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Usher, 50 Cent score big at Billboard awards

Each wins three statuettes at ceremony for R&B/hip-hop honors
/ Source: 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  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 Bambaataa.

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 billboardevents.com.