Monday Night: OZONE Awards at the James L. Knight Center

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Second Annual Ozone Awards

James L. Knight Center, Downtown Miami

August 13, 2007

Better Than: The over-hyped, over-rehearsed and just plain ol’ boring MTV Music Video Awards.

OK, the Second Annual Ozone Awards are meant to honor the very best that Southern hip-hop has to offer, but judging by Monday’s night show at the James L. Knight Center in Downtown Miami, the awards show — which was recorded for MTV Jams — it’s still not quite ready for prime-time.

Don’t get me wrong, the hip-hop was good beyond belief and the performers managed to rock the almost-capacity crowd into moments of absolute frenzy. But re-occurring technical glitches with the sound monitors and an apparent lack of organization dragged the show to a halt many times throughout the night.

It even got to the point where the award’s host, comedian Lil Duval made light of the many embarrassing delays. “Is this shit ever going to be on TV?” asked Lil Duval to the applause of the audience. “How they are gonna edit all this shit? This show is gonna last 20 hours!”

So let’s get things straight: for now the Ozone Awards are more of a party concert with an awards show on the side, and that’s not such a bad thing. After all, everyone was there for the music and on that level the evening delivered with an all-star affair of Southern hip-hop’s reigning champions.

The show started with a banging rendition of DJ Khaled’s “I’ So Hood” with Rick Ross, T-Pain, Trick Daddy, Lil Wayne and Plies pumping up the crowd to its feet. Then things got even rowdier, when they followed thru with another Khaled banger, the bracing “We Taking Over.” The Knight Center feels small enough that it wasn’t necessary to look at the large video monitors to enjoy the show and the sound—when it was working—was perfect.

As for actual awards, it was DJ Khaled’s night. Our hometown hero snatched “Best MTV Jams Video” award for “We Taking Over,” and, to no one’s surprise, also took home the prize for “Best Radio DJ.” Lil Wayne was the other big winner, grabbing “Best Lyricist,” "Best Mixtape Monster,” and “Best Rap Male Artist.”

Slip-N-Slide records new star, Plies and Tallassee’s T Pain ended the evening with an energizing version of “Shawty” that left the fans standing on their feet.

All in all, you get the feeling the Ozone Awards are still working through their kinks, but there was something really cool about the raw, spontaneous energy of an awards show that puts music front and center. Maybe next year, we’ll have a better-organized edition. Until then, the Ozone Awards get an A+ for the top notch performances and C- for all the long technical intermissions. — Jose Davila

Critic's Notebook

Personal Bias: Our 305 boys Rick Ross, Trick Daddy and DJ Khaled representing Dade County at the opening of the show with “We Taking Over” was the best part of the evening.

Random Detail: For some weird and unexplained motive, the hip-hop divas Trina, Jacki-O and K Foxx presented an award dressed up as Wonder Woman, Super Woman and X Men’s Storm. Whatever their reasons, the audience burst into laughter and some shouted, “iIs it Halloween?” at the sight of the dubious super trio.

By the way: Ozone magazine was founded in 2002; the publication covers the Southern hip-hop scene and boasts a circulation of 75,000 issues per month.

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