(L-R): BMI president/CEO Del Bryant awards YMCMB honcho Bryan "Birdman" Williams the songwriter of the year trophies for both Drake and Lil Wayne, as BMI vice president, writer/publisher relations Catherine Brewton and BMI director, writer/publisher relations Wardell Malloy look on. (Photo: Maury Phillips/Getty Images)
The Cash Money/Young Money contingent took home three of the top awards at BMI's 2012 Urban Music Awards. Drake and Lil Wayne shared honors as urban songwriters of the year, while Nicki Minaj's smash hit "Super Bass" was named urban song of the year.
The ceremony, which took place Friday evening (Sept. 7) at the Saban Theatre in Beverly Hills, Calif., also honored EMI Music Publishing as publisher of the year and Andrew "Pop" Wansel as urban producer of the year. The awards ceremony was hosted by BMI president/CEO Del Bryant and VP of writer/publisher relations/Atlanta Catherine Brewton.
Following a surprise appearance by Nas -- who dedicated his performance to late Primary Violator executive Chris Lighty -- the ceremony opened by recognizing songwriters of Billboard No. 1 singles on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Airplay, Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs and Hot Rap Songs charts over the past year. Then co-host Ray J joined BMI's Brewton in handing out the various awards and introducing another surprise performance: Future.
The evening's highlight: a salute to BMI Icon honoree Mariah Carey. Recognized for her "indelible influence ongenerations of music makers," Carey was feted in a tribute that featured producer Jermaine Dupri and included performances singers Karen Clark Sheard (who sang "Anytime You Need a Friend"), Joe ("We Belong Together"), Eric Benét ("One Sweet Day") and Fantasia ("Hero").
Mac Miller, left, accepts his award for Social Star. (Photo: Leon Bennett/Getty Images)
BMI's Bryant introduced the tribute segment for Icon honoree Carey. It included a video montage featuring comments from Jermaine Dupri, Sean "Diddy" Combs, Rodney Jerkins, Diane Warren, Randy Jackson, Beyoncé and Kelly Rowland, Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes, Pharrell, Jimmy Jam and L.A. Reid. Prefaced by rousing performances from the aforementioned performers, an emotional Carey took the stage.
"I'm sweating and crying … I don't know which way I'm going. But I'm happy to be here," she said. "Oh my goodness, the singing tonight. I can't thank you enough for doing something beautiful with the songs I wrote. I'm so humbled by this moment. A lot of people still don't know I write my music. Singing material so close to my heart tonight … it has helped change my life."
Both Drake and Lil Wayne tied with songwriter credits each on seven songs that rank among the year's most-performed tunes. Among the credits helping Drake claim his second consecutive songwriter of the year are the hits "Aston Martin Music," "Headlines," "Moment 4 Life" and "What's My Name?" Lil Wayne's credits include several co-writes with Drake (including "She Will") plus "6 Foot 7 Foot," "How to Love," "Look at Me Now" and "Motivation."
Sharing song of the year kudos with Minaj were the song's other co-writers, Ester Dean and Daniel "Kane Beatz" Johnson. And songwriter/producer Wansel was saluted for his work on hit songs by an array of acts, including Trey Songz, Drake, Minaj, Kelly Rowland and Britney Spears. EMI earned top publisher thanks to 17 songs, including "All of the Lights," "Aston Martin Music" and "Ni**as in Paris."
T-Pain hits the red carpet alongside BMI president and CEO Del Bryant. (Photo: Maury Phillips/Getty Images)
Rapper Mac Miller also won BMI's first-ever Social Star Award. Spotlighting the BMI urban songwriter who best demonstrates the power of social media, the award was presented by Spotify and voted on by fans via Twitter.
BMI earlier saluted its urban songwriters during a pre-awards cocktail mixer at the London West Hollywood's rooftop bar on Sept. 5 (see photos below). A host of songwriters and producers attended the Hennessy V.S. and Monster-presented event, including Hit-Boy, Patrick "J-Que" Smith, Sir Elijah Blake, the Stereotypes' Jon Yip and Audiopush. Trending topics at the mixer included Jay-Z and Budweiser's successful Made in America festival and MTV's VMA Awards.
Chilling at BMI's pre-Urban Awards cocktail mixer on at the London West Hollywood Sept. 5 are (from left) Hennessy West region marketing manager Thuy-anh Nguyen, BMI president/CEO Del Bryant, Monster president Noel Lee and BMI VP of writer/publisher relations Catherine Brewton and senior VP of repertoire & licensing Mike O'Neill. (Photo: Arnold Turner)
From left: BMI's Catherine Brewton is joined by producer Hit-Boy, KPWR (Power 106) Los Angeles midday host/assistant music director Yesi Ortiz and BMI director of writer/publisher relations Nicole Plantin. (Photo: Arnold Turner)