The night began with Nas and ended with Mariah Carey, so it's safe to say that the BMI Urban Awards was a celebration of Hip Hop and R&B from beginning to end. The event, held at the Saban Theatre in Beverly Hills, California, honored Mariah Carey as a BMI Icon and awarded several other artists for their work throughout the year in music. Nicki Minaj's "Super Bass," for instance, won "Song of the Year," while Drake and Lil Wayne shared "Songwriter of the Year" honors.
Nas began his set by honoring the memory of Chris Lighty. He then put forth a medley of hits ranging from "It Ain't Hard to Tell," to this year's "Daughters." Future also performed his hits including "Magic." As the show continued, it was clear that the night belonged to Mariah Carey. She entered the venue with husband Nick Cannon beside her, sitting down in the front row for her tribute.
BMI President and CEO Del Bryant spoke highly of Mariah, praising her dedication, her longevity and her body of work. While he made sure to celebrate her singing, he also pointed out that her songwriting is often overlooked but that the BMI Icon award was being given to her for the work she put into songwriting over the years. Jermaine Dupri then took over as a deejay, spinning some of Mariah's most touted celebratory, upbeat tracks before Joe, Eric Benet, Karen Clark Sheard and Fantasia paid homage with tribute performances.
"Mariah's a fucking legend, yo. This is tight," Mac Miller shared with HipHopDX before the event, where he was honored as BMI's Social Star. "I'm about to see Mariah Carey. That's crazy. I can't wait."
Future shared Mac's sentiments with DX, adding that he's also influenced by her longevity in the music world.
"To see how long her career has gone, you want to have a career. That's what you call longevity. That's what I want, a career - not just hits, a career."
When Mariah Carey took the stage to receive her award, she thanked fans and artists she has worked with while drying her tears of joy but also added something to what Future shared with us. She said she wanted to continue working to hopefully continue getting awards like this, a sign of greater longevity to come.
"I'm humbled, thankful and grateful," she added. "Thank you."
Photo courtesy of Maury Phillips/Getty Images.