The biggest and brightest stars and executives in the R&B and hip-hop world showed out at Billboard Live: R&B/Hip-Hop on Thursday night (Nov. 17) at Academy LA.
Billboard‘s deputy director, R&B/hip-hop Carl Lamarre and executive director, R&B/hip-hop Gail Mitchell started the evening’s festivities by thanking the R&B and hip-hop team, including reporters Neena Rouhani and Heran Mamo, and devoting a moment of silence to Takeoff, PnB Rock, Young Dolph, Pop Smoke, Nipsey Hussle and more rappers who have died in recent years.
Future, who currently stars on Billboard‘s cover, presented the Rookie of the Year award to Blxst, who recently came off a sold-out world tour and earned two 2023 Grammy nominations for album of the year with Kendrick Lamar’s Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers and best melodic rap performance with “Die Hard” by Lamar featuring himself and Amanda Reifer.
Fellow cover star SZA presented the Executive of the Year award to Tim Hinshaw, head of hip-hop & R&B at Amazon Music, who delivered a heartfelt speech that made sure there wasn’t a dry eye left in the room. And Vibe editor-in-chief Datwon Thomas presented the Rémy Martin x Vibe Impact and Excellence Award to SAINt JHN, which honors a musician who has made tremendous efforts in their community, as well as paving the way for the next generation of artists.
Opener Flo Milli performed songs from her 2020 debut mixtape Ho, Why Is You Here? and her 2022 album You Still Here, Ho? before City Girls took the stage and performed their hits such as “Jobs” and “P–sy Talk.”