Timbaland and Jay Z tied for songwriter of the year, and Sony/ATV claimed publisher of the year. But it was Golden Note honoree Ms. Lauryn Hill whose energizing performance triggered a roomful of camera phones during the ASCAP Rhythm & Soul Music Awards last evening (June 25).
Held at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Los Angeles, the 28th annual ceremony also honored the songwriters and publishers of the most-performed ASCAP songs on the 2014 R&B, hip-hop, rap and gospel charts. Named top songs of the year: “Drunk in Love” written by Beyoncé, Jay Z and Timbaland (R&B/hip-hop), “Show Me” written by Jeremih and Kid Ink by Kid Ink (rap) and “I Can Only Imagine” written by Bart Millard (gospel). Collectively, Sony/ATV songwriters penned 24 of the most-performed songs.
Timbaland and an absent Jay Z tied with four songs apiece, including “Drunk in Love,” “Part II (on the Run)” and “Tom Ford.” Taking the stage, Timbaland prodded the audience to “give a round of applause for the thing we love to do — music.” Adding that it’s not awards but the next generation of talent that excites him, the Empire tunesmith threw shout-outs to K. Michelle (“You can sing your ass off”) and Jeremih (“You’re a bad dude who can write your ass off”) as well as writers Mike Will Made It and Matthew “Boi-1da” Samuels.
“Music isn’t about hating but congratulating,” continued Timbaland, who also noted that Missy Elliott (“my rock”) will be returning with new music in July. “We’ve got to join together. All the young artists need to work together, not against each other, and make magic.”
“Being creative has to do with having space,” remarked Hill upon being honored for her influential career. “I’ve always had family first and a support team to help me clear the road.” Then the singer/songwriter got down to business. As the ballroom crowd switched camera phones and bodies into motion, Hill — backed by a full band– launched into a five-song set that included “Ex-Factor,” “Lost Ones” and a vigorous “Everything Is Everything.”
Rounding out the evening were performances by Smokie Norful, D.R.A.M., Jazmine Sullivan and Migos. Sharing hosting duties: ASCAP’s CEO Beth Matthews, president Paul Williams and VP Rhythm & Soul Nicole George-Middleton.