Published on September 10th, 2023 | by Jessica Williams0
2023 BMI R&B/Hip Hop Awards Honored Lil Wayne With The BMI Icon Award
BMI (Broadcast Music, Inc.) honored the best in R&B and Hip-Hop during the 2023 R&B/Hip-Hop Awards, hosted at LIV Nightclub Miami Beach. The highlight of the evening was the presentation of the prestigious BMI Icon Award, the night’s highest honor, to Lil Wayne, while Ice Spice received the BMI Impact Award, marking the historic first time this award was given in the 23-year history of the ceremony. Additionally, the event featured announcements for 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 United States for the previous year. This evening also commemorated the 50th Anniversary of Hip-Hop, paying homage to its enduring legacy and profound influence on music creators and fans across generations with iconic performances by some of the genre’s most prominent names. This exclusive gathering was hosted by BMI President & CEO Mike O’Neill and BMI Vice President, Creative, Atlanta, Catherine Brewton.
Having been a cherished member of the BMI family for over two decades, Lil Wayne boasts an impressive record of 53 BMI Awards, has been honored as BMI Songwriter of the Year four times, and has now added the prestigious BMI Icon Award to his illustrious collection of accolades. In a heartfelt presentation by O’Neill and Brewton, this five-time GRAMMY® Award-winning superstar was celebrated for his transformative impact on Hip-Hop, inspiring countless artists in today’s scene. Notably, Lil Wayne’s influence extends beyond music, as he is recognized as a distinguished music executive, visionary entrepreneur, and dedicated philanthropist.
The tribute to Lil Wayne by R&B and Hip-Hop royalty was nothing short of electrifying. Big Freedia kicked off the festivities with a captivating medley, followed by Bobby V’s rendition of “Mrs. Officer.” NLE Choppa further ignited the audience with his take on “A Milli,” and the tribute reached its zenith with a remarkable performance by Trombone Shorty, adding a special touch to the evening’s celebration.
In his distinguished role as the 2023 BMI Icon, Lil Wayne joins an exclusive fraternity of music visionaries who have made an enduring and singular impact on successive generations of music creators. This esteemed cohort includes influencers such as Busta Rhymes, Janet Jackson, Patti LaBelle, Nile Rodgers, Snoop Dogg, The Jacksons, LA Reid, Babyface, Al Green, Isaac Hayes, James Brown, and many others.
Earlier during the evening’s festivities, the BMI Impact Award was bestowed upon the Bronx-based rapper and songwriter, Ice Spice, in recognition of her pioneering artistry, visionary creativity, and her profound influence on the future of music. As one of the standout breakthrough artists of the year, Ice Spice initially burst onto the social media scene with her viral sensation, “Munch.” Within just two years, she achieved the remarkable feat of securing four Top 10 hits on the Hot 100 chart, collaborating with renowned artists such as Pink Pantheress, Nicki Minaj & Aqua, and Taylor Swift, among others. Notably, Ice Spice also boasts the highest number of top-five singles on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart for the year 2023 and has already accumulated a host of prestigious 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 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 on “Back That Azz Up” and Capella Grey on “Gyalis.”
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.
To see a complete list of winners, please visit https://www.bmi.com/randbhiphop2023