The Low End Theory Hip-Hop News Report 12.28.12 The End of the Year Awards
It’s the last week of the year, and I’m all turnt up on Tamales! What that means for the readers is that we’re going to skip the news and have ourselves an old fashioned end of the year column, complete with awards and the like! I got my crew together over some JD and Coke and we shot the shit over the past year of Hip Hop. One thing I enjoy about my mini-clique here in The Low End is just how different we all are in terms of our fandom of hip hop. Whether it’s That SOB Kenji enjoyin Chief Keef with his daughter, A Girl Named Hope hesitantly confessing her love for Odd Future, Joseph singing along to Whitney and Lana Del Rey, or myself swearing The Marshall Mathers LP needs a re-release, we all have our own tastes. Make no mistake about it, though – we all respect and love Hip Hop just as much as you do. Anywayz, let’s get to the categories. Be sure to name your own in the comments!
Album of the Year
Artist of the Year
Song of the Year
Disappointment of the Year
Breakout Star of the Year
Unsung Hero of the Year
Douche of the Year
Before we get to the awards, let me introduce the crew.
We got the Precious loving, chicken grubbing Joseph Paige Jr.!!
Joseph Paige Jr.: Well here we are at the end of 2012 and the Mayans obviously had no clue what the hell they were talking about because you’re on 411mania reading this year review instead of sitting near the throne of King Jesus #Haleloo. But this thing of course is all about the music, and 2012 brought us a lot of it. I must say I don’t think I’ve ever purchased as much music as I did this year alone. Every Tuesday morning I woke up to check the iTunes store for something new. But what I was most excited for this year was the emergence of new talent and creativity that’s been taking place in the urban scene. Whether it came in the form of your favorite rapper spitting over a dub-step beat, rocking some questionable fashion, or just running around with a Kardashian on their arm. This year of 2012 has brought along some much needed change to the game.
Truth! And the Low End wouldn’t be complete without the girl with the curls before she Rihanna’d her shizz, Our very own…HOPE!
Hope: Guess who’s back just in time for the new year?! Tis’ I, Crystal Hope! You all already know I missed you way too much to be without TLET! Let’s go ahead and see what I think about this year’s categories. It’ll definitely be tough, but it can be done!
Then there’s the sicko with a lil dick-o, the nasty ass Long Beach lovin bastard child, That SOB Kenji!
That SOB Kenji: I love lamp.
Now that the intros are done, let’s get to what you came for. THE AWARDS!!! Our first is….
To those of you who are fans of the weekly “Douche of the Week” segment, you may have noticed my presence sprinkled on the pages from time to time this year. It was an honor to help out my friend Tony Acero with roasting some of these Hip-Hop jokers. Some of which I had the pleasure of roasting more than once. For my choice of Douche of the Year, I’m actually referring back to a previous douche from this years’ list, Chief Keef. I can’t say that I actually follow the guy’s music, or know much about him. Most of what I know comes from all the negative press he’s received from his bone head actions. Some of which includes posting a Twitpic of him receiving oral sex online, making light of the killing of another young fellow Chicago MC, and dissing the man who sort of gave him quite a bit of shine by sampling one of his tracks, Kanye West. As far as I’m concerned I’m going to continue in my tradition of not caring about this guy’s music and let him just continue to make an ass out of himself.
Def Jam for bringing such confusion to my hip hop heart by signing such a character like Trinidad James. Although he’s only in the beginning stages at the end of the year, I can’t help but scratch my head and say: “he really got signed for this?”
That SOB Kenji:
Aye if any of his people are reading this, I want you to know I’m a huge fan, but he is the biggest douche in Rap right now. Douche of the Year goes to the young’n, straight outta Chi-town, Chief Keef. Judging by his instagram pictures, he’s a wonderful & caring father of a little girl who he’s constantly with when he’s not out making money, so much respect to him for taking on responsibility at such a young age.
Keef is straight from the ghettos of Chicago, grew up in a household of women, and got signed for over a million dollars before he turned 18 years old. So why does he deserve the Douche of the Year award?
– I’ve heard on endless occasions that Keef hasn’t shown up to shows he was scheduled to perform at, leaving his fans disappointed, and rarely ever even hinted at an apology, I’ve been to one of those shows.
– Following the shooting death of Lil Jojo, a local Chicago rapper who Chief Keef had an ongoing beef with, Keef took to his twitter account to laugh about Jojo’s death.
