Usher leads the field of finalists for the second annual Billboard R&B/Hip-Hop Awards. The Arista artist is a contender for eight awards, including top artist, top single for "U Got It Bad," and t

Usher leads the field of finalists for the second annual Billboard R&B/Hip-Hop Awards. The Arista artist is a contender for eight awards, including top artist, top single for "U Got It Bad," and top album for "8701." Other multiple-award finalists include Ja Rule with six, Alicia Keys and the late Aaliyah with five, and Mary J. Blige and Jay-Z with four.

Presented by Heineken, the awards ceremony will be held Aug. 9 at the Billboardlive venue in Miami Beach, at the close of the three-day Billboard-AURN R&B/Hip-Hop Conference, which is to be hosted at the nearby Eden Roc Resort. The American Urban Radio Networks (AURN) will provide coverage of the conference and the awards ceremony to more than 400 U.S. radio stations.

The awards are based on recordings' and artists' performances on Billboard's R&B/Hip-Hop and Rap charts over the year beginning with the June 2, 2001, issue and ending with the May 25, 2002, issue.

Musiq (formerly Musiq Soulchild) was the big winner at last year's awards, bringing home trophies for top artist, new artist, male artist, and singles artist.

Here are the 2002 Billboard R&B/Hip-Hop Awards finalists (listed alphabetically):

Top R&B/hip-hop album:

"Pain Is Love, Ja Rule (Murder Inc./Def Jam/IDJMG)
"The Blueprint," Jay-Z (Roc-A-Fella/Def Jam/IDJMG)
"Songs in A Minor," Alicia Keys (J)
"8701," Usher (Arista)

Top R&B/hip-hop single:

"Rock the Boat," Aaliyah (Blackground)
"Family Affair," Mary J. Blige (MCA)
"Differences," Ginuwine (Epic)
"U Got It Bad," Usher (Arista)

Top R&B/hip-hop artist:

Aaliyah (Blackground)
Alicia Keys (J)
Ja Rule (Murder Inc./Def Jam/IDJMG)
Usher (Arista)

Top R&B/hip-hop artist - male:

Ja Rule (Murder Inc./Def Jam/IDJMG)
Jay-Z (Roc-A-Fella/Def Jam/IDJMG)
Ludacris (Disturbing Tha Peace/Def Jam South/IDJMG)
Usher (Arista)

Top R&B/hip-hop artist -- female:

Aaliyah (Blackground)
Mary J. Blige (MCA)
Faith Evans (Bad Boy/Arista)
Alicia Keys (J)

Top R&B/hip-hop artist - duo or group:

112 (Bad Boy/Arista)
Destiny's Child (Columbia)
Jagged Edge (So So Def/Columbia)
The Isley Brothers feat. Ronald Isley (DreamWorks/Interscope)

Top R&B/hip-hop artist - new:

Ashanti (Murder Inc./Def Jam/IDJMG)
Fabolous (Desert Storm/Elektra/EEG)
Alicia Keys (J)
Mr. Cheeks (Universal)

Top R&B/hip-hop singles artist:

Aaliyah (Blackground)
Mary J. Blige (MCA)
Ja Rule (Murder Inc./Def Jam/IDJMG)
Usher (Arista)

R&B/hip-hop album artist:

Ja Rule (Murder Inc./Def Jam/IDJMG)
Jay-Z (Roc-A-Fella/Def Jam/IDJMG)
Alicia Keys (J)
Usher (Arista)

Top rap album:

"Pain Is Love," Ja Rule (Murder Inc/Def Jam/IDJMG)
"The Blueprint," Jay-Z (Roc-A-Fella/Def Jam/IDJMG)
"Word of Mouf," Ludacris (Disturbing Tha Peace/Def Jam South/IDJMG)
"Stillmatic," Nas (Ill Will/Columbia/CRG)

Top R&B/hip-hop single - sales:

"Loverboy," Mariah Carey feat. Da Brat & Ludacris (Virgin)
"Bootylicious," Destiny's Child (Columbia)
"My Baby," Lil' Romeo (Soulja/Priority)
"U Remind Me," Usher (Arista)

Top R&B/hip-hop single - airplay:

"Rock the Boat," Aaliyah (Blackground)
"Family Affair," Mary J. Blige (MCA)
"Differences," Ginuwine (Epic)
"U Got It Bad," Usher (Arista)

Top rap single - sales:

"Round and Round," Jonell & Method Man (Def Soul/Def Jam/IDJMG)
"My Baby," Lil' Romeo (Soulja/Priority)
"Lights, Camera, Action!," Mr. Cheeks (Universal)
"Raise Up," Petey Pablo (Jive/Zomba)

R&B/hip-hop songwriter of the year:

R. Kelly
Alicia Keys
Timothy Mosley (Timbaland)
Pharrell Williams

R&B/hip-hop producer of the year:

Dr. Dre
Irv Gotti
The Neptunes
Timbaland

R&B/hip-hop major label of the year:

Arista
Columbia Records Group
Epic
Island Def Jam Music Group

R&B/hip-hop independent label of the year:

Koch
Landspeed
Tommy Boy
TVT

Questions? Comments? Let us know: @billboard

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