NEW YORK — Ghostface and Mobb Deep performed, and Fat Joe, Loon, Bad Boy's Da Band and members of D-Block showed up to show love, but on Wednesday night at Club Speed the DJs were the main stars.
Record spinners like Kay Slay, DJ Vlad, Ron G., Kid Capri, Sickamore, Mister Cee and Green Lantern rubbed shoulders with their peers during the eighth annual Mixtape Awards.
"All the labels want to be a part of it," Mixtape Awards founder and producer Justo Faison said Wednesday night. "All the artists want to be a part. The DJs wanna be here, they know what it's about. This is a big event for them. We got like 2,000 people inside and 2,000 outside. We're doing all right."
DJ Big Mike did great. He took home Best Hip-Hop Mixtape DJ and Best Mixtape Duo along with Kay Slay. Slay won Best Commercial Mixtape DJ. The Harlem Drama King was retired from the night's plum category, Best Mixtape DJ. Slay won that honor three years in a row, so this time around he made way for the 2004 champ, the G-Unit's own Whoo Kid. Lloyd Banks also held it down for 50 Cent's musical family — "The Boy Wonder" won Best Artist on a Mixtape.
"This is good, man," said Grafh, who emerged on the mixtapes last year. "I think the DJs deserve their recognition. A street artist like myself would have never got heard nationally. [Mixtapes] are the only way to eat right now if you ain't got big-time radio on lock. I just rocked every mixtape I could get on. Then I started a big buzz and ended up in a bidding war between all the majors. Sony was talking the talk so they got a hold of the kid. Making the transition was easy. I still do it for the streets." Grafh's success story includes appearances on remixes by labelmates like Michael Jackson, Beyoncé and Ginuwine.
Faison is already planning his next turntablists shindig: He has the Justo Global DJ Awards coming in August.
"It's going to be for all DJs over the planet," Faison said. "I thought about it because when Jam Master Jay passed away, we didn't have no real way to represent Jay besides saying, 'Yo, we're sorry Jay is gone.' I been repping mixtape DJs, now it's time to rep all DJs. I'm always for the underdog, mixtape DJs were the underdogs, now they're the strong horse."
Besides the Mobb and Ghost, Pitch Black and new singer Teedra Moses took to the stage for performances.
Winners of the eighth annual Mixtape Awards:
- Best Mixtape of the Year: DJ Vlad, Dirty Harry, & DJ Green Latern
- Best Mixtape Producer: Green Lantern
- Best Commercial Mixtape DJ: Kay Slay
- Best Dirty South Mixtape DJ: Michael 5000 Watts & DJ Ron C
- Best Artist on a Mixtape: Lloyd Banks
- Best Mixtape Personality: Sickamore
- Best West Coast Mixtape DJ: DJ Warrior
- Best Midwest Mixtape DJ: G-Spot
- Best Skillz on a Mixtape: DJ Juice
- Best Club Mixtape DJ: Mister Cee
- Best Mixtape Duo: Kay Slay & Big Mike
- Best Promotional Mixtape: Don Diva
- Best Female Mixtape DJ: Lazy K
- Best Underground Mixtape DJ: J-Love
- Best Hip-Hop Mixtape DJ: Big Mike
- Best Reggae Mixtape DJ: Soul Controllers
- Best Blends Mixtape DJ: J-Faire
- Best R&B Mixtape DJ: Absolut
- Rookie of the Year: DJ L
- Best New Mixtape DJ: P-Cutta
- Best Mixtape DJ: Whoo Kid
- Best Radio Mixtape DJ: Cosmic Kev
- Best Graphics on a Mixtape: Four Five
- Best Mixtape Team: Get Money Nation