Hip-hop sweeps the major categories at the 2022 Boston Music Awards

Hip-hop, a genre once snubbed by the Boston Music Awards, solidified its ascent on Wednesday night during a long and performance-packed ceremony at Big Night Live.

Only recently has rap become the dominant genre at the BMAs, and this year it swept the major titles. Dorchester’s Cousin Stizz, who became the first rapper to win Artist of the Year in 2018, took home the prize for the third time. (He also claimed his fifth win for Hip-Hop Artist of the Year.) Medford-born rapper BIA won Video of the Year and, for the second time, Song of the Year (1 million+ streams), both for “LONDON (feat J. Cole).” Brockton hip-hop collective Van Buren Records took home their second Album/EP of the Year for “DSM” and won Song of the Year for “FOUL.” And Boston rapper Oompa was crowned Live Artist of the Year for the second time. The night’s breakout star might have been rapper kei, who had the crowd in the palm of her hand during an electrifying set and was later anointed New Artist of the Year.

“I think hip-hop’s doing really great out here in Massachusetts,” said North Shore producer Jon Glass, who shares a producing credit on BIA’s “LONDON (feat. J. Cole)” and took home Studio Producer of the Year. “We used to be like a little brother to New York, and I feel like we’re finally standing on our own and we have something more that we’re finally showing the world.”

It was among the biggest crops of BMAs hopefuls in history, with a whopping 41 categories containing 10 nominees in each. (There were three different categories for live music venues alone – good to know there are still at least 30 venues in Greater Boston.) Though winners from previous years dominated the major titles, the genre categories saw more first-time victors. Notable among them were Folk Artist of the Year Alisa Amador, who rose to prominence when she won the 2022 NPR Tiny Desk Contest; Rock Artist of the Year Mint Green; and Latin Artist of the Year Yelena Rodriguez, who wiped away tears after her name was announced.

“I’m a little bit shocked,” Rodriguez said.

This was the first time the BMAs featured a Latin music category since 1995. “I’m glad that there’s a category for us Latinos,” Rodriguez said. “My parents always taught me to strive for more, and with this platform that I have, I want to be able to have other Latin artists like myself … know [that] it’s possible, you know?”

Musician Skip2dip celebrated Rodriguez’s victory. “There is definitely a Latin scene that is bubbling,” in Boston, he said.

Skip2dip pointed out that the Puerto Rican pop star Bad Bunny was the most streamed artist on Spotify for the third year running. “I think that has a lot to say about what’s really out there, and what we have to pay attention to coming into 2023,” he said.

Here is a complete list of the winners:

Artist of the Year 
Cousin Stizz

New Artist of the Year 

Album/EP of the Year (1 million+ streams)
Millyz – “Blanco 5”

Album/EP of the Year
Van Buren Records – “DSM”

Song of the Year (1 million+ streams)
BIA – “LONDON ft J. Cole”

Song of the Year
Van Buren Records – “FOUL”

Video of the Year
BIA – “LONDON ft. J. Cole”

Live Artist of the Year

Alt/Indie Artist of the Year
Born Without Bones

Americana Artist of the Year
Town Meeting

Blues Artist of the Year

County Artist of the Year
Dalton & The Sheriffs

Dance/Electronic Artist of the Year
Boy Harsher

DJ of the Year
DJ Sisko

Folk Artist of the Year
Alisa Amador

Hip-Hop Artist of the Year
Cousin Stizz

Jazz Artist of the Year
Lake Street Dive

Latin Artist of the Year
Yelena Rodriguez

Metal Artist of the Year

Pop Artist of the Year
Charlotte Sands

Punk/Hardcore Artist of the Year
Big D and the Kids Table

R&B Artist of the Year
Notebook P

Reggae/Ska Artist of the Year
The Elovaters

Rock Artist of the Year
Mint Green

Singer-Songwriter of the Year

Spoken Word Artist of the Year
Amanda Shea

Vocalist of the Year
Rachael Price

Session Musician of the Year
Jonathan Ulman

Live Music Venue of the Year (1,000+)

Live Music Venue of the Year (250+)
Paradise Rock Club

Live Music Venue of the Year (UNDER 250)
O’Brien’s Pub

Music Promoter of the Year
Big Night Entertainment

Talent Buyer of the Year
Alex Pickert

Production Manager/Live Engineer of the Year
Johnny Dalton

Recording Studio of the Year
The Record Co.

Studio Producer of the Year
Jon Glass

Music Publication of the Year

Music Journalist of the Year
Victoria Wasylak

Live Music Photographer of the Year
Brittany Rose Queen

Music Videographer of the Year
Dom “Tanj” Bruno

Music Podcast/Radio Show of the Year