Pittsburgh Hip Hop Awards puts city artists, businesses on the map

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Energy was high among those nominated for Dwayne Muhammad’s 4th Annual Pittsburgh Hip Hop Awards Feb. 21 at the Hilton Hotel Grandroom. Jasiri X was up for the most awards with seven nominations, winning three.

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JASIRI X with models holding his three awards.

The awards show was  originally scheduled for Feb. 6, but because of the major snowstorm that devastated the east coast, it had to be rescheduled.

“This is the fourth time that the city of Pittsburgh has come out to show support for the Pittsburgh Hip Hop Awards because it’s the biggest music industry event in the city,” said Muhammad. “This event is held to recognize artists, producers, businesses, etc. and the energy is always high.”

 

As in years past, the awards show featured a national artist, such as Grand Master Mele of the Furious Five and Dana Dane. This year’s featured national recording artist was X-Clan featuring Brother J and Paradise “The Arkichect” Gray, which was the highlight of the show.

“If this event was not here, these people would be at home bored doing god knows what. When people come together to have a great time and network, it informs everybody that we are all one,” said Lee ‘Pretty Feets’ Davis.

The red carpet event hosted by Davis, which started at 5:30 p.m., was a major success. When you entered the Hilton Hotel, everyone was excited about what was about to happen at the show.

Unfortunately what ended up happening, was a late start for the awards show, a fight in the grand ballroom between two local hip-hop groups and some performances that were too long and drawn out. While the audience wanted to be entertained, most people wanted the show to move along to find out who won what award.

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DWAYNE MUHAMMAD

“I think that there were some highlights of the show such as having Paradise and Brother J of X-Clan on stage. Jasiri X also winning awards was a great highlight because he is an inspiration to all artists and a lot of people like the messages he delivers,” said Poet Winner of the year, Leslie “EZRA” X. “The low points were when other people brought baggage into the event that should have been kept outside. The show could have been better organized, but no one is perfect. There could have been fewer songs performed by some of the performers and more time devoted to the nominations. I am happy that the fight that took place was resolved quickly and the show continued on.”

While there are some things Muhammad admittedly said he is open to working on for future awards show, he needs to be applauded for all he has done so far to bring the city of Pittsburgh together.

With all the different categories in the show, Muhammad says the reason he calls it the hip-hop awards is because it has different categories that are intertwined with hip-hop. He is going to do another awards show called the Pittsburgh Music Awards and that will showcase different genres of music in the city such as rap, jazz and gospel. Muhammad is shooting for June for that awards show to take place.

“It’s a good thing to see people coming out to represent Pittsburgh. We don’t have anything else like this. Dwayne’s a visionary that saw the need to celebrate Pittsburgh,” said host Tee Jay.

“It’s good to see a lot of my peers here and everything is looking pretty good. Pittsburgh is not known for a lot of things so to have an awards show like this is great. Hopefully it will get bigger and better every year”, said hip-hop artist Divine Seven.

Hip-hop artist Dice said, “This is equivalent to the Grammy Awards and it’s great to do a lot of networking with other artist.”

“There is a lot of talent in Pittsburgh and this is a great event to have because people want to be known for their craft”, said nominee Dell Saunders.

“I’m going to keep saying it, good or bad I love the Pittsburgh Hip Hop Awards because it’s a venue for local artist to get their shine on. I will support it even though I would do things differently”, said nominee J-Kruz.

Muhammad has started doing the Hip Hop Awards in Pittsburgh and other cities are starting to reach out to him to do an awards show. He has branched out across the waters in Africa and London and he recently received a phone from a radio station in Japan to consult them on doing an awards show their too.

While there are some people who criticize Muhammad, he is really a very positive upbeat person at all times. He always has something positive to say about everyone and everybody even when they are trying to put him down.

Staying focused and being goal orientated whether its short or long term is the advice Muhammad dishes out. “If you wake up everyday and you don’t know where you’re going, you will just be in the same place”, says Muhammad.

The Pittsburgh Hip Hop Awards show came about after the BET Hip Hop Awards show in Atlanta. Muhammad was there with producer Jermaine Dupri and he saw how excited Dupri was about having a hip-hop awards show in Atlanta. He was happy to have it in his hometown and that is where the idea was born to have the awards show here in Pittsburgh.

“I remember being here in Pittsburgh some years ago when some artists could not stand to be in the same restaurant together let alone the same recording studio. Now that we are in our fourth year of the hip hop awards show, artist are creating and recording music together and doing shows together,” Muhammad said. “We see a lot of unity in our city and that is all apart of it. A lot of artist are doing mixed-tapes with each other and getting more business orientated. They see a way that they can make a legit business for themselves and they are doing something productive. There is a different movement in Pittsburgh. Before the first hip-hop awards this was not a great movement in our city. It is not just here in Pittsburgh, but in Philadelphia as well. Mayor John Street of Philadelphia congratulated me on having the awards show in Philadelphia as a testament of how crime has been reduced.”

Currently, he is in talks with a network to have the award shows televised. Muhammad wanted to build up a catalogue so he could have something to stand on. The Hip Hop Awards is known around the world and now he wants to cash in on the success.

Muhammad wants his work to inspire at least one person because that means he has done his job. He comes from the same background as some young Black man being out on the street doing the wrong thing. He has been blessed to receive knowledge and turn his situation around.

“If I can do it, anyone can. It’s all about each one teach one,” says Muhammad.

Muhammad wants to bring artists and business owners together in a positive manner to start networking and getting along with one another. While that idea is working for some, others are very critical of how the awards show is handled every year.

Some said the ticket and performance prices were too expensive.

Muhammad said he is open to making the awards show the best it can be. He said he wants to hear all ideas. You can reach out to Dwayne Muhammad at 360ent@gmail.com.

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