ASCAP brought together a community of recording artists, songwriters, and music industry leaders for its 26th annual Rhythm & Soul Awards Thursday (June 27). Kendrick Lamar, and Usher received top honors at the Beverly Hills ceremony.
While longtime fans know that Lamar's rise to rap stardom wasn't necessarily meteoric, the last year has seen the Compton native's hard work pay off twofold. The 25-year-old received ASCAP's Vanguard Award, recognizing the "impact of musical genres that help shape the future of American music."
Dr. Dre presented Lamar with the honor, calling the TDE frontman someone he's "proud" to work with. "He's an important part of a new generation of Hip-Hop," Dre told the audience inside the Beverly Hilton.
Usher earned the coveted Golden Note Award co-presented by L.A. Reid, Sean "Diddy" Combs, producer Terry Lewis and ASCAP president Paul Williams.
Other big awards went to 2 Chainz, and Noah "40" Shebib for Songwriters of the Year. Top R&B/Hip-Hop Song went to Beyoncé, Terius "The Dream" Nash, and Shea Taylor for "Love on Top," "Let the Church Say Amen" written by Andraé Crouchand, was named Top Gospel Song; and Sony/ATV Tunes LLC took home the Publisher of the Year accolade. Shebib also nabbed the Top Rap Song of the Year honor for Drake's "The Motto."
Elle Varner and Problem were among the night's performers, while attendees included Ne-Yo, Kandi Burruss, Tyrese Gibson, Michelle Williams, Jermaine Dupri, Bridget Kelly, Melanie Fiona, Stacy Barthe, Eric Bellinger, Da Internz, Drumma Boy, Rock City, No I.D., Kirko Bangz, and Tony, Toni Tone.
See video from Dre's speech (courtesy of Rap-Up TV), and event photos below.