The evening featured performances by rapper Gucci Mane, R&B singer/songwriter Dondria and R&B artist Miguel, and was attended by some of the top names in music, including Dr. Dre, Eminem, Prince, Janelle Monáe, Big Boi, Ne-Yo, T.I., Flo Rida, Gucci Mane, DJ Kid Capri, Jermaine Dupri, Johntá Austin, Manuel Seal, C. “Tricky” Stewart, The-Dream, Jimmy Jam, Bruno Mars, Jeremih, Twista, Keyshia Cole, Kandi Burruss, Warryn Campbell, Dorrough, Dre & Vidal, James Fortune, Chuck Harmony, Thaddis “Kuk” Harrell, Rob Knox, Matthew “Boi-1da” Samuels, and Terence Vaughn among many others.
Top awards were handed out to:
* Songwriters of the Year (tie): Ne-Yo, C. “Tricky” Stewart and The-Dream
* Song of the Decade: “We Belong Together” written by Jermaine Dupri, Johntá Austin and Manuel Seal
* Top Rap Song: “Best I Ever Had” written by Matthew “Boi-1da” Samuels
* Top R&B/Hip-Hop Song: “Blame It” written by Christopher Henderson, Brandon “Note” Melancon, The-Dream, C. “Tricky” Stewart and Nate Walka
* Top Gospel Song: “Souled Out” written by Ernest Estee Bullock
* Publisher of the Year: EMI Music Publishing
One of the evening’s highlights was a special tribute to hip-hop pioneer Dr. Dre, who was honored with ASCAP’s Founders Award in recognition of “his achievements as a producer, rapper, entrepreneur and icon whose creative genius continues to shape the course of music.” To celebrate the legendary producer, Kid Capri performed a DJ set chronicling his career, and surprise guest Eminem shared some personal remarks and co-presented the award with ASCAP President and Chairman Paul Williams.
The ASCAP Founders Award is among the most prestigious honors that ASCAP gives to songwriters and composers who have made pioneering contributions to music by inspiring and influencing their fellow music creators. Each recipient is a musical innovator who possesses a unique style of creative genius that will enrich generations to come. Past recipients include Garth Brooks, Stevie Wonder, Billy Joel, Smokey Robinson, Paul McCartney, Ashford & Simpson, Patti Smith, and Berry Gordy Jr. and Motown Industries.
Singer, songwriter, producer, and performer Janelle Monáe was presented with ASCAP’s Vanguard Award, which recognizes the impact of musical genres that help shape the future of American music. Big Boi, one half of the famed duo OutKast, spoke fondly about the success of his good friend and co-presented the award with ASCAP Vice President of Membership, Rhythm & Soul Nicole George.
Past ASCAP Vanguard Award honorees include The Killers, Santigold, Sara Bareilles, The All-American Rejects, The Strokes, and the Beastie Boys.
Jimmy Jam presented ASCAP’s coveted Songwriter of the Year award to R&B superstar Ne-Yo and songwriting/production duo C. “Tricky” Stewart & The-Dream, who tied with six award-winning songs each.
Ne-Yo was honored for “Mad,” “Miss Independent” and the bonus track “She Got Her Own” from his platinum-selling album Year of the Gentleman, as well as for three songs that he penned for other artists — “Epiphany (I’m Leaving)” by Chrisette Michelle, “Knock You Down” by Kerri Hilson featuring Kanye West and Ne-Yo, and “Spotlight” by Jennifer Hudson. This is Ne-Yo’s first time being named Songwriter of the Year.
C. “Tricky” Stewart & The-Dream were honored for “Blame It” by Jamie Foxx featuring T-Pain, “Just Like Me” by Jamie Foxx featuring T.I., “Rockin’ That Thang” by The-Dream, “Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It)” by Beyoncé, “Throw It In The Bag” by Fabolous featuring The-Dream and “Trading Places” by Usher.
Atlanta rapper T.I. presented the Song of the Decade Award to fellow Atlantans Johntá Austin, Jermaine Dupri and Manuel Seal for their work on Mariah Carey’s massive hit, “We Belong Together.” The song topped the Billboard charts, won two Grammy Awards for Best R&B Song and Best Female R&B Vocal Performance, and was named ASCAP Pop Song of the Year in 2006.
Top Song Awards went to Drake’s “Best I Ever Had” written by Matthew “Boi-1da” Samuels, which was named Top Rap Song and also claimed an award in the R&B/Hip-Hop category; “Blame It” by Jamie Foxx featuring T-Pain, which earned writers Christopher Henderson, Brandon “Note” Melancon, The-Dream, C. “Tricky” Stewart and Nate Walka the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Song award; and Hezekiah Walker’s “Souled Out” written by Ernest Estee Bullock, which was named Top Gospel Song.
ASCAP Publisher of the Year honors went to EMI Music Publishing who was honored for 22 award-winning songs. This is the 16th consecutive win for EMI and the 18th time in the 23-year history of the awards show that they have received this honor. ASCAP CEO John A. LoFrumento presented the award to EMI’s President of North American Creative Jon Platt and his creative team.
The complete list of winners is available at www.ascap.com.