– After locking in 50 Cent & Wiz Khalifa for his second single “Hate Bein’ Sober”, Chief Keef didn’t show up to his own music video shoot and stood 50 & Wiz up without a heads up!
– After already being on probation and banned from handling any weapons, Chief Keef went to a shooting range, filmed the event, and posted it on the internet. On top of that, he also pointed a gun at officers which he will be going to court for in January 2013.
– Around the same time as Lil Jojo’s death, fellow hip hop artist Lupe Fiasco had some crude remarks about Chief’s twitter reactions. And what was Chief Keef’s response? “Lupe fiasco a hoe ass nigga And wen I see him I’ma smack him like da lil bitch he is #300”. Lmao, but still uncalled for.
If you ask me, you’ve gotta be pretty douchey to have done the things Chief Keef has done but in his defense he is young and influenced by the places he was raised in. I’m still a fan of his, even supported him by purchasing his album “Finally Rich” last week. Congrats on being the Douche of the Year Chief Keef.
As I said above, there were so many repeat idiots this year, but perhaps no one pissed me off as much as Nicki Minaj and her oversaturation of the world. In 2010, Nicki Minaj released Pink Friday and although she didn’t turn the world upside down, she definitely left a mark. Her raps were unique, had vitriol and fire, and she really seemed like the saving grace of female hip hop. All through 2011, we saw the slow decline of Nicki Minaj that culminated in the creation of one Roman Zolanski, an alter-ego that was lazily created and lacked any actual personality other than a voice change and “outlandish” activities.
It was 2012 that saw the complete transformation of Nicki Minaj from a rapper to a product. She took the template of Lady Gaga and tried to outdo it. Whether she was attempting to make a religious statement at the Grammy’s, or making an a “rap album” with 3 possible rap songs, and the other fourteen tracks only serving as a sorry ass attempt to get her shit played at the club. She would most recently make a sequel to her sequel to try and cash in on it some more. This, atop of all the things she did outside of her own personal music, including calling Steven Tyler a racist, claiming to shoot Mariah Carey, her nipple popping out, the numerous hairstyles and outlandish outfits, and various other things. She has gone from someone I couldn’t wait to see take over hip hop to someone I want to see just disappear. Ya Bish Douche!
So like I said earlier 2012 was the year of a million rappers “about to blow up!” So much new talent saturated the market that I didn’t even have the patience to give them all a listen. Somehow I did come along to downloading A$AP Rocky’s mixtape “Live Love A$AP”, and I must say I was not disappointed. This eccentric rapper has a unique flow that sort of mashes together the d-boy east coast style all in a pot with some UGK down south influence as well. There’s been quite a wait between the time of all the buzz building and his official release date coming in mid January that I sort of lost a bit of interest. But when the album drops early next year I’m sure he’ll win me all over again.
Although he wouldn’t be my prime choice of breakout, I gotta do it based off of that BLOW UP factor. 2Chainz hit everyone by surprise, and Miguel…that voice though. Still, my choice would have to be A$AP ROCKY. That east coast kid is doin his thang with the chopped & screwed southern style!
That SOB Kenji:
I’m not 100% sure if I’m allowed to choose a producer for this category, but we’re talking Rap music, the only type of music where the producers sometimes outshine the artists! Breakout Star of the Year goes to super-trap-producer Young Chop. Tyree Pittman aka Young Chop aka “Young Chop on the beatz…” owes his newly found stardom to his partner in crime, Chief Keef. The duos break out single “Don’t Like” landed both Keef & Chop lucrative record deals and plenty of opportunity. Young Chop hasn’t even begun to reach his peak and already has produced songs for Birdman, French Montana, Chief Keef, Lil Reese, King Louie, Gucci Mane, Soulja Boy, Frenchie, GLC, Ace Hood, Big Sean, Kid Ink, G.O.O.D. Music, and Pusha T. Just like Chief Keef, Chop is from Chicago and he’s only 18 years old! Let’s just pray and hope that Young Chop doesn’t get ahead of himself and do what Lex Luger did and end his own career before he’s able to cement himself as one of the top producers in the game.
