LOS ANGELES — Will.i.am was the man of the hour at the 2010 BMI Urban Awards Friday night, as the Black Eyed Peas frontman was honored with the prestigious President's Award. He also scored an award for Urban Song of the Year with the Peas' for their hit "Boom Boom Pow," before he and Usher brought the audience of suits out of their seats with a performance of their collabo "O.M.G."
The multiplatinum producer grew emotional during his acceptance speech for the President's Award. He touched on the technological shift going on in the music industry, urged artists to think outside the box and shouted out his BEP bandmate Apl.De.Ap as his inspiration.
Prior to the show, will.i.am told MTV News how honored he was to receive this recognition at this point in his career. "There's a lot that I want to continue to do and learn," he explained from the red carpet beforehand. The technology and music, I wanna take advantage of all the changes in the industry. There's no record stores. Radio stations have tough competition because of the Internet. People listen to music more than they ever have. It's a unique time because I can make a song, put it on my phone and send it to 5 million people in like 20 seconds. That's dope. So to be acknowledged at this point in time with all these changes happening, it's super, it's dope.
"And to be acknowledged when I'm just a fan of music and hungry about all those things I previously mentioned, that's mega-fresh," he continued. " 'Cause I watched people have crazy discipline to learn theory — Quincy Jones, Curtis Mayfield — that know how to read and write music, and I watch them be acknowledged and do great things. So this is like a tap on the shoulder saying, you're going in the right direction."
Lil Wayne (Urban Songwriter of the Year), Polow Da Don (Urban Producer of the Year) and EMI Music Publishing (Urban Publisher of the Year) were among the other big winners at the event, which was held at the Pantages Theater in Hollywood.
It was the second year in a row Wayne took home the top songwriter award, this year for contributing to six of the year's most performed songs, including "Every Girl," "Forever" and "Successful."