3TM Year In Review – Man of the Year 2009: Kanye West

Perhaps the most controversial choice for Man of the Year 2009, super-producer turned rapper (turned singer) Kanye West has had quite a journey in the past 12 months. Following his cross-over success with the experimental 808s & Heartbreak, 2009 marked a return from his venture into Auto-Tune supplying quality verses to several significant Hip Hop tracks, perhaps most notably Jay-Z’s ego-driven anthem ‘Run This Town.’

It wasn’t West’s music, however, that made Kanye stand out in 2009 but rather his now infamous outburst at the MTV Video Awards, in which he interrupted teenage singer Taylor Swift’s acceptance speech. This incident – not his first award ceremony tantrum – quickly made him the most hated man in the music industry and the biggest asshole in Hip Hop. Whilst it may be argued that West was merely displaying his characteristic passion for music, many felt that he had gone a step too far this time.

[Youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1z8gCZ7zpsQ]

Choosing to remain relatively low profile after the media onslaught that followed this episode, West pulled out of his highly-anticipated tour with pop sensation Lady Gaga and practically disappearing from the limelight for some time. During this brief hiatus, West did manage to release his controversial short film We Were Once A Fairytale, which provides an intriguing and slightly disturbing look into his psyche and battle to come to terms with his own fame and shortcomings.

Love him or hate him, it must be said that no other rapper has sparked debate, laughter or outrage quite like ‘Ye. Regardless of how he made you feel, chances are he made you feel something and frankly an artist is supposed to provoke thoughts and stir emotions, although that being said it is usually with their work rather than their actions! So, for his display of sheer audacity and unprecedented ego, the 2009 3TM award for Man of the Year goes to the one and only Kanye West – let’s just hope Taylor Swift doesn’t choose spoil his moment….revenge is sweet after all.

Video: Catskill – Kanye

[Youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5FJb1NrDwAE]

Kanye West’s The College Dropout – Album of the Decade

The College Dropout

After months of facing less than favourable press, Kanye West has been recognised by Entertainment Weekly for having the ‘Album of the Decade.’ The publication honoured his 2004 debut The College Dropout above significant Hip Hop releases such as 50 Cent’s Get Rich Or Die Tryin’ and Outkast’s Speakerboxxx/The Love Below

Kanye reacted to the honour by expressing his gratitude, stating ‘Wow, this is really flattering. I’ve had some ups and downs this year, well actually this decade. Just seeing this cover takes me back to that time of my life.’ He then recalled ‘how much pain and love went into this album.’

Touching on the project’s impact on the Hip Hop scene, he explained ‘No one saw it coming. This project wasn’t about me, it was about a time in people’s lives where people force opinions on you and you have to make choices for yourself.’ He then continued to highlight how the record stood out at the time, stating ‘We loved 50 Cent but we wanted to be the yang. We wanted to wear pink polos and rap about being hurt on this album everyday.’

After rising to fame following the success of the Grammy-winning album, West has continued to trangress the boundaries of the genre with his albums and in doing so has enjoyed considerable commercial success. Whether or not you agree that The College Dropout was the Album of the 2000s, it must be said that it is certainly a strong contender and a great contribution to the Hip Hop world.

How 50 Cent Self Destructed

How 50 Cent Self Destructed

Hip Hop albums are just not selling like they used to, as is evident by the somewhat disappointing first-week sales of 50 Cent’s latest offering Before I Self Destruct.

Curtis ‘Interscope’ Jackson’s fourth studio album, which was projected to sell only 160,000, hardly exceeded expectations moving just 161,200 units according to Nielsen Soundscan. The figure is somewhat disappointing for 50, especially considering that he predicted first week sales of a million during a 2008 MTV interview. There are a number of excuses materialising within the Hip Hop community, although perhaps it is time to take a rather more indepth, honest and substantiated look into why BISD and other promising projects have failed to reach sales targets.

Please read the full editorial HERE.

Catskill: Kanye (Controversial New Track)

Hate it or Love it…there’s no ignoring this track by one of Hip Hop’s best kept secrets! Catskill is perhaps the most outrageous MC I’ve ever had the pleasure to work with and all (somewhat inappropriate) jokes aside, he’s a real wordsmith.