I wanted to give this nod to Kendrick Lamar, but he has been around for a while, and although he did have a hell of a breakout performance, there is one other man that I have to give props to. Frank Ocean did quite a few things this year that makes him a shoe-in for this award. He is one of the few (perhaps even the first, but I’d have to fact check) openly gay acts that willingly let out his sexuality in a world (hip hop and R&B) that is, arguably, years behind in terms of acceptance of homosexuals. Whether people think it was a ploy to sell albums or not, this could have easily destroyed him and his group of misfits. Speaking of the group, I’ve been a long-time hater of Odd Future, and my stance is still the same. I find them immature and lacking substance, using shock factor to make a name of themselves without any actual talent to speak of. With that being said, Frank Ocean was able to pull himself out of the sandpit that is Odd Future and rise above each of them. He is no longer Frank Ocean of Odd Future, he is just…Frank Ocean.
Even with the hoopla behind his coming out, it was his album Channel Orange that did the work for him, speaking volumes in only 17 tracks. The album is on my playlist labeled “bow chica bow wow” along with The Weeknd and Miguel, which is to say that Ocean created an album that hits multiple levels. On one level, it’s a soothing album to kick back to and enjoy. On another, it’s the perfect album to swoon the ladies for some apparent reason. The lyrics are meaningful and the music takes you somewhere. Frank Ocean made an album that separated himself from the cesspool of Odd Future and created a platform to stand on for quite some time.
Nicki, Nicki, Nicki! Such a pity. You had the momentum that many artist could only dream of. You completely fooled the public into believing that you weren’t just a Lil’ Kim clone, that you actually had rapping skills, and that your ass was possibly real. And then you completely dropped the ball! Or perhaps you finally dropped Lil Wayne’s balls out your mouth as to the reason why he didn’t go buy a couple thousand copies of your “Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded” to help boost the sales for an album that barely stayed on the charts. My advice for you is to give this rapping thing a break for a while. You have no other competition coming to take your spot at the moment. Act a fool on this new American Idol gig and win back the hearts of America.
Damn. I really hate to say this because I love the man to death, but I really feel Kid Cudi didn’t satisfy my needs this year. I couldn’t help but SMH at his new drops. It just ain’t the same anymore! Bring back the once known man on the moon!
That SOB Kenji:
Kreayshawn. Point, blank, period. Kreayshawn. SMH! Kreay’s breakthrough single “Gucci, Gucci” was incredible, it had myself and plenty of my friends thinking she was a black girl too. She had a few songs that she recorded before “Gucci, Gucci” that she shot videos for that were pretty decent as well, that being said, I was pretty excited for the trailer trash white girl to get her million dollar deal and have a full album budget. Then the second single was release featuring V-Nasty called “Summertime”, and I was getting pissed off that I ever became a fan of hers. Her album “Somethin ‘Bout Kreay” came out, breaking the record for the worst album sales EVER, not a big surprise. The beats were pretty dope, but her songs were so terrible I only skipped through the first half of the album and never went back to listen to the rest of it. What’s even more disappointing is there rumors she may have locked in a deal for a second album budget. FML.
I know this seems out of left field, but there’s something about this guy that I really, truly want to enjoy. His efforts on rap songs have not gone unnoticed, such as “Places to Be” on Slaughterhouse’s album, or even “Psycho” with Tech N9ne (he seriously, destroys it!). It is because of tracks like these that when I heard he would be dropping an album, I anxiously awaited more. He had the talent and the delivery that few have, and I was ready for hot fiyah! Then dropped Strange Clouds, an album that had such an identity crisis, it had Flo Rida asking just what the fuck section it belonged in. I understand the need for crossovers and the like. I also get the deal behind selling an album with a strong single, but this album had no cohesiveness and nothing that really stood out for. 2012 could have been his rise to awesomeness, but he opted to take the easy road, and will be on Bruno Mars Pandora for quite some time, now.
Mercy – Kanye West ft Big Sean, 2 Chainz, and Push T
Everyone will have their opinion on what they believe should take the cake as the song of 2012. But for me it’s quite simple. What’s that one jam that you couldn’t and didn’t want to escape? For me it was Kanye West’s “Mercy”. I can do without some of the features *cough* Big Sean *cough* however the heavy bass line of the beat with the dancehall voice in the background was a recipe for greatness. My personal highlight of the year happened when I took a vacation to Mexico a few months back and forced the DJ to download this track from iTunes so he could play it for the club. By the end of the night everyone was saying “swerve”, or whatever that may translate into in Spanish.
TIE: M.A.A.D City and Money Trees – Kendrick Lamar and Super Rich Kids and Pyramids – Frank Ocean
If we’re basing this solely on my repetitive radio play, then I have quite a few. A little tough to decide, so ill just name what I can’t go without playing every day.
