Inside Billboard’s 2023 R&B/Hip Hop Power Players Event Honoring Lil Wayne, Nas, Ice Spice & More


On Tuesday night (Aug. 8), tons of of R&B and hip-hop executives gathered at Novo in downtown Los Angeles to have fun each other — and honor 50 unimaginable years of hip-hop.

Because the purple carpet began to jam with visitors desirous to get the night time began, these already inside Billboard’s 2023 R&B/Hip-Hop Energy Gamers occasion had been handled to a heat up set from DJ Jadaboo and handed meals courtesy of Fixins Soul Kitchen.

“I’m so excited to see Lil Wayne,” stated one attendee. In the meantime, fellow cowl star Nas was getting snug in a non-public sales space as Ice Spice did the identical one desk down.

Quickly, Billboard‘s chief model workplace Dana Droppo kicked issues off with a stellar introduction. She not solely set the tone for the night, but in addition launched Billboard government director, R&B/Hip-Hop, Gail Mitchell. “Gail is the first person to big up her team and the first to fight for coverage that she believes in,” stated Droppo. “Thank for you being a tireless champion of this music and of music journalism.”

Mitchell then took the stage (fittingly wearing gold to honor hip-hop’s fiftieth) and spoke about how 50 years in the past, the very style being celebrated tonight was dismissed as a fad. She then gave a particular shout out to High quality Management CEO Pierre Thomas, winner of Billboard‘s first-ever peer-voted R&B/Hip-Hop Power Players’ Selection Award, earlier than welcoming Antonio “L.A.” Reid to the stage, who introduced Larry Jackson along with his Govt of the Yr Trophy.

From Jackson’s impassioned speech — throughout which he learn a letter from Clive Davis to Billboard written in 1997 — to Lil Wayne revealing his post-party plans, under are the most effective moments from the particular night time.

  • Larry Jackson’s Fast Historical past Lesson

    Whereas accepting his award for Govt of the Yr, Larry Jackson — who this 12 months launched his leisure firm, gamma — stated, “This award is for the culture that we love and that we represent.” He then gave a shout out to his mentor, Clive Davis, and skim a letter the legend wrote in 1997 to Billboard‘s then-editor in chief.

    It stated: “I’m writing you not to complain about a particular review but to strongly protest what is clearly a personal crusade against the genre of rap albums, certainly the most successful of them.” Davis went on to quote evaluations of albums from Tupac, The Infamous B.I.G. and Puffy (Sean Combs), writing their newest releases on the time had been described as “tired” and “demeaning.” Jackson summarized, “He goes on to say that the trend is patently clear.”

    As Davis wrote: “The Billboard reviewers with pre-existing attitude should really disqualify themselves from the rap genre. They’re doing a tremendous disservice to the industry. The expected level of objective criticism is just not being met and the bias is much too blatant.”

    “It’s good I have your attention now – that was just 25 years ago,” stated Jackson. “I think we take the progress that we’ve had as a genre, that we’ve had as a people, that we’ve had as a culture, sometimes for granted — myself included.” He then defined what occurred quickly after that letter was acquired: “They had to hire Gail Mitchell. She then became the custodian, she then became the shepherd, she then became the guardian for us of our genre.”

    Earlier than exiting whereas deliberately leaving his award on the rostrum, he stated, “I accept this for all of us.”

  • Ice Spice Accepting Her First-Ever Award

    “She’s taken the world by storm, from the Met Gala to Met Life Stadium with Taylor Swift,” started Billboard R&B/Hip-Hop reporter Heran Mamo whereas introducing Ice Spice. Mamo then rattled off a formidable chart tally for the rising star, noting Spice has scored 4 prime 10 hits on the Billboard Sizzling 100 — all this 12 months.

    “She’s been crowned the People’s Princess by her fans,” continued Mamo, “but tonight she receives a new title: Billboard’s 2023 R&B/Hip-Hop Rookie of the Year.”

    Ice Spice stored her personal speech quick and candy, thanking her workforce and her followers and enthusiastically exclaiming: “This is my first award ever in life!”

  • Lil Wayne’s Hilarious Introduction

    After Mitchell rattled off some spectacular stats for the legendary Lil Wayne, together with his 5 Grammy Awards and 185 Sizzling 100 entries — together with 25 prime 10s — she welcomed Wayne to the stage “in his own words,” plucking a quote from her cowl story with the star, introducing him as: “a naturally, organically amazing, one of a kind, nothing can duplicate this motherf—er.”

    After warmly embracing Mitchell whereas laughing, Wayne — who was being honored for his induction into Billboard’s Hip-Hop Corridor of Fame — stated, “You already know I gotta give thanks to the man up above. Also those that we lost, those that we wish were here, we thank you as well… And to my fans, I think I worded it the best way when I said I ain’t shit without you. This is for y’all, y’all as in my fans, those in the crowd, my supporters, those that work for me, those that work with me, those that work around me, those that work like me. This is for us.”

    “Just another footnote,” he then added, “I ain’t stopping. They told me what time to be here, I was in the studio. They told me when I can leave, I’ll be going back tot he studio. Thank you, I love you all – Moolah!”

  • Nas’ Profound Realization

    “With six No. 1 albums and 16 top 10s on the Billboard 200 — which tied for the most ever amongst rappers… Nas is one of the most influential figures in hip-hop,” stated Carl Lamarre, Bilboard‘s deputy director of R&B/Hip-Hop.

    Lamarre then welcomed the icon himself to the stage, who started his speech with an eye-opening realization: “I’m starting to win awards in my third prime… I never won awards in the ’90s. 49 years old, I’m about to turn 50 along with hip-hop, man. And I’m starting to see awards.”

    “I didn’t get into it for awards, we got into it because we love the artform. 50 years of hip-hop and we have a concert at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx. 50 years of hip-hop saluting some of the pioneers who inspired me…since DJ Mr. Magic started rap radio, since Mally Mall at Red Alert made us record mixtapes of our own when this shit was underground. From seeing it from back then, I’m just so honored to still be alive to see it be 50 years as a fan. So I want to thank you all for getting awards at 49; Not when I was 29, but I appreciate you. I ain’t gonna lie, I stayed away from award shows back then, I thought that shit was the devil … But it ain’t. You make it what it is.”

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