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ASCAP Honors A Tribe Called Quest during its 29th Annual Rhythm & Soul Music Awards
By Brittany K. Jackson
Published July 5, 2016

The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) recently hosted its 29th Annual Rhythm & Soul Music Awards last Thursday at The Beverly Wilshire Hotel. ASCAP, whose mission is to license and protect the music rights of artists, and to facilitate proper distribution of their music to promote fair compensation, set out to honor the best in songwriting and publishing for its 2015 membership and most performed songs on the R&B, hip-hop, rap and gospel charts.

BEVERLY HILLS, CA - JUNE 23:  (L-R) Rapper Ali Shaheed Muhammad of A Tribe Called Quest, Cheryl Boyce-Taylor, mother of the late rapper Phife Dawg, recipients of the ASCAP Golden Note Award, ASCAP EVP of Membership John Titta, rappers Jarobi White and Q-Tip of A Tribe Called Quest, recipients of the ASCAP Golden Note Award, ASCAP SVP of Membership Nicole George Middleton, and presenter Andre 3000 pose at the 2016 ASCAP Rhythm & Soul Awards at the Beverly Wilshire Four Seasons Hotel on June 23, 2016 in Beverly Hills, California.  (Photo by Maury Phillips/Getty Images for ASCAP)

BEVERLY HILLS, CA – JUNE 23: (L-R) Rapper Ali Shaheed Muhammad of A Tribe Called Quest, Cheryl Boyce-Taylor, mother of the late rapper Phife Dawg, recipients of the ASCAP Golden Note Award, ASCAP EVP of Membership John Titta, rappers Jarobi White and Q-Tip of A Tribe Called Quest, recipients of the ASCAP Golden Note Award, ASCAP SVP of Membership Nicole George Middleton, and presenter Andre 3000 pose at the 2016 ASCAP Rhythm & Soul Awards at the Beverly Wilshire Four Seasons Hotel on June 23, 2016 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Maury Phillips/Getty Images for ASCAP)

Paul Williams, ASCAP’s President, shared with the Sentinel more about the organization and its mission. “It’s an amazing organization of over 580,000 songwriters, composers, publishers and the most amazing talent in the world, We’re 101 years old and we don’t look a day over 99,” Williams declared.

Senior Vice President of ASCAP’s Rhythm & Soul division, Nicole George-Middleton, continued to this end, stating that “ASCAP is really on the frontlines of advocacy,” and their main goal is to “make sure that songwriters get paid fairly for the exploitation of their work.”

 

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A Tribe Called Quest, noted as one of the most “prolific hip-hop bands in the world,” received ASCAP’s Golden Note Award for their legendary contribution to the music world, in addition to the posthumous recognition of Malik “Phife Dawg” Taylor. “It feels kind of sad to be honored without him. Phife loved this part, and he put a lot of his heart and spirit into the music. It would’ve been nice for him to hear the applause, but I know he’ll hear the applause, and we’re just trying to support and represent for the group,” original member Ali Shaheed Muhammad emotionally stated. Andre 3000 presented the award, captivating the crowd with his intuitively creative nature.

“It’s a challenging time in the world of streaming and a large part of what we do is about advocacy, about spending time in DC talking to the rest of the world and the people that make the laws about the fact that songwriters are the most heavily regulated small businessmen and women in the world, and that makes no sense. It makes no sense at all,” Williams continued.

The Sentinel also asked artist how ASCAP has helped their business IQ when it comes to music. Kid Ink, who says he formerly hated doing the paperwork associated with protecting his music, says he absolutely understands its’ importance now. “You definitely want to register and get your stuff together businesswise and sometimes being a creative person you don’t think about that kind of stuff,” he said.

Erica Campbell, who’s recently branched out into another realm of music, launching her new radio show, “Get Up” with Erica Campbell, says she has a new found understanding of the role advertising and sales play in the distribution of music. “It makes me look at songs being played a little differently. ASCAP for me makes me feel covered as a songwriter,” she said. “I think it’s real easy for an artist or creative person to just go, ‘I just want to sing and I just want to write’, and I’ve never been that way. I want to know about the contract, I want to know who I’m signing, when you’re collecting, what you’re collecting, what’s my percentage, what’s yours, when I’m getting mine, and when you’re getting yours, so I think being a smart artist has allowed me to still be here,” Campbell emphatically declared.

R&N crooner Tank, who says he’s been a member of ASCAP since the 90s, says the organization “allows you the freedom to relax and be secure in the fact that that side of the business is being taken care of, and you can focus on what’s most important, it’s getting the music done,” Tank stated.

As some of the world’s greatest songwriters, composers and musicians continued to flood the red carpet, the party continued with a seated dinner featuring live entertainment and celebratory gestures at the live awards event. Ne-Yo, Wale, Anthony J. Brown, French Montana, and Remy Ma, Courtney Brian Wilson, and more all made special appearances.

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