- Where: Pittsburgh Hilton, Downtown.
- When: 7 p.m. Sunday (red carpet at 5:30 p.m.)
- Tickets: $20; Web site.
With the Third Annual Pittsburgh Hip-Hop Awards show falling one week after the Steelers won their record sixth NFL Championship title, Pittsburgh Hip-Hop Awards organizer Dwayne Muhammad sees an opportunity to keep the show, and Pittsburgh artists, on the national stage for years to come.
"People, get ready for Pittsburgh's Grammys," Muhammad said of the show, which takes place at the Pittsburgh Hilton on Sunday -- the same day the Grammy Awards air on CBS. "The Steelers won the Super Bowl. I'm about to fly back to Pittsburgh. The spotlight's on the city. I hope everyone can take advantage of it."
Helping local artists make the most of their awards is one of several new focuses to this year's awards show, according to Muhammad. Since the awards show originated in Pittsburgh in 2007, Muhammad has put together similar events throughout the country and even expanded to London and Nigeria last year. With a slew of new contacts made and plans to take the top five award winners on tour to Philadelphia and Harrisburg, Muhammad said he believes he can help artists use the award as a boost toward their ultimate goals.
"We have a lot of talent in Pittsburgh, I think more than in any other city," he said. "I can help a lot of artists get out of the city. I'd like to take it on a nationwide scale."
Last year's lyricist of the year, Boaz, said the tour would definitely help struggling artists in an area where he says industry insiders aren't too receptive to new acts.
"I think that will work because we definitely need more exposure in that sense. The city is not too hip-hop friendly," he said.
In addition to the tour, Muhammad also incorporated the new "Pioneer Award" and the "Put On For My City" award, which honors national figures such as last year's Best Male Artist Wiz Khalifa, hip-hop artist Pittsburgh Slim, Bluestar Entertainment vice president Big D, film producer Antoine Fuqua and actor Lamon Rucker.
Although some controversey erupted when Wiz Khalifa wasn't nominated for the Artist of the Year award -- Rostrum Records president Benji Grinberg said he and Wiz Khalifa wouldn't attend this year's show and called it "mismanaged and valueless" in an earlier Post-Gazette interview -- Muhammad said he only wanted to recognize Wiz on a higher level than other artists. Grinberg was unavailable for comment.
"I love Wiz, I love what he's doing. I've supported him from day one. Anything I can do to help him I'll do it. But now it's time for more artists to recognize that they can be national too," Muhammad said, adding that he would give the award to Khalifa's family if he doesn't attend the show.
For his part, Khalifa said he won't be able to attend because he'll be recording his album in Los Angeles on Sunday, but doesn't have any ill feelings about the show. He called the show "very good for people around here" and said he understands why Muhammad placed him in a separate category for recognition.
"I definitely didn't take it as a slight or have any hard feelings," he said. "I'm a national artist and I don't look at myself compared to others to try to gauge my success. And even though I'm a national artist I still got a lot of work to do. So I wasn't upset or feeling any type of way."
Although Muhammad added a few new features to the mix, including a scaled-back production schedule that will cut the show down to around three and a half hours rather than last year's five, he made sure to keep what worked. This year's host, hip-hop veteran Dana Dane, will be joined by WAMO personalities Blak Steel and Mocha as emcees. With 12 performances, an hour-and-a half red carpet event and opportunities to vote until the day before the show, Muhammad said he expects the show will be just as big as last year's, but also expects it will make award winners even bigger.
Voting runs through Saturday at noon at www.pittsburghhiphopawards.com.
Producer: Young Hott, Juliano, Nesia Beats, Sledgren, Mysterious, H, Big Jus (Bully Ent), Big Jerm, Huggy, SMP, James Webb.
Best Male Artist: S. Money, Joe Beast, PK Poo, Boaz, Pheni, G Money, Owey, DYSE, Pete Miles, Jasiri X.
Best Female Artist: Nina Ross, Lady Homi, Kellee Maize, Sash Mead, Donnis, Kizzi, Red Eye, Hollywood.
Best New Artist/Group: Big Lyfe, Money & Biggs, CS1D, Justuce Street Poets, Rosco Wiki, Quizzle, Press, Myztery N Sneek, Vonn Treez, Dre Loc, Woozy.
Underground Artist: Living Proofe, Damien Voxx, Chaoz Da Blackjack, N-Visible, Furious Styles, Divine Seven, Gambino, Big Schultz, EMS, Kemickal, Joey Fatts.
Mover and Shaker Award: Artie Pitt, Boka, Chris Schizo Hoye, Bricks-Kingpinz, DJ Goodnight, John Mista Scrap Wilson, Orlana Darkins, Emmai Alaquiva, Lee Davis, Nakturnal.
Best Duo Or Group: Alley Mob, Burghtown, Piff Boyz, Da Sinate, Most Wanted F Mob, Hardcore Ent., Keystone Kyngz, U.P.S, Bully Ent, Common Wealth Family, NFL.
Record Label: Kingpinz, F-Block, Heavy Hustle, Just Blaze, Heavy Money, Arruca Flyboy, Vega Ent., Steel City Records, Lafamilia, Coma, Rovalike, NBH.
CD: Apex, "Face The Muzik"; Formula 412, "The Difference"; Omar Abdul, "Gametime"; YM Da Kid, "I'm Lame"; S Money, "New Money"; JP, "My Side Of The Story"; Ajaxx, "This Is My Jihad."
Single: Freezee, "Taste The Rainbow"; Furious Styles, "Bedroom Gangsta Pt. 2"; Owey, "She Wants A Thug"; A-Boiz, "I Do"; F-Block, "Wrist Game"; Coma Records, "Cutie With A Booty"; S Money, "Bread Winner"; Nova, "Slu-Pttsburgh Remix"; Anymal, "Drink In My Hand"; B-Brixx, "Do It Big"; Formula 412, "Front Street."
