Drake, The Weeknd & Pop Smoke Biggest Winners At 2021 Billboard Music Awards
The Billboard Music Awards lived up to its hype and produced a magical show with some well-known artists walking away the big winners of the night. Even though the event featured some pre-recorded performances, the energy of the entertainment was not lost.
Drake took home the most coveted prize of them all when he was named Artist of the Decade. He and his 3-year-old son, Adonis, accepted the award together. He also became the most decorated Billboard Music Award winner ever as that trophy took him to 29 wins. Drake shared the moment with his family and friends at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles with his son Adonis holding his hand.
“I wanna dedicate this award to my friends, to my longtime collaborators … to my beautiful family, and to you,” he said. It should come as little surprise that he claimed the title as the decade’s best considering his first song that made the Billboard Hot 100 chart came in 2009, and he’s largely dominated the charts since that time. He has the record for the most songs ever on the chart, with 232 entrees. Of those 232, 45 were Top 10 hits on the Hot 100 and 22 were No. 1s on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop songs chart. Drake was also named top streaming songs artist.
Fans knew they were in for a good show as DJ Khaled, H.E.R., and Migos came together to deliver an electrifying collaborative effort. Doja Cat and SZA also joined in on stage with their mega-hit “Kiss Me More,” even though it was to an empty hall. The biggest winner of the night was The Weeknd, who was present to accept his 10 awards. It must have been a great feeling for him, considering earlier this year, he was snubbed by the Grammys when he wasn’t nominated for any of the awards in his genre.
He also had the most nominations of the night with 16. He took home some big accolades like the top artist, top male artist, top Hot 100 song for “Blinding Lights” and the top R&B album for “After Hours” as well. He paid homage to his parents and fans for giving him the inspiration to carry on with his career.
“I wanna take this opportunity to thank you, my parents,” he said before adding, “I am the man I am today because of you. And thank you to my fans, of course. I do not take this for granted.”
Pop Smoke was also honored posthumously with five awards. The late rapper was recognized as the top new artist and top rap artist. His debut album “Shoot for the Stars, Aim for the Moon” claimed the top rap album and top Billboard 200 album. His mother, Audrey Jackson, was on hand to accept the awards.
“Thank you to the fans for honouring the life and spirit of my son, so much that he continues to manifest as if he was still here in flesh,” Jackson said.
The award show also dedicated a moment to another fallen rapper, the ever impactful DMX. DaBaby and Swizz Beatz dedicated a moment to the rappers that died recently. Swizz Beatz was very close with DMX and has kept working with his estate to ensure that his last album, Exodus, will be released later this month, May 28. Another winner on the night was Houston rapper and activist Trae Tha Truth who copped the Change Maker Award. Throughout his speech, he called for racial equality and ended his speech by adding: “We still gon’ need justice for Breonna Taylor.”
The Award show was also the platform used by Alicia Keys to celebrate the 20th anniversary of her breakout debut album “songs in A minor.” She treated viewers to some tracks from the album, including her monster hit “Fallin’.” She was introduced by former first lady Michelle Obama.
Pink, who has now become known for her glorious stage show performance, had her 9-year-old daughter join her on stage as they performed a gravity-defying set. Pink walked away with the Icon award.
“Willow, you nailed it. I love what I do and I love the people that I get to do it with, and we’re pretty good at what we do, but it wouldn’t matter if no one came to see us and play with us. So all you guys out there … thank you for coming out!” she said at the end of her performance.
Other big winners at the show included Bad Bunny and BTS, with won four awards each. The former rapper now turned rock singer Machine Gun Kelly won top rock artist and top rock album.
“I released my first mixtape 15 years ago and this is the first big stage I’ve ever been invited to accept an award on. To the box that society keeps trying to put me, you need stronger material because you can’t keep me in it,” he said.
Other notable artists like Taylor Swift, Lady Gaga, and Kanye West won honors, but they did not attend.