Best Good Sport of 2010: Doug E. Fresh - Let me be one of the most influential cats in hiphop and have a signature move like Doug E. Fresh, and some kids come around caking off of it, making the anthem of the year... Oh HELL no! *Robin Harris voice* Fortunately, my evil behind does not have the smoothness or finesse of Doug E. Fresh, as he sat back and enjoyed what ensued on the legacy he left. In fact, he told Mixtape Daily that the resurfacing of his dance was a blessing. Let's not go there and talk about "My Dougie" from way back when, but the fact that the originator was tapped by Soul Train, and not the Cali Swag District or Lil' Wil or Soulja Boy, to teach Wolf Blitzer how to Dougie.
Best Comeback of 2010: El DeBarge - It's absolutely safe to say that this dude had the best comeback of the year, considering everything he's been through (ran through, and then some). Can anybody say with as many kids (22) he (allegedly) has, a clear cocaine addiction, and a domestic violence charge they still warmed the hearts of millions? Once he appeared on the 2010 BET Awards performing "I Like It" like he never left, anyone with eyes could see that El DeBarge was back! He hasn't slowed down since then, putting out 16-year-overdue Second Chance, which reached the Billboard charts, plus being the most requested singer to do anyone's cover. What's sad is this dude deserves a tribute set or someone to cover him! It's his smoothness and gratuity that gets me the most. Whenever someone asks him how does he feel about being back in the music business and his warm reception, he just replies "man, I'm just glad to be here." I'm glad you're here too, El DeBarge!
2010's Most Souped-Up Bass in a Song: Usher "Hot Tottie (featuring Jay-Z)" - This was tough, not that there were many songs this year filled with bass. With The Cool Kids "Big Talk" at an extremely close second, I had to give it up to Usher and Jay-Z, well, Polow Da Don. Although Polow Da Don did his thing on this track, The Cool Kids are my favorite to give me a lot of boom for the trunk, and they certainly didn't fail with their late-year joint "Big Talk" because "Big Talk" had a wide variety of basses in the song. However, "Hot Tottie" has the same kind of bass pattern throughout the song, but it's flipped in a wide variety of ways - from the distortion to adding the echoing synth to it. It totally accentuates the sleaziness behind the content of the song, and for that you can't help but like it.
Most Cliche-Noncliche Genre of 2010: Experimental - In almost all of the interviews I've done this year, every artist claimed the "experimental sound" as their way to describe their music. Firstly, before we get into this "genre," I understand that the question "describe to me your sound"/"how would you describe your music?" is a crappy interview question, but most publication companies list that as a required interview question. So, if you call yourself an artist, spruce up the answer! Saying experimental can mean "I not only rap, I sing on my records" to "I flipped the entire structure of music and composed the beats myself" because experimental has the ability to be anything outside o fthe general norm for music. Folks who gave me the answer, and only this answer, "I have an experimental sound. It's a mix of everything" got probably the weirdest and spaciest look ever from me. I know a lot of artists "hate" the media, but a lot of the media "hates" the media just as much, so we all need to come to an understanding of deading the word "experimental" as a genre, including artists, interviewers, PR, publicists, everyone. Just let it go. Or, at least become actual experimental musicians like the ones cited in Wikipedia because they knew how to experiment with music. *Rant over*
Favorite Heir to the Throne Emerging in 2010: Diggy Simmons - This year, so many new icons emerged out of wombs of the old icons. There was Jaden and Willow Smith from Will and Jada Smith, Ice Cube's sons OMG and Doughboy, and Reverend Run's boy Diggy Simmons. We heard his brother JoJo take a stab at it, but missed the mark by a mile or two, and the girls' Pastry line was so-so at-best. Diggy, however, was phenomenal this year, exemplifying that he has the talent and skills to live up to his old man's legacy. He took the hiphop community out in one blow when he dropped his freestyle to Nas's "Made You Look", which is below. Not to mention the boy was so dope, BET had to bring together all the sons of hiphop (meaning Ice Cube and Rev. Run) together in one cypher. It was historical!
Best 2010 Song That Highlighted The Average Woman: Strong Arm Steady "Chittlins & Pepsi (featuring Planet Asia)" - If you are a woman who steps away from unhealthy foods (not necessarily vegan, but at least staying away from devastating fast food chains and fatty foods), this was the anthem for you. There wasn't a single song that I knew of that highlighted the efforts a woman has to go through nowadays to stay healthy when foods are full of MSG/"No MSG," high fructose corn syrup, and so on. Strong Arm Steady managed to write a rap song that appreciated women who do. And, yes, I consider this a song for average women because maybe it needs to be average (MESSAGE!). Therefore, love it!!!
Best 2010 Song I Never Skipped: Donwill "Love Life, Astronote Remix (featuring Lee Sissing)" - When I first heard this song, my whole day was golden. The same could be said for the entire mixtape of Donwill's, but I could skip a few tracks and not feel left out. I was happy that Donwill, who I interviewed at this year's A3C, went a smoother route with this mixtape (and the album Don Cusack in High Fidelity), as his sound is typically rough, and I was ecstatic to hear such a positive hook on this specific record. "God don't give you nothing too heavy to carry, and my life's so beautiful I think I wanna marry it." You won't get a better-feeling hook on ANY record that came out this year!
A 2010 Song I Can NOT Listen To When I'm Not Sober: The entire MOTM II album by Kid CuDi - Before I go in on this cat, let me just say he created one of the best albums of 2010... better than Kanye West's, but we won't go there. Anyway, Kid CuDi is the most depressing artist I have ever heard (this year)! I didn't like him because I didn't want his emo bars invading my ears, but I gave him a chance at the worst time - after a couple of drinks. Man On The Moon II took me to way too many places this year that I didn't want to visit after drinking (not saying the drinking was aimed at taking the pain away, but it kinda was *looks away*). From that night on, I figured his depression is too much for me when I least want to be depressed. Other than when I'm not sober, Kid CuDi is in my rotation.
Rawest Song of 2010: Bilal "Flying" - I knew when I interviewed him in the Fall, Bilal was going to hold nothing back on his new album Airtight's Revenge. But when I say I never expected anything as uncut and raw as this song, I'm in no way, shape, or form lying. Beyond just singing some cuss words here and there, and singing about hookers and a drug bust (yeah, besides all of that), the complete rawness of "Flying" is the unexpected element of defending the mindset of a pimp/drug dealer. He says "...Coulda been a star, but you know how it is / You can't do shit when you injured, plus these hoes out here is younger everyday" signifying Johnny leaving the girl after she hurt herself on the stripper pole.
Most Socially Relevant Song of 2010: General Larry Platt "Pants On The Ground" - I'm sure I lost a bunch of folks with this one, but I don't care. He may have been 62 years old, he may not have won American Idol, and he may have been the joke of early 2010, but that dude knows sagging is awful. For that, he gets my respect, plus he may have gotten across to a few folks about how to wear some pants. Honestly, this song was more relevant to the public than a lot of mess that hit the airwaves this year, so I'm not mad at the General one bit!
Get it up!
Best Song Dedicated to an Icon: Kem & Rachelle Ferrell "Been So Long" (Tribute to Anita Baker on Soul Train) - I had the pleasure of seeing this live (somewhat, I guess the social media room during the taping counts as seeing it live), and the entire room went crazy when Rachelle Ferrell began to go into full-blown scat mode with Kem. Although they took a completely different approach to Anita Baker's classic record (and left the bass line alone), it's a bonafide fabulous way to honor a legend like Anita Baker.
*just cut to the 4:58 mark of the video, although the entire set was amazing*