That SOB Kenji:
TIE: Mercy – Kanye West ft. Big Sean, 2 Chainz, and Pusha T and Swimming Pools (Drank) – Kendrick Lamar
I honestly can’t choose between two completely different songs for this category, so fortunately I’m going to just have to settle for a tie. The first song is Kanye West feat. Big Sean, 2 Chainz & Pusha T – “Mercy”. Although the G.O.O.D. Music compilation album didn’t do too well in the charts, this song played like crazy on the radio and in clubs. The craziest thing to me is, this wasn’t the typical party song, it sampled odd foreign sounding vocals and featured two ex-drug dealers on it and it STILL was played at every function I’ve been to this year.
The second song that made the Song of the Year on my list is Kendrick Lamar – “Swimming Pools (Drank)”. I’m not too sure if most of the people who have listened to the record actually understand or grasp the meaning behind it, but regardless, this is another example of a song that I wouldn’t have imagined being played at a party but I’ve heard it over and over again. #GKMC
Clique – Big Sean, Jay-Z, and Kanye West
Personally, it’s extremely difficult to pinpoint one song over the year that sticks so much that I’d call it the Song of the Year. Seriously, I have a hard enough time picking a match of the year, and I know for a fact I’ve heard more songs than I have wrestling matches this year. Anyways, I went to my iTunes to check out which song I played the most, and I was completely surprised. Here are my top five as per iTunes, eliminating anything released prior to 2012.
Clique – Big Sean, Jay-Z, Kanye West
To The World – Kanye West and R. Kelly
Adorn – Miguel
A$AP Rocky – Fuckin Problem
The Morning – The Weeknd
Those who have iTunes know very well that it only counts as a play if you listen to the song in its entirety, but the list still is quite interesting. To be fair, Eminem was on the list 2 times, but like I said, I focused on 2012. Also, I realize that The Weeknd dropped his mixtapes in 2011, but I’ll consider them 2012 due to the new release. At any rate, if I am using this scale, then the winner is “Clique,” and I’ll accept that. Even though the album came out in September, I recall “Clique” dropping months beforehand, and the moment I heard it, me and my crew considered it an anthem of sorts, playing it numerous times and chillin to it just as much. While I’m sure there are more “worthy” songs, nothing was as fitting as “Clique” for me.
Kendrick Lamar is like the little engine that could in the rap game. In a year where there was 50/11 rappers who were “supposed” to blow up, Kendrick actually did. This guy not only can give you great street conscious lyricism, but as seen can jump on a mainstream track with the likes of Drake and still hold all the shine. With his mixtape Section 80 already being so great many wondered how can he top that for his first studio project. Well with the assistance of beat master Dr. Dre they cooked up a good mixture of west-coast Hip-Hop with one of the best album narratives I’ve heard in a while. You’re literally taken on a journey on a day in the life growing up in Kendrick’s city of Compton, CA. as you listen. 2012 has definitely been Kendrick’s year and I’m anxious to see what’s yet to come from the MC.
Definitely Mr. Ocean. He’s a talented man who isn’t afraid to express who he really is. Definitely gotta give it to him for that Channel Orange joint.
That SOB Kenji:
I’d like to give this one to Kendrick Lamar, however I’m being unbiased and fair, so it’s going to 2 Chainz. Tity Boi aka 2 Chainz more than deserves this category for single handedly being the reason his career did a complete 180 and made himself a house hold name. It’s been a rough road for the artist formerly known as Tity Boi, he was once part of a group called the Playaz Circle which was signed under Ludacris’s record label DTP. Unfortunately Luda never made it possible for other artists to succeed in his DTP camp, but this didn’t stop Tity Boi. After taking some time off to find himself an exit strategy and reinvent himself, Tity Boi changed his name to 2 Chainz and hopped on every song he could get his vocals on. By the time his debut album Based On A T.R.U. Story came out, he had EVERYONE shouting his catch phrase “TWOOO CHAAAAAINNZZZ” and doing his famous ‘cooking crack’ dance to every trap record.
Never has an artist stepped onto the scene and made such an impact while staying true to himself. Typically, an artist will introduce himself and the people who have stuck with said artist for years will fall off due to a change in the persona of said rapper. A perfect example is Wiz Khalifa, who had a backing that was unbelievable prior to his first album. Kendrick is still a young cat with a lot more story to tell, and he’s so eloquent that the stories will almost always be interesting. The man has been around for a while, and even before he had the powerhouse known as Dre, he was making an impact. What wins him this spot, though, is what happened after said powerhouse backed him. I was a bit worried that Kendrick would take this power and use it a bit too much. Instead, he stuck to what he knew worked and created one of the best albums of the year. Kendrick took what worked for him and his fans, and let the world in on it. As an artist, it’s almost impossible to pull off. Typically, there must be some sort of alteration, but I didn’t see that with Kendrick. True, he’s got some years left to alter and adapt, but I see his future changes as nothing but additions to an already intelligent and budding human being in the hip hop world.
