Lauryn Hill Cleans Up As MTV Video Awards Get Rolling

Fugees singer adds more trophies to her already crowded mantle.

NEW YORK — Fugees singer and solo star Lauryn Hill continued

her winning ways Thursday (Sept. 9) by snatching up four moonman statues

during the first-half of the MTV Video Music Awards.

Hill took home the Best Female Video and Best R&B Video trophies to add

to the two preshow nods for her song "Doo Wop (That Thing)"

(RealAudio

excerpt). The song earned statues for Best R&B Video and Best

Art Direction in awards announced prior to the ceremony.

Hill's 1999 roll has also seen her take home five Grammys, four Soul

Train Awards and, most recently, Three Lady of Soul awards for her

multiplatinum solo debut, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill.

Early on, the 16th annual awards show otherwise belonged to outrageous

rap performances, the mothers of slain hip-hoppers, a virtual sea of

white outfits and a string of risqué jokes from host comedian

Chris Rock, who targeted Latin singer Jennifer Lopez's rear end and

Ricky Martin's ubiquitous hit "Livin' la Vida Loca" (RealAudio

excerpt).

Rapper Jay-Z, who won Best Rap Video for "Can I Get A ..." dedicated his

award to late rappers Tupac Shakur and the Notorious B.I.G. "It's nice to be appreciated while

we're still here," Jay-Z said, "B.I.G., Tupac forever, hip-hop music."

Rapper Kid Rock opened the show, held at the ornate Metropolitan Opera

House, with an over-the-top performance that featured cameos from hip-hop

legends Run-D.M.C. The New York hip-hop trio teamed with Kid Rock and old

friends Aerosmith for a version of the 1986 Run-D.M.C./Aerosmith version

of the Boston rock band's hit "Walk This Way."

The early proceedings also featured a cathartic live performance from

techno-rockers Nine Inch Nails, who performed a brooding song under

swinging cranes with flashing lights. Frontman Trent Reznor, looking

buff in a sleeveless gray vest, repeated the phrase "I won't let you

fall apart" over the accompaniment of his backing band, which included

menacing guitars and a string section.

For many of the artists, white seemed to be the fashion choice of the

evening.

Martin sported a white shirt during his performance of "Livin' la Vida

Loca" and Korn leader Jonathan Davis was decked out in an all-white

sweat suit and hat when his band won the Best Rock Video award for "Freak

on a Leash" (RealAudio

excerpt), Korn's second award of the night.

Both Bush singer Gavin Rossdale and host Chris Rock sported head-to-toe

white outfits. House DJ Moby mixed it up by wearing a gold lamé

suit and The Artist did his best to buck convention by taking the stage

as a presenter in a skintight electric-blue vinyl outfit and Coolio-like

braids.

After presenting an award, Fugees leader Wyclef Jean said, "In a hundred

years I want to be like [famed R&B producer] Quincy Jones. I have 99

years left. I love to be behind the scenes and love to sing."

Rap artist Will Smith introduced the mothers of slain hip-hop stars Tupac

Shakur and the Notorious B.I.G., Afeni Shakur and Voletta Wallace,

respectively, prior to presenting the Best Rap Video award to Jay-Z. The

pair praised the legacy of their sons' contributions to rap.

Wallace said backstage that she wanted her son to be remembered for "his

honesty and the love that he showed you all." Afeni Shakur expressed

hope that her son would be remembered for his heart and integrity.

"We're here because we're mothers and because we're never alone and

because we're united with other mothers in the same situation, and because

of all the love that has showered us, we've been able to stand firm and

go on with our lives," Wallace said.

Other early winners included rapper Eminem, who took home the Best New

Artist in a Video award for "My Name Is" (RealAudio

excerpt). The platinum-haired rapper, wearing a Hawaiian shirt

and cracking his chewing gum, took the opportunity to plug the upcoming

album by his mentor, rapper/producer Dr. Dre, Chronic 2001.

For a list of winners at MTV Online, click

here.

(SonicNet is a division of MTV Interactive.)