BMI (Broadcast Music, Inc.) paid tribute to the best in R&B and Hip-Hop last night at its 2023 R&B/Hip-Hop Awards held at LIV Nightclub Miami Beach. Lil Wayne received the night’s highest honor as the BMI Icon and Ice Spice was presented with the BMI Impact Award, marking the first time this award was given in the ceremony’s 23-year history. In addition, BMI’s R&B/Hip-Hop Songwriter of the Year, Song of the Year, Producer of the Year, Publisher of the Year and BMI’s Top 35 Most-Performed R&B/Hip-Hop Songs in the U.S. of the previous year were also announced. The evening also celebrated the 50th Anniversary of Hip-Hop, paying tribute to its legacy and continued influence on music creators and fans across multiple generations with historic performances by some of the genre’s biggest names. The private event was hosted by BMI President & CEO Mike O’Neill and BMI Vice President, Creative, Atlanta, Catherine Brewton.
As a member of the BMI family for more than 20 years, Lil Wayne has now received 53 BMI Awards, was named BMI Songwriter of the Year four times and now adds BMI Icon to his collection of accolades. O’Neill and Brewton presented the honor to the five-time GRAMMY® Award-winning superstar praising him for transforming Hip-Hop and influencing legions of rappers on the scene today. Beyond his success in music, he is a renowned music executive, entrepreneur, and philanthropist.
R&B and Hip-Hop royalty came out to pay tribute to Lil Wayne with electrifying performances of some of his most popular songs. Big Freedia opened with a medley, Bobby V followed with “Mrs. Officer,” NLE Choppa hyped the crowd with his version of “A Milli” and a special set from Trombone Shorty rounded out the tribute performances.
As the 2023 BMI Icon, Lil Wayne joins an elite group of music creators who have left an indelible mark and unique influence on generations of music makers, including Busta Rhymes, Janet Jackson, Patti LaBelle, Nile Rodgers, Snoop Dogg, The Jacksons, LA Reid, Babyface, Al Green, Isaac Hayes, James Brown and more.
Earlier in the evening, the BMI Impact Award was presented to Bronx-based rapper/songwriter Ice Spice for her groundbreaking artistry, creative vision, and impact on the future of music. As one of the year’s biggest breakout stars, Ice first exploded onto social media with her viral single “Munch.” In just two years, she has had four Hot 100 Top 10 hits, and collaborated with the likes of Pink Pantheress, Nicki Minaj & Aqua, and Taylor Swift, to name a few. Ice also has the most top-five singles on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart so far in 2023 and already collected numerous industry accolades.
In celebration of 50 years of Hip-Hop, BMI brought together multiple megastars for performances representing key locations in the history of the genre. For New York, Ja Rule performed a medley of his biggest hits including “New York,” “Livin’ It Up” and “Put It On Me,” while Doug E. Fresh and Vicious took the stage for a combination of several hip-hop classics including his hits, “La Di Da Di” and “Freaks” performed with Vicious. Too Short dedicated his set to the West Coast with “Shake That Monkey” and “Blow the Whistle.” Representing Atlanta, Ying Yang Twins performed a medley of “Whistle While You Twurk,” “Salt Shaker,” “Ms. New Booty,” “Wait (The Whisper Song),” “Say I Yi Yi,” and “Get Low.” Flo Milli introduced the Miami sounds of Trick Daddy and Trina before their performances of “Let’s Go,” “Da Baddest Bitch” and “Nann.” Additional crowd-rousing performances included Mannie Fresh and Capella Grey.
Over the course of the ceremony, BMI recognized the top producers and songwriters of the previous year’s 35 Most-Performed R&B/Hip-Hop Songs in the U.S., leading up to the prestigious Song of the Year, which went to “About Damn Time,” written by Ricky Reed and Blake Slatkin and performed by Lizzo. Songwriter of the Year was a three-way tie with Chris Brown (“Baddest,” “Come Through,” Under the Influence”), Doja Cat (“Get Into It (Yuh),” “Vegas,” “Woman”) and Tems (“Free Mind,” “Lift Me Up,” “Wait for U”) sharing the coveted title for each writing three of the previous year’s most performed songs.
Hitmakers Tay Keith and Lil Yachty each earned Producer of the Year with Keith honored for his work on hits such as “Jimmy Cooks” by Drake, “Rich Flex” by Drake and 21 Savage and “Hot Shit” by Cardi B featuring Kanye West and Lil Durk, and Yachty for “BackOutsideBoyz” and “Search & Rescue” by Drake and “Major Distribution” by Drake and 21 Savage. Additionally, ATL Jacob, Rob Bisel, Dougie F, Finatik N Zac, RiotUSA and Metro Boomin were also named top producers of the year during the ceremony.
Sony Music Publishing was named BMI’s R&B/Hip-Hop Publisher of the Year for representing 20 of the previous year’s most-performed songs including BMI’s R&B/Hip-Hop Song of the Year, “About Damn Time,” as well as “Break My Soul,” “Get Into It (Yuh)” and “First Class,” to name a few. S: BMI