The UMAs recognize unsigned artists

The UMAs celebrate unsigned and unrecognized artists.

The UMAs celebrate unsigned and unrecognized artists.

On Sunday, Oct. 25, hip hop lovers will gather at B.B. Kings Blues Club and Grill in Times Square, New York City for the 12th annual Urban Thresholds Underground Music Awards.

The UMAs were created by Urban Threshold to give recognition to unsigned and independent songwriters, artists and producers. Genres of music represented through the variety of nominees are hip hop, R&B, gospel and reggae.

“As an unsigned artist, you don’t get a lot of recognition. There’s not a lot of people out there rooting for you. When people like this put an event together that actually show recognition to the unsigned artists, it makes us want to do our job harder and work harder for it,” said U.E., an unsigned artist and a 2007 nominee, in an interview with MTV.

The UMAs mix an award show, a music conference, an informational seminar and an entertainment showcase to make a legendary underground event.

“The Underground Music Awards is an important event because there’s a lot of unsung heroes in the underground market,” said DJ Marley Marl in an interview with MTV.

Although the UMAs celebrate underground stars, some current pop stars made their start by receiving nominations and awards at the UMAs. Nicki Minaj was the recipient of the 2008 UMA Female of the Year Award, and then was signed to Lil Wayne’s Young Money Record a year later. Other notable past winners include Lil Mama, Lupe Fiasco and Ice T.

In order for the UMAs to run, they rely on companies to buy sponsorship packages. The sponsors for 2015 are BWalker, All Sports Stars and The College of Hip Hop. The UMAs also rely on coverage from the media through radio, print, email, press releases, flyer distribution and online advertisements to gain more recognition. MTV, Clear Channel’s Power 105.1 FM, the Source Magazine, and more have already pledged to cover the 2015 UMAs.

This year, the UMAs will consist of a red carpet, the award ceremony, and then there will be an after party to conclude the event. There are 39 categories for awards. Voting started on September 14 and ended on  October 14.