Top Hip-Hop, R&B and Gospel Artists Celebrate 2020 ASCAP Rhythm & Soul Music Awards With Online Performances, Memorable Speeches and Powerful Tributes in Three-Day Social Media Event, July 15-17, 2020

July 17, 2020

Cardi B Makes History as First Woman to Win Back-to-Back ASCAP Rhythm & Soul Songwriter of the Year and as ASCAP Female Rapper to Win Most Awards (27)

Top Winners Include: DaBaby’s “Suge” (Top R&B/Hip Hop Song), Meek Mill’s “Going Bad” (Top Rap Song), “Deliver Me (This Is My Exodus)” (Top Gospel Song) and Universal Music Publishing Group (Publisher of the Year)

Instagram Live “After Party” Hosted by Jermaine Dupri

NEW YORK, July 17, 2020— The 2020 ASCAP Rhythm & Soul Music Awards, ASCAP’s fourth successful virtual awards show this year, included powerful performances, meaningful discussions, uplifting speeches, emotional tributes and a lively after party to top it all off.  The three-day celebration across digital platforms created memorable moments while giving fans an intimate glimpse of their favorite songwriters and artists in their homes and studios.

As part of its weekly ASCAP Experience: Home Edition programming, ASCAP also hosted a “Leading Ladies of Publishing A&R” panel discussion featuring women executives from three of its top Rhythm & Soul Music Award-winning publishers: Brandra Ringo (Warner Chappell), Ari Gelaw (UMPG) and Jennifer Drake (Sony/ATV). The three A&R executives shared insights on their roles, speaking about what they look for in a new signing, how they fit into a songwriter’s team, the daily joys and struggles of balancing their career and personal lives, and their experiences as women in a male-driven industry.

Highlights from both events included:

  • Words of wisdom from “Leading Ladies of Publishing A&R” on their ASCAP Experience panel: Brandra Ringo (Warner Chappell Music): “You can’t have a plan B, it’s always plan A and go get it;” Ari Gelaw (UMPG): “Trust your process and be a student of the game… Just don’t give up. The people who get there are the people who just didn’t stop;” and Jennifer Drake (Sony/ATV): “Nothing beats the work and fine-tuning your craft. Do it to the best of your ability and then some… Know your craft and make connections in that space.”
  • ASCAP Chairman of the Board and President Paul Williams set the stage for this year’s winners with a video introduction, saying “As the world stumbles and tries to pick itself up, we must try to offer hope, and healing, and a vision for a better future. That’s where your music comes in. I believe in my very core that your music has the power to lift our spirits, move hearts and minds and inspire real change. That deserves to be honored and celebrated.”
  • Cardi B became the first woman to win ASCAP Rhythm & Soul Music “Songwriter of the Year” for the second straight year.

  • ASCAP Rhythm & Soul Music Awards veteran Anthony Brown and group therAPy gave a rousing performance of his winning gospel hit, “Blessings on Blessings.”

  • Singer-songwriter Joelle James unboxing her award for “Boo’d Up,” saying, "Thanks for making this special even though we couldn't be together this year... ASCAP you're the best. You always make me feel special."
  • Singer-songwriter Nicole Bus performing her winning song “You” in afull-circle moment about a year after she opened the 2019 ASCAP Rhythm & Soul Music Awards show with the same song.

  • Producer Hitmaka shared an unboxing video for his awards for Meek Mill’s “Dangerous” and A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie’s “Look Back At It."

  • Singer-songwriter and rapper Jeremih unwrapped his award for “Dangerous” and “On Chill” with gratitude: “Another one to add to the wall, big shout out to the ASCAP Awards.”

  • Mustard unboxing his awards for co-producing/writing Ella Mai’s “Boo’d Up,” “Shot Clock” and “Trip,” and for his collaboration with Migos on “Pure Water:” “It was an amazing year… Thank you ASCAP, I appreciate you always.”

  • Rapper Petey Pablo accepted his award for “My Type,” thanking Saweetie for the remix (Pablo’s “Freek-a-Leek” was sampled in the #ASCAPAwards-winning track): “It’s all about making great music that lasts a lifetime and taking a masterpiece and creating a new masterpiece… I want to send prayers to all the friends and family and everyone that has been affected by everything that is going on and everyone that is still staying strong and musically creative in a crazy time like this.”

  • Singer-songwriter Shanice accepted her award for her contribution to Chris Brown’s “Undecided,” which samples her 1991 hit “I Love Your Smile.” She recalled: "In the ‘90s, that melody brought so much joy to people and in 2020, melodies still put a smile on people's faces."

  • Gospel artist JJ Hairston expressed thanks for his award for “Miracle Worker” and shared an urgent message: “We gotta keep making good music because it’s important and it’s necessary in this season.”

  • Producer Westen Weiss acknowledged his collaborators in thanks for his Top Rap Song award for “Going Bad” and said: “Also a big shout out to all my peers who also won awards this year — I’m super excited to see all the work you guys have coming...”

  • April Daniels, wife of the late LaShawn “Big Shiz” Daniels, posted an unboxing video accepting the award for “Look Back at It” on his behalf. “I love that my husband is still being celebrated today. His legacy continues… it is amazing to see his catalogue of music still changing the world, still affecting the world, still being recognized even beyond his transition.”

  • As part of the Awards, ASCAP saluted members of the ASCAP family lost over the past year, including LaShawn "Big Shiz" Daniels, Fred the GodsonAndre Harrell, Bill WithersBetty WrightKobe Bryant and Naya Rivera.

  • 2014 ASCAP Founders Award recipient Jermaine Dupri hosted and DJ’d the official Rhythm & Soul Music Awards Instagram Live after party on @jermainedupri on Friday, July 17, sending virtual attendees off in style.

Exclusive photos and videos from winning hip-hop, R&B and gospel songwriters, producers and publishers were shared with the hashtag #ASCAPAwards via @ASCAPUrban on Instagram and @ASCAP on Instagram & Twitter. A complete list of winners can be found on the ASCAP website:

The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) is a professional membership organization of songwriters, composers and music publishers of every kind of music. ASCAP's mission is to license and promote the music of its members and foreign affiliates, obtain fair compensation for the public performance of their works and to distribute the royalties that it collects based upon those performances. ASCAP members write the world's best-loved music and ASCAP has pioneered the efficient licensing of that music to hundreds of thousands of enterprises who use it to add value to their business - from bars, restaurants and retail, to radio, TV and cable, to Internet, mobile services and more. The ASCAP license offers an efficient solution for businesses to legally perform ASCAP music while respecting the right of songwriters and composers to be paid fairly. With more than 825,000 members representing more than 16 million copyrighted works, ASCAP is the worldwide leader in performance royalties, service and advocacy for songwriters and composers, and the only American performing rights organization (PRO) owned and governed by its writer and publisher members. Learn more and stay in touch at, on Twitter and Instagram @ASCAP and on Facebook.


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Simone Smalls | Michelle Huff Elliott