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MTV Europe kudos sez ‘Hey’ to rap

Usher claims two statuettes

ROME — Hot on a winning streak, hip-hop duo OutKast scooped three statuettes at Thursday’s 2004 MTV Europe Awards in Rome, where rap ruled. The Atlanta twosome, Andre 3000 and Big Boi, nabbed nods for group, song and video for “Hey Ya!.”

Win follows OutKast’s 2004 Album of the Year Grammy for “Speakerboxxx/The Love Below,” earlier this year and three prizes at the recent American Music Awards.

Fellow Atlanta native Usher was the kudocast’s other big winner with two statuettes, respectively for male singer and for album for “Confessions.”

The female gong went to Britney Spears, whose taped acceptance speech was the pop star’s first public appearance since her recent wedding.

Other awards went to Detroit collective D12 for hip-hop, Alicia Keys for R&B, L.A. rockers Maroon 5 for new act, Linkin Park for rock and the Black Eyed Peas for pop. Alternative act gong went to British rock trio Muse who also took the statuette for U.K. and Ireland act.

MTV’s Free Your Mind Award for advancement of human rights was presented to Polish organization La Strada, which is dedicated to the fight against trafficking of women for sexual exploitation.

The 11th edish of the annual kudocast — which migrates around Europe — was held outside Rome in a giant tent with a snazzy high-tech stage that snaked into the crowd of some 6,000 screaming fans. Master of ceremonies was rapper Xzibit.

Live acts included Alicia Keys and Usher, who duetted, Gwen Stefani, Nelly, the Beastie Boys and Eminem, who arrived on stage in a tank flanked by 68 under-10-year-olds to perform a medley that included upcoming single “Like Toy Soldiers.”

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