Representing the best of both worlds, Usher and 50 Cent tied for top winner at the Billboard/American Urban Radio Networks (AURN) 2005 R&B/Hip-Hop Awards show. The popular R&B and rap/hip-hop artists earned three statuettes each at the Aug. 5 ceremony.
Mario and Alicia Keys tied with two awards each and Jonathan “Lil’ Jon” Smith, who led the field of finalists at the outset with five nods, earned kudos as top R&B/hip-hop producer.
Staged at local club the Compound, the evening wrapped the sixth annual Billboard/AURN R&B/Hip-Hop Conference (Aug. 3-5). It was the conference and award show’s first time in Atlanta following previous years in Miami and New York.
Usher’s wins included top R&B/hip-hop artist, top R&B/hip-hop artist (male) and top R&B/hip-hop singles & tracks artist. 50 Cent’s “The Massacre” landed the rapper plaudits for top R&B/hip-hop album, top rap album and top R&B/hip-hop albums artist.
Keys, awarded a statuette for top R&B/hip-hop songwriter, was also named top R&B/hip-hop female artist. Mario’s R&B/pop crossover No. 1, “Let Me Love You,” earned accolades for top R&B/hip-hop single and top R&B/hip-hop airplay single.
Newcomers Fantasia and the Game became first-time R&B/hip-hop award winners. Fantasia’s “I Believe” won top R&B/hip-hop single in the sales category. The Game claimed the new R&B/hip-hop artist award. Destiny’s Child, who will disband following its current tour, was awarded top R&B/hip-hop duo or group.
Interscope wrested the top R&B/hip-hop major label title from last year’s winner, Island Def Jam Music Group. Repeating as the top independent label was TVT.
Chaka Khan and A Tribe Called Quest were this year’s Founders Awards honorees in R&B and hip-hop, respectively. These special awards acknowledge achievements by pioneering artists. Khan and Tribe join previous recipients Isaac Hayes, KRS-One, Betty Wright, Grandmaster Flash, the Isley Brothers and Afrika Bambaataa.
Comprising 17 categories, the Billboard/AURN R&B/Hip-Hop Awards honor the most popular albums, songs and artists, as well as the top songwriters, producers and major/independent labels. The awards are based on sales data from Nielsen SoundScan and radio airplay information from Nielsen Broadcast Data Systems.
Finalists and winners reflect the performance of recordings on the Billboard R&B/hip-hop and rap charts from the May 29, 2004 issue through the May 21, 2005 issue. New artists are those who have not appeared on a Billboard album chart prior to the March 27, 2004 issue, or have not been a new artist finalist in the past.
For a complete list of winners for the 2005 Billboard/AURN R&B/Hip-Hop Awards, please visit billboardevents.com.