Billboard Honors Grandmaster Flash, Wright

Billboard will honor the extraordinary careers of Grandmaster Flash and Betty Wright with its second annual Founders Awards. The recognition will take place at the 2003 Billboard-AURN R&B/Hip-Hop

Billboard will honor the extraordinary careers of Grandmaster Flash and Betty Wright with its second annual Founders Awards. The recognition will take place at the 2003 Billboard-AURN R&B/Hip-Hop Awards show Aug. 8 at the Roney Palace in Miami Beach, Fla.

The Founders Awards recognize artists for their achievements and influence on others in the R&B and hip-hop genres, as chosen by the editors of Billboard.

Grandmaster Flash has been a rap innovator since the 1970s and continues to be recognized as one of hip-hop's most influential DJs. He developed a series of groundbreaking mixing techniques, creating a vocabulary that DJs continue to follow today.

Released in 1982, Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five's debut Sugar Hill album, "The Message" was revolutionary in its use of rap as a forum for sharp social commentary. The title track is regarded as one of the genre's enduring anthems.

Making music since the 1960s, Wright scored her signature hit with "Clean Up Woman," which peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard R&B charts. Her 1975 album "Danger High Voltage" spawned the hits "Shoorah! Shoorah," "Tonight Is the Night" and the Grammy-winning "Where Is the Love."

Wright's latest album, "Fit for a King," was released in 2001 on the independent Vision label. A singer's singer, she has worked with the likes of Erykah Badu, Gloria Estefan, Jennifer Lopez, Johnny Mathis and more.