It’s been a tough year. The city’s live music scene shut down, artists held off releasing work, tours were canceled and the truth that we’re all still struggling with representation for Black artists is more apparent than ever. At the end of the day, this year’s City Paper Music Awards might be more about honoring the musicians that carried on and marched forward despite everything.

This year brought new releases from heavy hitters in the scene like Abstract that Rapper, Niecy Blues and LOBG. Newer faces like Baby Yaga and R Dotta had attention-grabbing work, promising plenty of positive things for the future. Plus, artists Mike Brown and ZachontheTrack got some national attention thanks, in part, to their tireless hustle and continuous stream of new work.

As you’ll notice, several categories and our annual City Paper Music Awards winners showcase concert were nixed this year due to the pandemic. We hope to see both return in 2021. Until then, head back to a local music venue as you feel safe, and keep an eye out for our livestreamed “2020 Sucks” concert on social media in the coming weeks. —Heath Ellison

2020 CPMA Winners

Hip-Hop Act of the Year
Abstract that Rapper

Jazz Artist of the Year
Zandrina Dunning

Metal Band of the Year
Fire and Flood

DJ of the Year
DJ Scrib

Singer-Songwriter of the Year
Niecy Blues

Rock Band of the Year
Baby Yaga

Soul/R&B Artist of the Year
Mike Brown

Producer/Studio of the Year
ZachOnTheTrack

Artist of the Year
Slim S.O.U.L.

Electronic/Experimental Artist of the Year
Contour

Music Video of the Year
“No More Tears” LOBG (shot by Stanley Green, produced by ZachOnTheTrack)

Jam Band of the Year
Sol Driven Train

Up-and-Coming Artist of the Year
R Dotta

Social-Distanced Concert or Livestream of the Year
“Three-Day Stream” by The Royal American

Country/Americana Artist of the Year
Lauren Hall