Lil Wayne, Nas and More at Billboard R&B Hip-Hop Live


Last night, Billboard honored its 2023 R&B/Hip-Hop Power Players list which honors executives and artists across the business includingRookie of the Year honoree, Ice SpiceExecutive of the Year honoree, Larry Jackson, founder of gamma.; and Hip-Hop Hall of Fame inductees, Lil Wayne and Nas. The evening also included a concert event celebrating the 50th anniversary of Hip-Hop entitledBillboard R&B Hip-Hop Live with headliner Metro Boomin and additional performances from Coi LerayArmani WhiteOffsetNAV and DJ Jadaboo at The Novo in Los Angeles. 
(photo credit: Billboard)

Lil Wayne at Billboard R&B Hip-Hop Live held at The Novo on August 8, 2023 in Los Angeles, California.

In addition to power player honorees and award recipients, guests at the night’s festivities included Brooke CandyDDGDerrick MilanoJason LeeJay RockJeleel YousefJharrel JeromeKamillionMaetaMalibu BabieMarioMike Van (president of Billboard), Naomi SharonSauce WalkaSexxy Red,TinasheTomi TribeTone Stith,Victoria Monét, Yara Shahidi, among many others. 

Nas at Billboard R&B Hip-Hop Live held at The Novo on August 8, 2023 in Los Angeles, California.

Billboard’s chief brand officer, Dana Droppo, introduced Gail Mitchell, executive director of R&B/Hip-Hop, to kick-off the awards presentation. Mitchell then brought to the stageL.A. Reid to highlight the achievements of Executive of the Year honoree, Larry Jackson. 

Jackson delivered a powerful acceptance speech stating: “For me this is not my award, this an award for us, everybody in this room…this award is for the culture that we love, that we represent.” He added, “I do believe our genre is under siege… and we need to protect it.” 

Tinashe at Billboard R&B Hip-Hop Live held at The Novo on August 8, 2023 in Los Angeles, California.

Following Jackson, Heran MamoBillboard’s R&B/Hip-Hop reporter, introduced Rookie of the Year honoree, Ice Spice. 

“This is like my first award ever in life,” said Ice Spice. “I’m super proud and I just want to say thank you to my team for always working so hard…thank you everyone here at Billboard and thank you to my fans, period!”

Finally, Mitchell returned to the stage with Billboard’s deputy director, R&B/Hip-Hop, Carl Lamarre, to introduce Hip-Hop Hall of Fame inductees Lil Wayne and Nas. 

“To my fans, I think I word it the best way when I say ‘I ain’t shit without you.’” stated Lil Wayne. “This is for y’all…y’all as in my fans, y’all as in the people in the crowd, y’all as in my supporters, those that work with me, those that work for me, those that work around me, those that work like me. This is for us.” 

“I’m starting to win awards in my third prime,” said Nas. “I never won awards in the 90s…thank youBIllboard. 49-years-old about to turn 50 along with Hip-Hop. I didn’t get into it for awards, we got into it because we loved the artform. The artform has been vampired and sent through all kinds of shit that keep the pioneers from touching anything. From seeing it back then… I’m just so honored to still be alive to see it be 50 years as a fan.”

Later in the evening, DJ Jadaboo entertained concert-goers as they filled The Novo for Billboard R&B Hip-Hop Live. Armani White opened the night, bringing an energy that lit up the room. He performed such hits as “BIG BET.,” “Onderful,” “SILVER TOOTH.,” “GOATED.,” as well as his runway smash “BILLIE EILISH.” He closed out his set with a touching tribute to his publicist by dedicating “Thanksgiving” to them on their birthday. Dressed in knee high boots and a camo mini skirt, Coi Leray was surrounded by her dancers as she brought the party to downtown Los Angeles. She performed such songs as “No More Parties,” “Fly Shit,” “Bops,” “Make My Day,” “Baby Don’t Hurt Me,” and “Players Medley.” Headliner Metro Boomin brought everyone into his universe as he stood atop a DJ-booth surrounded by large LED screens displaying eye-popping animations. He was joined by special guests OffsetNAV, and Coi Leray for an energetic set of his hottest records including “Bad and Boujee,” “Knife Talk,” “Ric Flair Drip,” “Tuesday,” “X,” and more.