BMI (Broadcast Music, Inc.) paid tribute to the best in R&B and Hip-Hop last night at its 2022 R&B/Hip-Hop Awards held at LIV Nightclub Miami Beach. Busta Rhymes was honored as the BMI Icon for the indelible and unique influence that he has had on the music industry and on generations of music creators. In addition, BMI’s R&B/Hip-Hop Producer of the Year, Song of the Year, Songwriter of the Year, Publisher of the Year and BMI’s top 35 most-performed pop songs in the U.S. of the previous year were also announced. The private event was hosted by BMI President & CEO Mike O’Neill and BMI Vice President, Creative (Atlanta) Catherine Brewton.
DJ Khaled welcomed the crowd and kicked off the celebration, while DJ Nasty kept everyone on their feet with sets throughout the evening. The music continued with soul trap singer and rapper Morray performing his hit songs, “Bad Situations” and “Quicksand,” and Nigerian singer/songwriter and producer Pheelz performing “Electricity” and his viral hit, “Finesse.”
During the celebration, BMI recognized the top producers and songwriters of the previous year’s 35 best-performing R&B/Hip-Hop songs in the U.S., leading up to the prestigious Song of the Year, which went to “Peaches,” written by Daniel Caesar, GIVĒON, Bernard “HARV” Harvey, Luis Manuel Martinez Jr. (Shndō) and Andrew Watt. The song entered Billboard’s Hot 100 Chart at number one and has been certified triple platinum by the RIAA.
D’Mile was presented with Producer of the Year for his work on “Fair Trade” by Drake and Travis Scott, and “Smokin Out The Window,” “Skate” and “Leave The Door Open” by Silk Sonic. Hitmakers Megan Thee Stallion and Christopher “YC” Pearson tied as Songwriter of the Year for each writing three of the most performed songs. Megan Thee Stallion was honored for “Body,” “Cry Baby” and “Thot Shit” and YC for his work on “Back in Blood,” “Time Today” and “Wockesha.”
Sony Music Publishing received 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, “Peaches,” as well as “Lemonade,” “Rapstar” and “Way 2 Sexy,” to name a few.
The evening closed with O’Neill introducing Busta Rhymes as the BMI Icon for his “defining impact on hip-hop and for mentoring the next generation of talent.” Before accepting his award, a video tribute was shown with some of Rhymes’ famous peers including Janet Jackson, Lil Wayne, Missy Elliot, Fat Joe and Mariah Carey sharing the love and respect they had for the iconic entertainer. Pharrell Williams was then called to the stage where he reminisced about his longstanding relationship with Rhymes noting that he felt “honored to be in the presence of someone who had the courage to be so different… and still does today.”
On receiving the evening’s highest honor, Rhymes commented, “We’re all blessed with this gift. It’s one thing to identify with the gift, it’s another thing to believe in it once you identify with it.” He went on to say, “The most beautiful part about it is I earned this… I’ve never been celebrated as an icon before, but I never had to question whether I was one.” Rhymes then performed a melody of some of his biggest hits such as “Break Ya Neck,” “Scenario”, and “Put Your Hands Where My Eyes Could See” with longtime friend and collaborator Spliff Star and DJ Scratchator. Pharrell closed the night by joining Rhymes onstage for an explosive performance of “Pass the Courvoisier.”
As the 2022 BMI Icon, Busta Rhymes joins an elite group of music creators who have received BMI’s highest honor. Previous recipients include Janet Jackson, Patti LaBelle, Nile Rodgers, Snoop Dogg, The Jacksons, LA Reid, Babyface, Al Green, Isaac Hayes, James Brown and more.