Belfast Telegraph

West graduates with honours from the Mobo music awards

By Arifa Akbar

The stand-off between two of America's biggest rappers came to a triumphant end for Kanye West last night as he beat his rival 50 Cent to a Mobo award for best hip-hop artist.

The prize, for which both artists had been shortlisted, brought to an end a chart battle in which 50 Cent had vowed never to write music again if West sold more records than him, following the latter's decision to move his album release date to 11 September to clash with 50 Cent's own launch.

The Mobo prize was a crowning victory for West, who won the challenge with 957,000 sales of his album, Graduation, in the first week, compared to 50 Cent's 691,000 sales for Curtis, according to the Billboard charts.

West scooped two of the biggest Mobo awards, including the prize for best video for "Stronger". 50 Cent stayed at home after cancelling his European tour earlier this week, alongside his scheduled performances at the Mobos and Vodafone Live Music Awards in London, as well as the MTV show in Germany on Friday.

West's response to the news he had beaten 50 Cent was typically vocal, but he nonetheless acknowledged his rival's talent. "It feels overwhelming. Everyone is coming up to me and telling me how proud they are of me. To be a champion, you've got to take out a champion," he said.

Amy Winehouse scooped the best British female artist title for her second album, Back to Black, triumphing over Beverley Knight, Corinne Bailey Rae, Jamelia and Joss Stone.

At the ceremony, Winehouse appeared to stagger onto the stage to receive her award. Introducing her, Jamelia quipped that Winehouse was in the tabloids more often than hoodies or asylum seekers. The infamous singer propped herself up with her microphone stand as she rattled through a two song set.

However, the award will provide some consolation for the jazz diva, who missed out on winning the prestigious Mercury Prize last month. Some had expressed surprise when Winehouse gained four nominations on the Mobo shortlist, which recognises music of black origin.

But Kanya King, the founder of the Mobos, said a celebration of black music did not exclude white artists, adding that countless white artists over the years had found their inspiration in the roots of black jazz and soul.

The south London rapper Dizzee Rascal, who was also up for four awards, was hailed as the best British male artist for his album Maths and English. He became the first rapper to win the Mercury Prize in 2003 at the age of 19.

Meanwhile, in an extraordinary and powerful outburst at the awards late last night, Decima Francis, of Boyhood to Manhood, hushed the audience after she was interrupted while reading out a list of recent victims of knife and gun crime that included the white schoolboy Rhs Jones, saying: "19 people are dead. You do not have the right to talk when we're talking about dead people who will not be here tomorrow. You cannot be disrespectful because it is the disrespect for other human beings why we here in Britain are considered the rudest, the most savage, the dunces of Europe - and it's not acceptable. We have the best language you can possibly imagine and we're not using it."

She went on: "I'm going to have a go at the musicians now. You have not got the right to call me a 'ho' and a bitch. How dare you? Get a dictionary and use the language. Don't call us names."

The winners

Best UK Female - Amy Winehouse

Best UK Male - Dizzee Rascal

Best International Act - Rihanna

Best Song - Ne-Yo: 'Because of You'

Best UK Newcomer - N Dubz

Best Video - Kanye West: 'Stronger'

Best Hip-Hop - Kanye West

Best R&B - Ne-Yo

Best Reggae - Sean Kingston

Best Gospel - G-Force

Best DJ - Tim Westwood

Best Jazz - Soweto Kinch

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