MOBO turned 10 at the Royal Albert Hall in London on September 22, as hosted by Gina Yashere and Akon with guest presenters including Chris Eubank, Lisa Maffia, Josie D’arby, Simon Webbe, Myleene Klass, Estelle, Tim Westwood, Kwame Kwei-Armah and Chuck D. The line-up of performers was stellar too, and included John Legend, Ms Dynamite, Lemar, Kano, Damian Marley, Public Enemy and Lauryn Hill.
Lemar’s second studio album 'Time To Grow' picked up a MOBO Award, beating stiff competition from Common, Kano, John Legend and Mariah Carey. The all-new Best African Act was voted for by people across Africa, and Youssou N’Dour emerged triumphant. A pioneer of Mbalax, an up-tempo blend of African, Caribbean and pop rhythms, he’d already enjoyed a smash hit in ‘Seven Seconds’, with Neneh Cherry, and toured alongside Bruce Springsteen, Sting and Tracy Chapman.
Sway took Best Hip-Hop after his two independent mixtapes had him on the tip of everyone’s tongues. 'This Is My Promo' Volumes 1 & 2 were sold on the street and after gigs, distributed to independent record stores nationwide - often personally, in a van. He spoke to The Guardian after winning, and said “I don't think I've ever been so surprised. I thought I might be hearing things. A lot of people must be wondering how I got nominated in the first place if I haven't even got an album out. What they don't know is that I've already released two albums on the street.”
Damian Marley performed ‘Welcome To Jamrock’ on the night and took away an award, while Public Enemy let with the Outstanding Contribution award. Best Video of 2005 was Snoop Dogg ft. Pharrell Williams’ ‘Drop It Like It’s Hot’, a monochrome spectacular with a Neptunes beat, showing Snoop doing the Crip Walk. And Best Single of the year was Lethal B’s ‘Pow (Forward)’, a song so very definitive of its time. Kano won Best Newcomer, bigging up his fans and east London.
Listen to 2005's MOBO winners here, via Spotify:
The winners in full...
Best Album: Lemar - Time To Grow
Best African Act: Youssou N'Dour
Best Hip Hop: Sway
Best Reggae Act: Damien Marley
Outstanding Contribution to Black Music Award: Public Enemy
Best R&B Act: John Legend
Best World Music: Daddy Yankee
Best Video: Snoop Dogg feat Pharrell Williams - Drop It Like It's Hot
Best Single: Lethal B - Pow (Forward)
Best Newcomer: Kano
UK Act of the Year: Lemar
Best UK Radio DJ: Tim Westwood
Best Jazz Act: Rhian Benson
Best UK Club DJ: Steve Sutherland
Icon Award: Bob Marley & The Wailers