Gotti nabs urban kudos

Rule, Williams also honored for songwriting skills

MIAMI –Murder Inc. president Irv Gotti won his second Songwriter of the Year award at the 2003 Urban Awards Tuesday night.

Performing rights org BMI announced the recipients of the awards, which reflect the most-performed songs on U.S. radio.

Kudos were handed out to R&B, rap and hip-hop songwriters, producers and publisher honorees at the Miami Beach ceremony, which featured a salute to Isaac Hayes.

Gotti shared the Urban Songwriter of the Year award last year with five others. This year, the rap mogul had nine titles on the most-performed list, including four performed by Ja Rule (“Always on Time,” “Down 4 U,” “Down A** Chick” and “Livin’ It Up”), “Rainy Dayz” recorded by Mary J. Blige, Fat Joe’s “What’s Luv?” and three songs recorded by Ashanti (“Baby,” “Foolish,” and “Happy”).

Gotti also was named BMI’s Pop Songwriter of the Year at the May 14 ceremony in Los Angeles.

Other winners

Other songwriters honored were Ja Rule, with six recordings on the list, and Pharrell Williams with four, including the 2002 summer anthem “Hot in Herre,” which he co-wrote with Charles L. Brown.

“Hot in Herre” was named song of the year.

EMI Music Publishing received the Urban Publisher of the Year award for the third year in a row. It has 11 songs on the most performed list, including “Hot in Herre.”

Top producers

Williams and his production partner Chad Hugo, together known as the Neptunes, were named BMI Urban Producers of the Year. The production/songwriting duo has collaborated with artists such as Snoop Dogg, Busta Rhymes and Justin Timberlake on titles including “Beautiful,” “Pass the Courvoisier Part II” and “Rock Your Body.”

The BMI Urban Awards 2003 is the kick-off event to the fourth annual Billboard R&B/Hip-Hop Conference and Awards, which runs in Miami Beach today through Friday.

A complete list of 2003 BMI Urban Awards winners is on http://www.bmi.com/urban