NEW YORK — George Clinton was the night’s honoree, and [artist id=”510062″]Lil Wayne[/artist] and [artist id=”1230523″]Kanye West[/artist] were among the big winners, but Bootsy Collins undoubtedly stole the show at the 2009 BMI Urban Music Awards on Thursday night.
The famous bass player took part in the tribute to Clinton, which also included Outkast’s [artist id=”1526237″]Big Boi[/artist] and [artist id=”2122478″]Gnarls Barkley’s[/artist] Cee-Lo, among others. Collins, still the showman in his late 50s, led a party chant dedicated to his former Parliament-Funkadelic bandmate over “Atomic Dog.” Decked out in his trademark rhinestone-studded attire, Collins then ventured out into the crowd and, despite wearing platform shoes thicker than most phone books, began climbing over seats.
“Ain’t no party like a George Clinton party ’cause a George Clinton party don’t stop!” Collins yelled repeatedly as the crowd, filled with artists like [artist id=”2000082″]Rick Ross[/artist], [artist id=”2424899″]Polow Da Don[/artist] and [artist id=”1181737″]Bobby V[/artist], stood. “Everybody now!”
Clinton was honored as the BMI Icon — joining the likes of 2008 recipient Michael Jackson — as an influence to generations of songwriters and producers including Dr. Dre, Ice Cube and Outkast, all whom have sampled from his wide range of hits with Parliament-Funkadelic.
Janelle Monáe, Dallas Austin and Goodie Mob’s Big Gipp also paid tribute to Clinton, performing a number of his hits, including “Give Up the Funk (Tear the Roof off the Sucker),” “Flash Light” and “Bop Gun (Endangered Species).”
Ross kicked off the festivities, performing “Magnificent” and “Usual Suspects” from his recent album Deeper Than Rap. Songwriter and emerging artist Kevin Cossom joined the Miami rapper on the latter track. Cossom was later awarded for Keri Hilson’s “Knock You Down,” a #1 track he penned for the R&B star.
Kanye West and Polow Da Don shared the 2009 Producer of the Year award. West wasn’t in attendance at Lincoln Center’s Frederick P. Rose Hall, but Polow received a standing ovation from the audience, including peers like Bryan-Michael Cox, Cool & Dre and Tha Business.
Last year Polow was awarded the Songwriter of the Year trophy, but Auto-Tune bandits Lil Wayne and T-Pain scored the recognition this year. Neither were present, but T-Pain appeared via a pre-recorded video that aired on the big screen above the stage. Sporting Oakley shades, a gray T-shirt and gold necklaces, T-Pain thanked BMI for the honor and shouted, “Money, money, money!” in regards to the nod.
Jordin Sparks’ “No Air,” featuring Chris Brown, won Song of the Year, with songwriter Erik Griggs receiving recognition. The “American Idol” winner was not in attendance, nor was Brown, who was shouted-out earlier in the show.
T-Pain’s music talents were recognized again when he, Jim Jonsin, J.R. Rotem and Los Da Mystro were noted as 2009 Top Producers. Universal Music Publishing Group was tapped as the Publisher of the Year after dominating the charts with hits like Lil Wayne’s “Mrs. Officer,” Mariah Carey’s “Touch My Body” and Flo Rida’s “Low.”
Hilson, Polow and Mario partied it up with Rihanna, Katy Perry and other stars later that night at the Hennessy Black-sponsored BMI afterparty at Manhattan’s M2.
The 2009 MTV Video Music Awards air live this Sunday, September 13, at 9 p.m. ET, but New York is celebrating the VMAs all week long! Stay tuned for party coverage, concert reports, behind-the-scenes updates and more.