Family of Notorious B.I.G. attends ASCAP’s tribute and awards event in honor of the iconic rapper (Courtesy Photo)

ASCAP returned to the Beverly Wilshire for the 30th annual ASCAP Rhythm and Soul Music Awards, presented by Revolt.  The invitation only event was attended by the who’s who of artists, producers, writers and publishers of the music industry. The venue was sprawling with talent and awards were presented to creators of some of the biggest R&B and gospel songs of 2016, including Remy Ma, Boi-1da, French Montana, Mike Will Made-It ParyNextDOOR, Yo Gotti and  2Chainz.

Attendees also had the pleasure of experiencing four remarkable performances from Jeremih (“Oui”), Tasha Cobbs Leonard (“Greater God”), Kyle (“iSpy” & “Nothing to Lose”) and H.E.R. (debut live performance).  The excitement of the room was riveting when H.E.R. was announced, as everyone anticipated whether or not she would reveal “her” identity.  To no surprise she maintained her mystery, and still had everyone in a trance with her dimly lit performance.

The night’s major honorees were iconic producers and songwriters Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis. The 34-year veterans were presented the Voice of Music Awards by Clarence Avant and chairman and ceo of Warner/Chappell Music Jon Platt. The Voice of Music Award is presented to songwriters and artists whose music gives voice to the spirit of a generation. Previous recipients of the ASCAP Voice of Music Award include Mary J. Blige, Diane Warren, Trisha Yearwood, The Doobie Brothers, Jimmy Webb, and Garth Brooks.

Jimmy Jam with company (Courtesy Photo)

The night was capped with a salute to the late Notorious BIG with a seamless DJ battle between DJ Clark Kent and DJ Enuff.  ASCAP presented the late iconic rapper with the Founders Awards, on the 20th anniversary of his death. His wife, Faith Evans, and children proudly accepted the award.  Sean “Diddy” Combs acknowledged Biggie’s legacy in a touching video, introducing his sons, Justin and Christian Combs, who presented the award.  It was like watching their legacy hand over the baton to the next generation.  The crowd sang and danced along with the tracks – witnessing everyone jam to their personal favorite Biggie track, was a great moment of nostalgia.

The Sentinel met up with MC Lyte on the red carpet to ask her which song was her favorite of Biggie’s – she replied, “Really?” She takes a moment to think, explaining how hard it is to choose only one. “10 Crack Commandments,” “Juicy,” “Sky’s the Limit,” his work with Total … too much to mention.” She goes on to say, “he’s definitely deserving of his accolades.”

After the awards ceremony everyone continued the celebration in the lobby with euphoric vibes from the music and inspiring words from the honorees. In the words of the late B.I.G. “it was all a dream.”

Remy Ma (Courtesy Photo)