R&B/hip-hop heavyweights T-Pain, Lil Wayne, Polow Da Don and Kanye West were among those honored at tonight’s BMI Urban Awards. Sharing songwriter of the year accolades were T-Pain and Lil Wayne, while producers Polow Da Don and West were both saluted as producer of the year.
The annual event—hosted by BMI president/CEO Del Bryant and VP, writer/publisher relations Catherine Brewton, was held at Frederick P. Rose Hall, Home of Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York City.
The night’s other top honorees included song of the year winner “No Air.” Sung by Jordin Sparks and featuring Chris Brown, the song was written by Erik Griggs. Universal Music Publishing Group won its second consecutive publisher of the year statuette. In addition to “No Air,” the 15 hits that UMPG placed on BMI’s most-performed list included Mariah Carey’s “Touch My Body” and Alicia Keys’ “Teenage Love Affair.” T-Pain and Lil Wayne each contributed six songs on that list, including “A Milli,” “Lollipop,” “Can’t Believe It” and “Low.”
Rounding out BMI’s roster of top urban producers over the past year were L.O.S. Da Mystro, Jim Jonsin, T-Pain and JR Rotem.
Capping the evening was the presentation of BMI’s Icon Award to funk pioneer George Clinton. He joined such previous Icon honorees as the Jacksons, James Brown and Gloria Estefan. The accompanying musical tribute featured performances of Clinton classics by Cee-Lo Green, Nikka Costa, Bootsy Collins, Janelle Monae, Gym Class Heroes’ Travis McCoy, Dallas Austin, Big Gipp and OutKast’s Big Boi.