-Hop songs of the previous year.
Bryan “Birdman” Williams and Ronald “Slim” Williams were named BMI Icons because of their “unique and indelible influence on generations of music makers.” The brothers, who co-founded Cash Money Records in 1991, were treated to an all-star tribute, which included performances by Kevin Rudolf, DJ Khaled, Mystikal, Future, Curren$y, Ace Hood, Busta Rhymes, Turk, Mannie Fresh and Juvenile. Each artist delivered a dynamic interpretation of a Cash Money classic, such as “Slow Motion,” performed by Curren$y, and “Ha” performed by Mystikal.
Nicki Minaj and Benny Blanco shared the Songwriter of the Year crown by each writing four songs that rank among the year’s most-performed. Nicki’s top contributions include “Dance (A$$),” “Girl On Fire,” “Make Me Proud,” and “Starships.” Benny Blanco was recognized for “Diamonds,” “Heart Attack,” “Payphone,” and “Work Hard Play Hard.” Nicki Minaj’s ubiquitous “Starships” earned Song of the Year honors for its writers Minaj, Wayne Hector, and RedOne.
Hit-Boy earned the Producer of the Year crystal. The incredible songwriter/producer has helmed boards for hits by Kanye West, Jay Z, Kendrick Lamar and A$AP Rocky, among many others. In addition to Hit-Boy, BMI also recognized top producers Jerry “Wonda” Duplessis, Warren “Oak” Felder, Jim Jonsin, Ryan Lewis, Marquel “MaRz” Middlebrooks, Troy Taylor, Andrew “Pop” Wansel and Tyler “T-Minus” Williams.
Many of R&B’s top writers and artists were in the building as well. Mario performed a two-song set for the audience including his smash hit “Let Me Love You” and hot new comeback “Somebody Else.”
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(photos via Neilson Barnard/Getty Images North America)