And now, a word from our Hip Hop Hottie of the Year, ANGEL!
Kaleidoscope Dreams – Miguel
For the album of the year category I had to go with an R&B pick. In my personal opinion the genre has been dying out over the past couple of years. Mostly due to the popularity of Hip-Hop and off the simple fact that not much is being offered from its artist. But with Miguel’s “Kaleidoscope Dream” I think that things may begin to start turning around. This album was so innovative in its sound and used a creative style of lyricism that paints a vivid picture. One in which is vastly more interesting than some guy singing the same old tired lines delivered by his R&B counterparts. The highlight about the album for me is that yes it does borrow a lot from other artist such as Prince but it still has it’s own modern twist and I’m sure Miguel won’t be leaving next year’s Grammy awards empty handed.
good kid, m.A.A.d City – Kendrick Lamar
I wish I could say Cruel Summer, but unfortunately I feel Watch the Throne couldn’t be outdone. I’ve been on my West coast shit lately, so I gotta give it to good kid, m.A.A.d City! That album is PURE genius.
That SOB Kenji:
good kid, m.A.A.d City – Kendrick Lamar
#GKMC hands down. For those of you who have been living under a rock for the past 9 weeks, #GKMC stands for good kid, m.A.A.d. city the first album release by Kendrick Lamar. Some people rate the Album of the Year based on record sales, but numbers can lie and just because one album sells more than another doesn’t make it a better product; it’s just the demographics its aimed at who are willing to shell out $13 instead of illegally downloading it.
good kid, m.A.A.d. city gets my pick for several reasons. Kendrick Lamar puts together a full story from track 1 all the way until the album finishes. Every track is carefully thought out and placed in order to tell the story of a day in the life of a young Kendrick. The album takes the listener on a journey through the streets of Compton following Kendrick as he borrows his mom’s minivan to get some pussy on the other side of town only to end up getting shot at. This is definitely one of the few albums that have skits/interludes that make sense and contribute to the albums mood and helps the listener understand why each track is placed where it is.
I’d like to congratulate Kendrick Lamar for growing as an artist and a person from the days when he used to be known as K.Dot. I’ve always been a fan, bought every mixtape to support his cause, and knew he would be amongst the greats in hip hop.
good kid, m.A.A.d City – Kendrick Lamar
I thought a lot about this one, considering I didn’t want to sound like a broken record here in The Low End. Up until here, we’ve had some varied answers. But the truth also speaks through the continuous support of the young man from Compton. Maybe it’s the Cali love we all share for the guy. Maybe it’s the fact that all four of us know every reference he points out in his album. Or maybe, we just know hip hop and in 2012, Kendrick Lamar was hip hop. True, his album dropped a bit late in the year, but the hype behind it and the success after it was all well-deserved. He didn’t disappoint. Kendrick uses his album to give you an open door to his life, even with all its embarrassing facets. He doesn’t shy away from ridicule, and doesn’t shy away from showing us that he isn’t the stereotypical Compton resident. He mentions everything we’ve heard from Dre, and Eazy-E, and The Game, and said that was then and this is now. Kendrick recreated the image of a West Coast MC, and in doing so, he gained a lot of respect not just for himself but for the West as well.
Kendrick Lamar created an album that is a future classic. It will withstand the test of time and last for years upon years. The last Cali classic we’ve had is Chronic 2001, and that was over 10 years ago. GKMC is the ultimate end to a fairytale story AND the beginning of a great career. I wish nothing but the best for Kendrick and hope that each album after GKMC is every bit as classic as GKMC is.
This concludes our Awards Show of 2012. The column has been a lot of fun, and I’m already planning for next year. Look for more booty, more douches, and most importantly; more hip hop. On behalf of the team here, and myself especially, thank you ALL for your continued support for the column, and I encourage you to let me know your own picks!
The Low End Theory Team
“Driven” – By Tony Acero
“Through the Looking Glass” – By Tony Acero
|Crystal “Hope” De La Piedra
|Joseph Paige Jr.
|That SOB Kenji