Mixtape: Play Bizzle, "Transporter Vol. 2"; Joe Beast, "Constipated Joe"; "Lil Tone," Underground Classiks; YD, "Now Is The Time Vol.3"; Boaz, "Monumental"; Pheni, "Feeling & Beats"; The Ill Spoken, "How High"; Owey, "Speak My Lingo"; Scholars "Smarten Up"; Fast Eddie Prod. "Live From The 412."
Mixtape DJ: DJ Shef, Fast Eddie Productions, DJ Bo, DJ Chevy, DJ Nitro & DJ Plan B, DJ Schizo, DJ Schemes, DJ ATL.
Hip Hop Band: Formula 412, Eviction Notice, Tru-Vibes Project.
Hip Hop Clothing Store: Already Inc., Timebomb, Down Low, Villa, Head2Toe, Ikewear, Sole2Soul, Man Alive.
Music Store: Already, Dorseys, Stedefords, Upbeat, Timebomb.
Best Hip Hop Video: Kizzi "I'm The S---"; F Block "We Run It"; Owey "She Wants A Thug"; PK Poo "Hood Boss"; Playbizzle "Imagine"; YM Da Kid "Be With Me"; Formula 412 "Front Street"; Boaz "Gettin Mine"; M-Sceazy "So Clean"; K-Pound "Pick It Up"; Ruff Bone "Blocc.Projects,And Ent. Vol. 2"; Mele Mel "God Or Hip Hop."
Graphic Artist: Mista Scrap, Schizo, Shane Pilster, Primo-Design, Black Ty, 3-60 - Alley Alumni, Daryl Wade- Prakprint.
Best Male Singer: Gene Stovall, Manny (from Crave), Hutch, Hakeem Rasheed, 4play, Vinnie Vocals, Ira Soul.
Best Female Singer: Angee Gonzalez, Mizz Diva, Margot B, Dell Saunders, Ghettovocals, Courtney Noelle, Draggs, Bianca Atterberry, Mona.
Best Inspirational Artist: Travis Malloy, Jasiri X, Scribe, Light Tha Flow, Curtis Lewis Jr., Brady Hill, Mele Mel.
Myspace Artist: Pimps Of Thieves, Gambino, Playbizzle, Nova, Tjuan, Kobrah, Shooter Rich, King Nasty, DYSE.
Recording Studio: Blackberry, I.D. Labs, Throne Room, Mindbender, Tree Lady, Ya Momz House, Coma, Tuff Sound, War Room.
Community Activists/Organization: One Vision One Life, Nation Of Islam, Urban League, NAACP, 1 Hood, Community Empowerment Association, Royal Tribe.
Club DJ: GQ, Nate Da Phat Barber, Blakk Steel, Matt G, Rok & Shorty D, Schizo, Selecta, Ray Love, DJ Dondi, Kode Red, Nugget, Superman.
Radio Personality: J Kruz, Bonics, Anji, Karazmatic, Boogie, Blakk Steel, Tracy Lee, Brother Marlon
Photographer: Dave Poparazzi Ellis, Jordan Beckham, Herb Mitchell, Caitlin Thomas, Ashley Brotha Ash Woodson, K. Neeley, Sandidge Group, Caleb Green.
Website: jenesismagazine.com, thesoulpitt.com, moolagang.com, yourtaxprofessional.com, blackfinancialgroup.com, brothaashproductions.com, pghmusicculture.com, Timebombcrew.com, thedarkinsgroup.com, rhymecal.com.
21 & Under: Lil D, SCR, GMR, Shooter Rich, B-Flames, Digi.
Comedian: Ms. Tanill, Samantha, Chris Crowd Pleaser, David Frog Bey, One Eye, Davon Magwood, Kevin Skinner, Terry Jones, Young Stu, Ty Mac, Jerry Wilson.
Journalist/Writer: Deborah Todd, Abdul Spadez, Bro. Ash, Deavon Hammonds, Omar Abdul, Scott Mervis, Thomas Agnew, Kim "Dr. Goddess" Ellis, Arthur Pitt.
Concert/Party Promoter: Charismatic Marketing, Matt Dillenger & B Marshall, Black Ty Promotions, Nakturnal, Legacy and Law Boi Ent., Dub Promotions, 412, Big Pudz Productions, Fab 5 Ent., Exclusive Ent., Faded Industry, T Brown
Poet: Vanessa German, Nathan James, Poetyk, Dr. Goddess, Yah Lioness, Akeeme Keemy Robinson, Ezra, Stripe
Model: Fatima Rashid, Sexxy Re, Deonna Anne, Timoni, Haitian Beauty, Black Barbie, Giovanna, Maura Mars Clawson, Seantaia, Pria, Nilla.
Barbershop: Barbers Inn, Success, Just Kuttin Up, Natural Choice, Ron Smith's, Bats, Big Tom's, Willie T's, Stevey Wrays, Dave's, Cristyles.
Hairsalon: Dreemz, Marc Anthony's, M & B, Dana's, Flossy's, Uptown Salon, Farenheit 212, Centre Of Attractions, Shades Of Beauty.
Athlete (High School): Kyle Wilson, Wally Rideout, Corey Brown, Micheal Akers, Teddy Blakeman, Tyree Shepard.
Athlete (College): Terell Pryor, DeJuan Blair, Wes Lyons, Darrin Walls, Eugene Jarvis.
Athlete (Pro): Swin Cash, Monty Meza Clay, Rayco Saunders, Steve Breaston, Charlie Batch, Brandon Marshall, Darrelle Revis.
Deborah M. Todd can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-263-1652.