It's been over a decade since his last solo album, but when [artist id="1061"]Dr. Dre[/artist] was honored with ASCAP's Founders Award Friday night, it was a reminder to everyone that the doctor is still one of hip-hop's biggest pioneers in the game today.
The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers held it's 23rd annual Rhythm and Soul Music Awards last night at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Los Angeles, where some of music's biggest names were recognized for their contributions to music.
The biggest award of the night was handed to Dr. Dre for his achievements in the music industry and for inspiring and influencing his fellow music makers. The ASCAP association put together a presentation package that played across the big screens, highlighting some of Dre's greatest quotes. One moment that had the audience cheering was Dre's stab at critics, saying, "You can't critique my sh-- unless you have done half of the stuff I have accomplished."
Shortly after the piece ended, DJ Kid Capri took the stage to perform a set of songs chronicling Dr. Dre's career that included early hits such as "Keep Their Heads Ringin'," "Let Me Ride," and "Gin and Juice" as well as more recent Dre productions such as "In Da Club," "Family Affair," and "Rich Girl."
[artist id="502642"]Eminem[/artist] made a rare, surprise appearance to present the award to Dr. Dre, whom he thanked for believing in him. "It would have been a lot easier for Dre to dismiss me like most people did," Eminem stated. "But he didn't. He stepped up to the challenge because he saw something in me. ... He changed the face of music and he changed my life."
Dre then took the stage to accept the award, pausing during his speech as he fought back tears. "I'm living an incredible life," he said. "Making a living doing what I love and having people love it. I can't even explain what that feels like."
Dre went on to pay respects to his mother, who became pregnant with him at the age of 15. "She was always told by family, friends and neighbors or whatever, she was going to ruin her life and mine," he said.
He also thanked his wife, whom he described as his in-house A&R and playfully promised her he was going to give her "something real special for this tonight." Closing out his speech, he thanked Jimmy Iovine, chairman of Interscope-Geffen-A&M Records, for being with him through his ups and downs, and last but certainly not least, his fans.
Some of the other top awards handed out Friday were Songwriter of the Year, which Jimmy Jam presented to Ne-Yo and the hit-making duo C. "Tricky" Stewart and The-Dream, who tied with six chart-topping singles each. T.I. graced the stage to present fellow Atlantans Jermaine Dupri, Johnta Austin and Manuel Seal with Song of the Decade for "We Belong Together." Matthew "Boi-1da" Samuels was honored for last year's smash hit "Best I Ever Had," which he wrote for Drake. "Blame It" by Jamie Foxx and featuring T-Pain earned writers Christopher Henderson, Brandon "Note" Melancon, The-Dream, C. "Tricky" Stewart, and Nate Walka the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Song of the Year. And Big Boi presented the ASCAP Vanguard Award to his friend and "high funktress" Janelle Monae, who accepted the award on behalf of her team the Wondaland Arts Society.
The evening also featured performances by Jermaine Dupri's newest artist Dondria, R&B crooner Miguel and rapper Gucci Mane.