The track itself is an extremely blunt critique of popular Hip Hop culture, focusing predominently on Mr. West. Contrary to popular belief, Catskill has no problem with the superstar, stating ‘I think he’s a genius but when I think it comes down to being in society, he needs to calm the f**k down!’

Acknowledging the need to be humble despite the required level of ego to succeed in this industry, Catskill admits that it’s all about a balance of the two. Still he explains that having success is often due to ‘having that passion’ and ‘that energy,’ although unlike Kanye he says ‘you have to keep it in check a little bit.’

Whilst the song may just be the most inappropriate and offensive tracks you’ll hear this year, it is also extremely well-written and explictly condemns many of the evils within the industry today. Whether or not you agree with his method, by addressing these issues Catskill has shown real balls and personally I believe it’s only a matter of time before the industry stands up and acknowledges this talented and extremely unconventional MC.


Catskill is currently one of the top artists on Akon’s Hitlab, if you wish to see more from him then go to http://www.hitlab.com/user/21055/catskill and vote for him.

BET Hip Hop Awards 2009: Congratulations Allhiphop!

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Congratulations to Allhiphop.com on winning the Best Hip Hop website at the 2009 BET Hip Hop Awards! I am so proud to be a part of the AHH team. So without further ado, here is a full list of the BET Hip Hop Award Winners:

People’s Award – Fabolous ft. The Dream (Throw It In The Bag)

Best Collabo – TI ft. Rihanna (Live Your Life)

Best Live Performer – Jay-Z

Lyricist of the Year – Jay-Z

Video Director – Hype Williams

Best Producer – Kanye West

Best Track – Young Money (Every Girl)

CD of the Year – TI (Paper Trail)

Rookie of the Year – Drake

Best Video – TI ft. Rihanna (Live Your Life)

MVP – Jay-Z

DJ of the Year – DJ AM

Hustler of the Year – Jay-Z

Made-You-Look Award – Kanye West

Best Site – Allhiphop.com

Allhiphop.com

Jay-Z reacts to MTV’s Hottest MCs 2009 List

Image: Roc Nation/MTV News

Image: Roc Nation/MTV News

Shortly after earning the top spot on MTV’s ‘Hottest MCs In The Game’ list, New York Hip Hop giant Sean ‘Jay-Z’ Carter shared his thoughts on the list, both thanking MTV but also questioning their choice.

Artists like Kanye West, 50 Cent, Lil Wayne and relative newcomer Drake were also featured but failed to top Jigga. Whilst appreciative for the recognition, in a recent statement Jay also openly questioned why Detroit rapper Eminem had been overlooked from the list.

The MTV 2009 ‘Hottest MCs’ List panned out as follows:

1. Jay-Z
2. Lil Wayne
3. Drake
4. Kanye West
5. Rick Ross
6. Gucci Mane
7. Young Jeezy
8. Fabolous
9. 50 Cent
10. Raekwon

In his statement Jay wrote: ‘MTV, Thanks for this nod of appreciation. Although I don’t strive to be ‘hot’ for any particular year, I thank you for the acknowledgment. My whole goal is to be recognized as the best ever. I created the term ‘best rapper alive’ as a sign of respect to my fallen comrades (Biggie and Tupac). I believe I’ve allowed a significant grace period, and I believe I would not be respecting myself if being the absolute best was not my goal, and that’s why I continue to push myself until exhaustion … salute.’

He then continued by joking, ‘Sidebar: Kanye moment if I may … Eminem?!?! I think you do the credibility of this list a disservice if you don’t thoroughly explain his omission. As of this second he has the highest selling rap album of the year and a scene stealing verse on the best ‘posse’ cut of the year . (*Hands mic back to Taylor Swift … and nobody was harmed, I apologize in advance.)’

Jay has done his best to make light of the Kanye VMAs situation since the surprise outburst and in typical Jigga fashion attempted to maintain a devil’s advocate approach, displaying a level of maturity that many of his peers are lacking.

MTV then responded to Jay’s comments, explaining that unlike than the other artists who made the list, Eminem has spent the entire season working on his forthcoming Relapse 2 project rather than ‘generat[ing] week-to-week heat with mixtapes, guest appearances, performances and Web activity.’ They also maintained that the list was finalised prior to the release of Drake’s noteworthy Forever that featured Em, Kanye and Lil Wayne.

