Drake set to receive Artist of the Decade honor at Billboard Music Awards

Drake looking at the camera

Drake will be the recipient of an artist of the decade award when the Billboard Music Award air on May 23, NBC and Dick Clark Productions announced Tuesday morning.

Producers said the trophy is in honor of Billboard consumption data from 2009 through 2019. Drake is a shoo-in as its inaugural recipient by sheer numbers, having received the most Billboard Awards of anyone to date 27. (He’s been running up the numbers recently; a full 12 of those previous BBMAs came in 2019.) Taylor Swift is the nearest runner-up, with 23 historical BBMAs to her name.

Producers pointed out that, during the 2010s, Drake had nine No. 1 albums, the most of any artist during the decade. His 33 top 10 singles on the Billboard Hot 100 in the 2010s also represent the most to hit that mark by any artist. The show is being hosted by Nick Jonas from L.A.’s Microsoft Theater and airs live across time zones May 23 at 8 p.m. ET/5 PT.

Pink was previously announced as this year’s recipient of the Icon Award, a career achievement honor given out annually since 2011, she and the Weeknd are the only performers announced so far. Between the Weeknd and Drake, the Billboard Music Awards are proving to be an especially hospitable haven this year for superstar performers who’ve had their beefs with the Grammys.

Drake is also up for seven awards in standard categories (Top Radio Song; Top Male Artist; Top Billboard 200 Artist; Top Hot 100 Artist; Top Streaming Songs Artist; Top Rap Artist; Top Streaming Song). That’s without having a proper album out to put him in contention in even more categories, his last full-length release, “Scorpion,” came out in 2018. A full new album, “Certified Lover Boy,” has been promised for this year.

The artist of the decade honor had originally been expected to be given out at the 2020 Billboard Music Awards, held last fall. The contenders for the data-driven title from positions No. 100 up through No. 6 were revealed in advance of that telecast, leaving fans to speculate which artists would be in the top five and in which order, but then the award did not appear on that telecast.

Previous artist of the decade winners include Mariah Carey, who was presented with the honor in 1999.

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