Pittsburgh Hip Hop Awards roll with the punches
In a year when the forces of nature, lengthy delays and a stage-clearing brawl threatened to bring the fourth Annual Pittsburgh Hip Hop Awards to an abrupt end, the fact that the show went on at all could be considered a victory in itself. At least, that’s how organizer Dwayne Muhammad, CEO of 360 Entertainment, classified the evening.
“People dwell on the negative and I don’t have time for that,” he said. “No one else in the city is putting on events of this caliber for our local artists. This is Pittsburgh’s Grammys and not only do [the artists] benefit from the Pittsburgh Hip Hop Awards, but local businesses benefit, everyone benefits.”
However, any discussion of Sunday’s highlights — including performances by hip-hop legends X-Clan and the numerous awards showered on rising star Jasiri X — won’t dismiss some of its obvious lows.
The Hip Hop Awards kicked off Sunday evening with a red carpet event at 5:30 and a show scheduled to start at 7. The crowd was smaller than previous years due to rescheduling from snowstorms, with about 850 attendees. The show itself started about an hour late in an attempt to ensure all nominees were seated. And an enthusiastic performance by F-Block Records turned to a battle royale after an audience member threw trash in their direction and a member of the crew jumped off stage to settle the score.
But even as attendees saw the worst hip-hop award show stereotypes unfolding before their eyes, they also saw a level of cooperation not often associated with the aftermath of such an event. Paradise Gray of X Clan as well as other “elders” of local hip-hop broke up the fight and diffused tempers so that the show went on with an apology from F-Block not long after the disruption.
After emotions were calmed and the show was back on track, guests discussed how Mr. Muhammad could learn from what happened this year. Best Battle MC nominee Anymal said he could invest in more security, but should also allow nominees in the VIP section without paying for seats.
“People don’t have money to pay for $900 [VIP] tables,” he said.
Best Mixtape Nominee S-Money said performances should be limited to nominees and artists showing dedication. “It should be just certain people who perform because it’s a privilege to take the stage at an awards show,” he said.
Mr. Muhammad said he is open to suggestions for next year’s show, and even asked Sunday’s audience for ways to make it better. But if you ask him about this year, it’s hard to say if he’d change anything or simply embrace the lesson.
“Its always a highlight for me to have the awards show begin and end with no one hurt or killed,” he said. “So this fourth year’s highlight is to be able to have a better year for the fifth anniversary.”
2010 Pittsburgh Hip Hop Award Winners (partial list):
• CD of the Year: “American History X” Jasiri X
• Single of the Year: “Dear Debra” Jasiri X
• Best Male Artist: Wiz Khalifa
• Best Female Artist: Nina Ross
• Mixtape of the Year: “Deal or No Deal” Wiz Khalifa
• Producer of the Year: J Webb
• Best Video: “Live Free” Mac Miller
• Underground Artist of the Year: Commonwealth Family
• Performer of the Year: GMG
• Best Duo/Group: Formula 412
• Record Label of the Year: Sinate Sound
• Lyricist of the Year: Boaz
• Inspirational Artist of the Year: Jasiri X
Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10053/1037776-388.stm#ixzz0gN5pAc2S