Over 700 music and entertainment luminaries gathered at the 19th Annual ASCAP Rhythm and Soul Music Awards, held June 26, 2006 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Los Angeles, CA, to celebrate some of today's most popular music as awards were presented to the songwriters and publishers of the most performed ASCAP songs on the 2005 R&B/Hip-Hop, Rap, Reggae and Gospel charts.
50 Cent and Jermaine "JD" Dupri were named Songwriters of the Year; EMI Music Publishing picked up the Publisher of the Year title; Soundtrack Song of the Year honors went to Amerie's "1 Thing" from the movie "Hitch"; Sean Paul was named Reggae Artist of the Year; "Candy Shop" was named Ringtone of the Year; and awards for the Top Rap, R&B/Hip-Hop and Gospel Songs of the Year went to "How We Do," "Let Me Love You" and "Heaven," respectively. Co-hosted by multi-platinum award-winning superstar, Ciara, and ASCAP President and Chairman Marilyn Bergman, the evening was highlighted with the presentation of very special awards to LL Cool J and Bill Withers for their outstanding contributions to music.
With five award-winning songs apiece, 50 Cent and Jermaine "JD" Dupri shared the coveted Songwriter of the Year honors.
Recently named Songwriter of the Year at ASCAP's 2006 Pop Music Awards, 50 Cent was honored for his contributions to five award-winning songs -- "Candy Shop," "Disco Inferno," Hate It Or Love It," "How We Do" and "Just A Lil Bit" -- which were saluted in both the Rap and R&B/Hip-Hop categories. "How We Do," co-written with Dr. Dre, The Game and Mike Elizondo, and "Candy Shop," co-written with Scott Storch, also earned 50 Cent this year's Top Rap Song and Ringtone of the Year honors, respectively. This is the second time that 50 Cent has been named ASCAP Rhythm & Soul Songwriter of the Year, and his second consecutive win for Ringtone of the Year.
Jermaine "JD" Dupri was honored for "Let Me Hold You," "Like You," "My Boo," "Shake It Off" and "We Belong Together." All five songs were saluted in the R&B/Hip-Hop category and "Let Me Hold You" and "Like You" were also recognized in the Rap category. This is JD's second consecutive win and his fifth time being named ASCAP Rhythm & Soul Songwriter of the Year. JD was the recipient of the prestigious ASCAP Golden Note Award in 2005 in recognition of his groundbreaking achievements.
EMI Music Publishing was named Publisher of the Year for their 16 award-winning songs: "1 Thing," "Be Blessed," "Bring Em Out," "Give Me That," "Heaven," "I'm A Hustla," "Let Me Hold You," "Let Me Love You," "Like You," "My Boo," "O," "Pray," "Shake It Off," "Truth Is," "U Already Know," and "We Belong Together." This is the twelfth consecutive win for EMI and the fourteenth time in the 19-year history of the awards show that they have received this honor. ASCAP Executive VP and Director of Membership Todd Brabec presented the award to EMI Chairman and CEO Martin Bandier who was joined on stage by members of his creative team.
Marilyn Bergman and Executive VP of Warner Music Group Kevin Liles co-presented the ASCAP Golden Note Award to LL Cool J in recognition of his enduring contributions to hip-hop music, both as a songwriter and artist, which have earned him an extraordinary place in American popular music worldwide. As part of the tribute to the legendary rapper, DJ Scratch brought the audience to their feet by spinning a medley of LL's hits. Scratch produced several tracks on the chart-topping album "G.O.A.T.," in addition to "Shut Em Down," the soundtrack to "Any Given Sunday" featuring LL Cool J.
The ASCAP Golden Note Award is given to songwriters and composers who have achieved extraordinary milestones. Past recipients include Garth Brooks, Sean "Diddy" Combs, Jermaine Dupri, Jose Feliciano, Alan Jackson, Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis, Jay-Z, Quincy Jones, Tom Petty, Michael W. Smith, Mark Snow and Stevie Wonder, among others.
Kori Withers joined Marilyn Bergman onstage to present the ASCAP Rhythm & Soul Heritage Award to Bill Withers in recognition of his outstanding achievements as a songwriter and artist whose beautiful and heartfelt songs have enriched generations. A special musical tribute to the R&B veteran included live performances by Verve Records recording artist Ledisi, Blackground Records recording artist Tank and Kajmere Sound recording artist Sy Smith, who, under the direction of Michael Bearden, were backed by the Rhythm & Soul house band featuring Trevor Lawrence, Alex Al, Dave Foreman, Kevin Ricard, Will Wheaton and Valerie Pinkston.
The ASCAP Rhythm & Soul Heritage Award is given to ASCAP members who have had a major impact on the legacy of Rhythm and Soul music. Bill Withers joins a select group of recipients including Peabo Bryson, Earth, Wind & Fire, Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis, Rick James and Chaka Khan.
In addition to DJ Scratch, Ledisi, Tank and Sy Smith, the evening also featured a special performance by Top Gospel Song of the Year honorees Mary Mary, who performed their winning song "Heaven." Co-written by Erica Campbell, Tina Campbell, Joi Campbell and Warryn Campbell, the song also earned Mary Mary a Stellar Award for Urban/Inspirational Single/Performance of the Year at the 2006 Stellar Gospel Music Awards.
Soundtrack Song of the Year honors went to "1 Thing" from the movie "Hitch." Co-written by Amerie and Stanley E. Walden, the song was the lead single from Amerie's second album "Touch," which peaked at #3 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums Chart.
Sean Paul was named Reggae Artist of the Year for the third consecutive year. "The Trinity," the highly anticipated follow-up to his Grammy-winning breakthrough album, "Dutty Rock," reached #1 on the Top Reggae Albums Chart and saw the dancehall reggae artist collaborate with some of the hottest young producers on the Jamaican dancehall circuit.
"Let Me Love You," the lead single off Mario's sophomore album "Turning Point," was named Top R&B/Hip-Hop Song. Co-written by Kameron "Kam" Houff and Scott Storch, the song reached #1 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles and Tracks Charts.
Among the songwriters with multiple award-winning songs were: 50 Cent and Jermaine Dupri with five each; Johntà Austin, Destiny's Child's Beyoncé, Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams, Missy Elliott, Scott Storch and T.I. with three each; and Ciara, Jay-Z, Ludacris, Manuel Seal and The Game with two each.
Among the honorees and notables in attendance were LL Cool J, Bill Withers, Jermaine "JD" Dupri, Ciara, Johntà Austin, Destiny's Child's Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams, Mary Mary, Missy Elliott, Manuel Seal, Adonis, Earth, Wind & Fire's Verdine White, Antonio Dixon, Big Boi, Big Jim Wright, Bun-B, Carl Thomas, Chante Moore, Charles "Chuck" Jackson, Chamillionaire, Clarence Avant, David Banner, DJ Scratch, Dre & Vidal, Focus..., Goapele, Harvey Mason, Jr. & Damon Thomas (The Underdogs), J. Moss, Jagged Edge, James Fortune, Jaron "The Kid Slim" Alston, Jeremy Allen, Jimmy Jam, Kenny Lattimore, Kevin Liles, Lamont Dozier, Ledisi, Lo, Lyfe, Mathew Knowles, MC Lyte, Michael Bearden, Polow, Q, Ricky Bell & Ralph Tresvant of New Edition, Robert "EST" Waller, Swizz Beatz, Sy Smith, Tab Nkhereanye, Tamar Davis, Tank, Teraike "Chris Styles" Crawford, Terry Lewis and The Soul Seekers, among others.
For the complete list of winners, photos and interviews with LL Cool J and Bill Withers, please go to www.ascap.com.