Irv Gotti, The Neptunes Win At BMI's, Isaac Hayes Honored

Irv Gotti, Nelly,

Ja-Rule and The Neptunes were big winners at last night's BMI Awards, which

took place at the Fontainebleau Hilton in Miami.

The awards honored

the top R&B, rap and hip-hop songwriters, producers and publishers.

Irv Gotti took

home his second Urban Songwriter of the Year award, Nelly's "Hot in Herre"

snagged Song of the Year and production duo The Neptunes earned Urban Producers

of the Year.

"It means

a lot. It's good to be honored amongst other muscians," Chad Hugo, the

seldom seen second half of The Neptunes told "It also involves

a lot of people who normally don't get exposed a lot, down to the people who

write the lyrics on a sheet of paper."

Hugo said that

Pharrell couldn't make it to the awards because he was on a promotional tour,

hyping the duo's upcoming compilation, The Neptunes Present: Clones.

The highlight

of the evening was the honoring of R&B legend Isaac Hayes, who received

the B|MI Icon Award.

Hayes, who composed

and produced such albums as Black Moses and the soundtrack to Shaft, has been

sampled countless times by various hip-hop and R&B artists.

"Isaac Hayes

is the motherf*ckin man," said Ja Rule, who took home six awards of his

own. "I grew up listening to Isaac Hayes, my mother listened to him. What

more can you say about him? We've sampled enough of his music, he should be

honored as an Icon."

Bilal, Floetry

and Anthony Hamilton sang a medley of tunes that Oscar and Grammy Award winning

Hayes has composed.

"To be honored with this award is really special," Hayes told

"I have been in the music business for over four decades and I plan to

keep going. To receive this honor from other musicians and to know that my work

has touched so many people from so many walks of life is really amazing."

The BMI Urban

Awards 2003 is the kick-off event to the 4th Annual Billboard R&B/Hip-Hop

Conference and Awards, taking place in Miami Beach August 6-8.