Babyface and Salt-N-Pepa among the honorees at the Recording Academy’s 2021 Special Merit Awards

Music icon Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds and hip-hop pioneers Salt-N-Pepa are among the artists being honored at the Recording Academy’s 2021 Special Merit Awards.

The Recording Academy just announced this year’s honorees, who will be recognized for their “outstanding contributions of artistic significance to the field of recording,” according to a statement. 

Eleven-time Grammy winner Babyface will receive The Trustees Award for his “contributions in areas other than performers.” The dedicated musician played an instrumental role in the music industry as an artist, a producer, and co-owner of LaFace Records. 

Over the past 30 years, Babyface has helped mold the careers of hundreds of pop, R&B and hip-hop artists, penning hit songs for the likes of Toni Braxton, Usher, TLC, Whitney Houston, Brandy, the Whispers, Boyz II Men, Madonna, and Eric Clapton, as well as Babyface’s hit soundtrack for Waiting to Exhale.

For their part, Salt-N-Pepa will receive the Lifetime Achievement Award for breaking down barriers for women in hip-hop as one of the first all-female rap groups to emerge in the early 90s. Cheryl “Salt” James, Sandra “Pepa” Denton and DJ Spinderella were pioneers of the trailblazing group known for hits like “Push It,” “Shoop,” “Whattaman” and “Expression,” as well as their Grammy-winning hit record, “None of Your Business.”

The other 2021 Lifetime Achievement Award winners including hip-hop pioneers Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five, the late Tejano star Selena, opera singer Marilyn Horne, rock band Talking Heads, and legendary jazz musician Lionel Hampton.

The 2021 Grammy Awards will air January 31 on CBS.

By Rachel George
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