Hip-Hop Awards new venue, new vibe

The 5th Annual Pittsburgh Hip-Hop Awards had a new place and a new vibe.

This year’s event was held at the August Wilson Center for African American Culture Downtown. Everyone in attendance was supportive of each other and a lot of people had the chance to embrace their culture at the new venue. It was also clear that a new crop of artists were on the scene and it was a breath of fresh air for everyone. Wiz Khalifa, Mac Miller and Jasiri X were names that were often called in the past, but they are now considered graduates of the awards because they are national artists. This made room for a number of new artists.

Founder of Hip-Hop Awards (Photos by Ashley G. Woodson)

Dwayne Muhammad, CEO and Founder of 360 Ent. and the Pittsburgh Hip-Hop Awards changed the venue from the Hilton Hotel to the AWC.

“God is the greatest and it’s a blessing that we are here. It was a blessing to just do the first awards show, so to be able to pull the city together for the fifth year in a row, speaks for itself. August Wilson was a pillar of the Pittsburgh community and a lot of these artists were not familiar with that generation. I figured I would bridge that gap so they could learn about their history and culture and still come out to have a great time.

“I want the artists to be motivated and to see that others have made it and they can, too,” Muhammad said.

New names and new faces took home awards at this year’s event, including male artist 2GZZ, female artist Lady Homi, Ira Soul for Best R&B Male Singer, and Dell Saunders for Best Female Singer of the Year and hip-hop band Formula 412.

“I feel like a star right now and I appreciate everything that is happening for me right now. I am going to continue to do my thing and hopefully bring other female hip-hop artist into the game as well,” Lady Homi said.

While he was not nominated for any awards this year, Jasiri X opened up the show with his hit “Real Gangstas.”

“We’ve had a big year and Wiz Khalifa becoming the number one new rapper in the world means a lot. Mac Miller is on the cover of XXL Magazine and Pittsburgh is now called the freshman city, so we are definitely doing our thing. I believe that the Pittsburgh Hip Hop Awards had a major role in helping artists get to where they are today. With MCs coming together and bringing unity to the scene has a whole lot to do with the awards show. The fact that it’s at the August Wilson Center also means a lot because this is our center and I’m glad it’s being held here this year. By Gods’ grace, I’ve won six Hip Hop Awards in the past and I feel the Pittsburgh Steelers right now. They won six Super Bowl rings and I’ve won six awards. I think it’s time for somebody else to come through and get their shine on. The Pittsburgh Hip Hop Awards has helped launch my career along with the help of Paradise Gray of X-Clan and now I am a national hip-hop artist. I am looking forward to seeing who the next class of MCs will be,” Jasiri X said.

A major highlight of the show was a performer from Toledo named “Country” who performed as if he had been in the game for years.

Deavon Hammonds of Promotional Push said it was a good thing to see people coming together and that it was held at the AWC.

“We took it from the corporate element into the community and that’s always a great thing,” Hammonds said.

Ira Soul was nominated in the past, but finally won for Best Male R&B Singer. Everyone gave him props for putting his thing down this year with his hit “Should’ve Never Let You Go” and “Before I Lose It” featuring Kris Styles.

“Being nominated three times in a row, I feel blessed to be here. The fact that they changed it up and it’s not at the Hilton anymore, I love it because we have to represent for ourselves. August Wilson was a legend and we need to have it here at this venue,” Ira Soul said.

DJ CAM of the Hit Squad and My City Live hosted the Red Carpet and he was glad to be a part of the event.

“I am making an impression and I must be doing something right for people to vote for me to be here. I want to show the young people that if you work hard, people will recognize you for what you’re doing as well,” said DJ CAM.

2GZZ won for best artist and Rovalike won an award for best label. Look out for their mixed-tape coming soon called “Welcome to My City.”

Award winners

Male Artist of the Year: 2GZZ.
Female Artist of the Year: Lady Homi
Duo or Group of the Year: Formula 412
Female Singer of the Year: Dell Saunders
Male Singer of the Year: Ira Soul
Video of the Year: P.O.P. “2 Hard Living”
Mixtape of the Year: Mysterious “Blue Flame 3”
Producer of the Year: Sledgren
Mixtape DJ of the Year: DJ Fast Eddie
Club DJ of the Year: GQ
Reggae Artist of the Year: Fudgie Springer
Dance Group of the Year: Pittsburgh Heat
New Artist of the Year: Varsity Squad
Underground Artist of the Year: Furious Styles
Under-21 Artist of the Year: Lil D Da-Prince
Inspirational Artist of the Year: Artistree
Record Label of the Year: Rovalike
Recording Studio of the Year: Ya Momz House
Internet Radio/TV Show of the Year: 101 Blaze
Website of the Year: www.BrothaAshProductions.com
Clothing Store of the Year: Timebomb
Journalist of the Year: Scott Mervis (Post-Gazette)
FaceBook User of the Year: Brotha Ash
Twitter User of the Year: GQ412
Concert Promoter of the Year: Howard Bullard
Model of the Year: Haitian Beauty
Graphic Design Artist of the Year: KMK Designs
Poet of the Year: Sincere
Comedian of the Year: Stefon Braxton
Mover and Shaker of the Year: Lee Davis
Photographer of the Year: Jordan Beckham
Music Store of the Year: Upbeat
Performer of the Year: Freezy
Athlete of the Year: DeJuan Blair
Barber Shop of the Year: Dave’s
Hair Salon of the Year: Dana’s

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