While some anxiously awaited Ace Hood’s Ruthless album to drop, others had their ears to street to find the next up-and-coming artist to prove thatHip-Hop is not a dying art form.

With that said, the 7th Annual Underground Music Awards taking place on August 23rd , and has the capability of propelling a young emcee to success in the music industry.

Although some artists nominated have found a substantial amount of success throughout their careers, others are relatively unknown, and have the chance to impress high-profile spectators including Lenny S. (Vice President of A&R for Def Jam), Sha Money XL, and Riggs Morales (Director of A&R for Shady Records).

Past winners have seen their fair share of achievements following their win at the Underground Music Awards such as Lupe Fiasco, MIMS, Styles P, DJ Kay Slay, Papoose, and Saigon. The award show also serves as a medium of honoring unspoken hip-hop legends such as Kool G Rap, DJ Red Alert, Killah Priest, and Cormega.

This year’s award show gives the spotlight to artists that have made an impact on the industry in recent months by acknowledging the accomplishments of the artists in several categories. The nominees for the Male Artist of the Year is pretty diverse; on one-hand there’s Talib Kweli, a lyrical veteran who has not released an album since 2007’s Eardrum, but is preparing his reunion with Hi-Tek as Reflection Eternal, while on the other-hand there’s Drake, the rookie of Young Money who has never released an album, but has gained a substantial buzz on the web from his mixtapes and recent singles.

Other nominees include Asher Roth [Click for Asher Roth Interview], whose unique blend of frat-boy swag and monotone delivery made his debut, Asleep in the Bread Aisle a commercial success; Kid Cudi whose “Day and Night” has established the Good Music songwriter’s career although some argue that he is bordering on one-hit-wonder status; and finally Wale who has yet to release an album but has gained acclaim from his Back to the Feature mixtape with 9th Wonder.

The Underground Music Awards also honors female artists, and similar to the male category the nominees are quite diverse. In a category flooded with pop-star wannabes (Lil Momma, Empire ISIS) true lyricists such as Jean Grae, and Tiye Pheonix push their way onto the ballot alongside Nicki Minaj. Another exciting category is the Indie Album of the Year that demonstrates that hip hop is still alive on some level as each album nominated is worth a listen. Alchemist’s [click here for Alchemist interview] latest installment, the feature-heavy Chemical Warfare goes against the Torae and Marco Polo [click here for Torae & Marco Polo interview] collaboration Double Barrel, Danny Goinesthe Breakfast Club, Dead Prez’s Green Lantern-produced Pulse of the People, legendary Grand Puba’s Retroactive, and the DJ Premier co-signed Blaq Poet’s newest release the Blaqprint. One category that will definitely be a topic of debate is the Best Lyricist, as up-and-coming Corey Gunz, Pack FM, and Joell Ortiz face up against a hip-hop great Pharaohe Monch. No matter who wins, somebody in the audience will leave unsatisfied with the results due to the skills of each individual.

The lower tier of the awards features artists that were virtually unheard of outside their communities and the internet, but thanks to their submissions to the Underground Music Award’s panel, they have the opportunity to add a win to their résumé. You can check out all these talented emcees gaining a buzz and vote for your favorite at To catch the Underground Music Awards you can purchase tickets at when they go on sale July 15th. The Underground Music Awards will be live August 23rd, 2009 at BB Kings in Time Square, New York.

The Nominees are as follows:

The UMA Male Artist of the Year


Talib Kweli

Asher Roth

Kid Cudi


The UMA Female Artist of the Year

Lil Momma

Jean Grae

Tiye Phoenix

Empire Isis

Nicki Minaj

Most Dynamic Rap Group or Duo


Camp Lo

Dead Prez

Smif N Wesson

Tanya Morgan

Hueston Independent Spit District

Most Dynamic Solo Artist

Tech N9NE

Mickey Factz

Devin the Dude

Royce Da 5’9

Wiz Khalifa


West Coast Artist of the Year


Nipsey Hussle

Mistah Fab

Jay Rock

Crooked I

Indie Album of the Year

Alchemist – ‘Chemical Warfare’

Torae & Marco Polo – ‘Double Barrel’

Donny Goines – ‘The Breakfast Club’

Dead Prez & DJ Green Lantern – ‘Pulse of the People’

Grand Puba – ‘Retroactive’

Blaq Poet – ‘The Blaqprint’

Most Exciting Artist of the Year


Sean Price

Charles Hamilton

Immortal Technique

Black Milk


Producer of the Year

Statik Selektah

9th Wonder

Jake One


The BeatBanggahz


Best Lyricist

Corey Gunz

Joel Ortiz

Pack FM

Pharoahe Monch

Outstanding Dancehall Artist



Vybz Kartel

Outstanding Artist of the Year


Emilio Rojas


Ruste Jux

Sic Osyrus


Buzz Factor



Jon Famous

clap cognac


The Underground’s #1 Contender



Sho Zoe

Nickal Fieldz

Sav Kills

Keith Gamble

Best Radio Show

Fusebox Radio

Hate Money Radio

The Roundtable

Build Sessions

The Ready Cee Show

The UMA Song of the Year

Trillogy – ‘The Future’

Kid Russell – ‘Dear Shooter’

Dex – ‘Prophecy’

No Gimmick – ‘Time’

Best Male Rapper

Lexx 9 Eleven

Mike Millz


Mr. Harvey

John Sportin


Best Female Rapper


Nina B

Kitana Blade

Queen Jez


Re Double D

Best Rap Group


Ride Out

Da Underdoggs

Money First

Wyld Stylaz

Best Rap Duo

Rebel Star


Family Comes First

Physha P

Kounty Boyz

Most Original Male Artist

City Scholar

No Mercy

Chris Smalls


Papa Doc


Choc Nitty

Best Underground Movement

Specialyst Entertainment

S.N.R.C. Entertainment

Real Music Global

Ru1 Records

Fammly Inc

Best MidWest Artist

Mr. 44

James ‘Slick’ Watts

Torrio Jetson



(Best Emerging Producer) Award

BeatKnocka Productions

Geeked Out Productions

Sev Da Producer

Allstar Productions

DJ Pain 1

Best R&B Female


Jae Camillo

L’ren C



Best R&B Male


Ivan Brooks


Omar Wilson


Best Female R&B Group


Main Girl

Tre’ zhur


Best Male R&B Group



5ive L

Jackie Boyz

Artist to Watch


Frank Ramz

City Scholar

Mc Friction


Hunned Proof


Most Promising Male Rapper

Abel Remy

Rush Major

Al Boogs




Best Live Performance

Mad Man


Black Steelz



Most original Group or Duo


Ashy Elbows

4 Wheel City

Cappitall Hill

Corner Boyz

Best Southern Rapper

Dirty Den

Sho Zoe


Abel Remy

Best Underground Mixtape/Street Album

Mr. Focus – ‘Man From Mars’ hosted by DJ Noodles

Abel Remy – ‘Stimulus Check 2’ hosted by DJ Vlad &

Sha Stimuli & DJ Victorious – March On Washington (Mixtape)

Emilio Rojas – ‘Recession Proof’ hosted by Legend & DJ Noodles

Hop – ‘Fight For NY’ (Street Album)

Best Reggae/Dance Hall Artist

Black Sheep

Michael Sparkey Drakes


Best DJ

DJ Superstar Jay

DJ Noodles

DJ J-Ronin

DJ Bedtyme 357

Best Website

Hip Hop

Hip Hop


Best Showcase

50Mics Showcase

Faces in The Crowd

VA Beat Battle

Training Camp