August 6, 2005

Usher, 50 Cent top Billboard R&B/Hip-Hop Awards

By Gail Mitchell

ATLANTA (Billboard) - Popular music artists Usher and 50
Cent tied for top winner at the Billboard-American Urban Radio
Networks 2005 R&B/Hip-Hop Awards on Friday night.

The two performers each earned three statuettes. Tied at
two awards each were Mario and Alicia Keys. Jonathan "Lil Jon"
Smith, who led the field as a finalist in five categories,
earned kudos as top R&B/hip-hop producer.

The Aug. 5 ceremony, staged at the Compound nightclub in
Atlanta, wrapped the sixth annual Billboard-AURN R&B/Hip-Hop
Conference, which began Aug. 3. This was the first time the
conference and awards show were held in Atlanta; previous sites
were Miami and New York.

Usher's wins included top R&B/hip-hop artist, male artist
and singles artist. 50 Cent's "The Massacre" landed him
plaudits for top R&B/hip-hop album and albums artist, plus top
rap album.

Keys was awarded statuettes for top R&B/hip-hop songwriter
and female artist. Mario's R&B/pop No. 1 crossover single "Let
Me Love You" earned accolades for top R&B/hip-hop single and
single (airplay).

Fantasia and the Game were first-time R&B/hip-hop award
winners. Fantasia's "I Believe" won for top R&B/hip-hop single
(sales). The Game claimed the new R&B/hip-hop artist award.
Destiny's Child, which is disbanding after wrapping its current
tour in September, was awarded top R&B/hip-hop duo or group.

Interscope wrested the title of top R&B/hip-hop major label
from last year's winner, Island Def Jam Music Group. Repeating
as the top independent label was TVT.

Chaka Khan and A Tribe Called Quest were this year's
Founders Awards honorees in R&B and hip-hop, respectively.
These special awards acknowledge achievements by pioneering
artists. Previous recipients are Isaac Hayes, KRS-One, Betty
Wright, Grandmaster Flash, the Isley Brothers and Afrika

Rounding out the evening were performances by Ying Yang
Twins, Fatty Koo, Chris Brown and Keyshia Cole, as well as
guest appearances by Donell Jones, De La Soul, Jagged Edge and
Essence magazine co-founder Clarence Smith.

Comprising 17 categories, the Billboard-AURN R&B/Hip-Hop
Awards honor the most popular albums, songs and artists, as
well as the top songwriters, producers and major/independent
labels. The awards are based on sales data from Nielsen
SoundScan and radio airplay information from Nielsen Broadcast
Data Systems (sister companies of Billboard).

For a complete list of winners from the 2005 Billboard-AURN
R&B/Hip-Hop Awards, visit