Grime artist Wiley paid tribute to the genre he helped to pioneer as he was recognised for his contribution to music at the NME Awards.
The London-born rapper was handed the prize by long-time collaborator Skepta who was recognised with his own accolade following Mercury Prize success last year.
The pair embraced on stage as Skepta praised the “godfather” of grime, while Wiley thanked the scene he is widely credited with hauling into the mainstream.
He had earlier joked that failure to be recognised for his contribution had meant he was “smashing my head up against the wall every year”.
Wiley, real name Richard Cowie, said on the red carpet: “Everything happens in time it will happen if it’s meant to happen. As you get older you learn that.
“When you’re younger you want it and you do a bit of work and you think you’ve done the work for it it’s not. Nah, you hadn’t done enough.
“I’d rather have what’s right for me than have it a different way.”
Earlier Skepta, real name Joseph Junior Adenoma, was dubbed “cool” by London mayor Sadiq Khan who handed him the trophy for best male artist.
Synth pop band Pet Shop Boys were also recognised for their careers as they followed in the footsteps of U2, Primal Scream and Coldplay to receive the godlike genius award for their success in the industry over a 36-year career.
The ceremony followed the trend of recent award shows in turning political as former Ukip leader Nigel Farage was handed the villain of the year award, beating the likes of Boris Johnson, Donald Trump and David Cameron.
British singer MIA hit out at the international arms trade as she introduced a refugee supergroup made up of Pixie Geldof, Charli XCX and members of Years & Years, Slaves and Peace Bands 4 Refugees, which is supported by the Help Refugees group, performed The Rolling Stones track Gimme Shelter.
MIA, who was handed the best female artist prize, threw her support behind the organisation, saying: “It’s really f****** simple. I worked with them last year and I went to Athens, I saw the work they did. It’s also the (charity) that got Lily Allen into loads of s***.
“They do amazing work and they’re working with NME tonight.”
She added: “It really sucks to be talking about people that need help, even though we have to. But it should also be a time that everyone starts looking at the huge weapons arms industry, led by Britain and America.
“If we address that and talk about them more freely, then we could solve some of this s***. It should go hand in hand.”
As he handed out an award, You Me At Six frontman Josh Franceschi condemned ticket touts three months after he called for a change in the law regarding secondary sales in front of MPs on the Culture, Media and Sport select committee.
He said: “f*** touts, f*** bots”, referencing online tools used by some to snap up tickets.
Other winners at the awards included Bastille, who collected best album while Christine And The Queens was named best international female artist and Glastonbury won best festival.
It was another disappointing evening for Beyonce following her Grammys loss to Adele – the US superstar lost in four of the five awards she was nominated for but collected hero of the year in a category that included the Hello singer.
Meanwhile British singer Dua Lipa was handed the best new artist award, while heavy rock group Metallica took the best international band accolade.
The 1975, whose only previous success at the NME Awards was worst band, turned their fortunes around as they received best live band prize.
US singer Frank Ocean, who was not at the ceremony, was handed the best international male award and Louis Theroux’s My Scientology Movie won the best film.