In related news, according to Soundscan Jay-Z’s latest offering Blueprint 3 finished last week only a couple of thousand units shy of platinum and should certainly be on track for platinum status this week.

Respect in Hip Hop Culture: Art Versus Ego

Suite 101 - Respect In Hip Hop Culture

Suite 101 - Respect In Hip Hop Culture

Rappers are often synonymous with over-sized egos and bad behaviour, which seems so distanced from the forward-thinking and empowering movement that has influenced their music. Hip Hop as a genre has evolved greatly since its birth in the late 1970s, although sadly it seems that the culture is yet to mature

Humble, respectful and focused, are unfortunately terms rarely used to describe the majority of rappers in the public eye. Is it any wonder, after watching Kanye West’s latest outburst at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards, that Hip Hop has such a poor reputation in not only the media but popular culture as a whole? For all of the complaints that the music world does not take Hip Hop seriously as a genre, there are far more arguments for these preconceptions. Between legal trouble and constant displays of violence and disrespect in public, rappers are frequently tarnishing the reputation of Hip Hop as a culture….

Full article available on Suite 101:
http://raphiphopmusic.suite101.com/article.cfm/respect_in_hip_hop_culture

Soulja Boy & Kanye West Team Up

Despite the endless criticism from the hip hop community, Kanye West has always been a big supporter of teen superstar Soulja Boy. In fact, the young rapper revealed that he was currently working on Kanye’s fifth studio album.

Soulja Boy, who rose to international fame with the success of his debut single ‘Crank Dat,’ explained that he was ‘remixing a couple of records for’ Kanye. He then continued to explain that the super producer would be contributing to his latest project ‘The DeAndre Way.’

He then suggested that there was a mutual respect between the two artists, stating ‘We working together on production because he make beats and I make beats.’

Kanye has also in past showed a lot of respect for the young rapper’s work ethic, especially after the criticism from veteran rapper Ice-T. Shortly after the infamous insult, Kanye was quick to defend Soulja Boy, explaining that he is ‘fresh as hell and is actually the true meaning of what hip hop is supposed to be,’ before posing the question, ‘if that ain’t hip hop, then what is?’

Does Jay-Z’s Video Run This Town?

Jay-Z’s latest video for the second single from ‘Blueprint 3’ has premiered on MTV today. ‘Run This Town,’ which features Kanye West and Rihanna, is certainly a statement from President Carter, who is asking fans to ‘pledge allegiance to Roc Nation.’

Whilst the video is hardly groundbreaking, the use of pyrotechnics and edgy attire ensures that much like the song it is a statement to thehip hop world; 3 of the biggest figures in urban music saying ‘we’re here and we run this!’  The video certainly captures the essence of the track and frankly its nice to see a hip hop video that doesn’t rely soley on scantily-clad women and supercars, although the amount of symbolism may end up reigniting the Illuminati in Hip Hop conspiracy talk!

SO does Jay-Z Run This Town? Well, that is surely a question that is best left until ‘Blueprint 3’ drops next month.

run this town

Jamie Who? Drake & Kanye West Take Over ‘Digital Girl’

‘Digital Girl’ is the fouth single from Jamie Foxx’s ‘Intuition’ album. It is not Foxx, however, that makes this track stand out to the hip hop community, rather the features by Drake and Kanye West.

Drake fever seems to have really set in leading up to the fourth quarter of 2009. Having inked a deal with Lil Wayne’s Young Money Entertainment, the Canadian rapper is set to release his first studio album ‘Thank Me Later’ this winter. Drake mixtape ‘So Far Gone,’ which spawned several singles, has only increased the buzz surrounding his highly-anticipated debut album. Whilst it could be argued that his performance on this track wasn’t exactly outstanding, especially when compared with West, it demonstrates the young rapper’s industry presence and gives an insight into where the industry is heading.

Kanye West, on the other hand, provides the highlight to this single. Infamously unpredictable when it comes to musical styles, West seems to be enjoying his return to rapping. Although this single is hardly ‘Ye at his best, I would consider it a warm up. With several high profile collaborations and a number of other projects, the next chapter of the Kanye West story is unlikely to disappoint.

 

Video: OfficialNewHipHop

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