Since no one seems to have covered any hip hop (outside of MIA), I have taken it upon myself to handle this task. Since in my opinion there weren't 10 good hip hop albums released, I have handed out 10 awards. If I were to do a rock list, I think it would be pretty redundant with what everyone else wrote (Radiohead, Justice, Liars, White Stripes, Panda Bear, Of Montreal, Devandra Banhart, Babyshambles, Arctic Monkeys and the hip hop album of the year....)
Album of the Year
Lupe Fiasco - The Cool
Lupe waited until 4th quarter to pretty much blow everything else released in 2007 out of the water. A concept album about the streets, music industry, and the struggles between the two made for one of the most cohesive albums in recent memory. Ranging from addressing critics who think he should simply his lyrics and message in the song "Dumb It Down" to speaking on victims of rape in "Intruder Alert" to personifying a hamburger in "Gotta Eat", a song about how cheap fast food impacts the health of poor, Lupe creates an album that is so far left of the mainstream gun, drugs and sex, yet manages to coat this message in appealing production.
Lupe Fiasco - The Coolest
Rapper of the Year
Lil Wayne was everywhere this year - beyond jumping on countless remixes and collaborations, Wayne managed to release a plethora of music (so much so that Vibe magazine released a Top 77 Lil Wayne songs of 2007 list). Whether rapping over original production, other people's songs, or rapping over unconventional hip hop samples (such as The Beatles - Help and Heart - What About Love), Wayne's metaphors, delivery and overall style was miles above the competition.
Lil Wayne - I Feel Like Dyin'
Most Overrated Album Of The Year
Jay Z - American Gangster
I'm sorry, but wanting to listen to this album is about on par with a basketball fan rather watching Michael Jordan Wizards era highlights as opposed to his time with the Bulls. There is nothing new or original on this record that he hasn't done countless times before, yet critics seem like they have to praise it because its *JAY Z*. Also, claiming inspiration from a movie as an excuse for a president of a record label to make it seem ok that he is rapping about guns, drugs, etc is pretty transparent. There are two good songs on here - Roc Boys and Ignorant Shit (which ironically was an outtake from The Black Album).
Jay Z - Ignorant Shit
Worst Album Of The Year
50 Cent - Curtis
I dont have much to say other than this album, or what I allowed myself to listen to was pretty much awful. 50 Cent is rich and famous and that seems to have taken out most of his hunger and originality out of him. His single with Justin Timberlake sounds like his verse was tacked on a throwaway track from Justin's album. How many times can he make the song Magic Stick? (Current total - 3 times). He had a few good songs on the album (such as I Still Kill and I Get Money), but for someone who is supposed to be a superstar, this really isn't cutting it.
50 Cent feat. Justin Timberlake - Ayo Technology
Best Crossover Record
Kanye West - Stronger
50 Cent's record sales rival Kanye West showed 50 how to be commercial, yet maintain artistic credibility with his song Stronger. Sampling Daft Punk made this a record that crossed so many boundries - musicially, geographically, etc. But, without putting any unnecessary thought into it, its a hot record.
Kanye West - Stronger
Funniest Sexual Reference
Cam'ron - Just Us
After trading jabs with 50 Cent via You Tube videos, Cam'ron dropped off the radar for most of 2007, only to return with his 2CD mixtape - Public Enemy No. 1. His single, Just Us, takes inspiration from the Sopranos season finale, sampling Journey and non-chalantly delivers a line that makes me laugh out loud everytime I say it. That line "I gave her a sanchez - yes a dirty one". What a gem!
Collaboration of the Year
CRS - Us Placers
A super group consisting of Pharrel, Lupe Fiasco, and Kanye West, Us Placers uses a sample that you non-hiphop listening, indie rock loving hipsters can identify - Thom Yorke - The Eraser. Originally appearing on Kanye's "Can't Tell Me Nothing" mixtape. This was by far one of the highlights. With a possible full length album in the works in 2008, CRS's first effort has me asking for more.
CRS - Us Placers
Mixtape of the Year
Take your pick
Lil Wayne flooded the market with several great mixtapes, all great in their own way (Carter 3 Sessions, Da Drought 4, Dedication 3, etc). Whether rapping over original beats or one-upping rappers on their beats, Wayne's mixtapes were head and shoulders above the competition.
Lil Wayne - Prostitute Flange
DJ of the Year
DJ Khaled had some of the biggest hits of the year, putting together huge collaboration records and remixes that were smash hits in 2007. We Takin Over, Brown Paper Bag, and I'm So Hood were all in the elite class of posse cuts of 2007.
Dj Khaled - We Takin' Over
So there you go, love it or leave it, that was Dr. Moshe's 2007 Hip Hop awards, adding some much needed musical diversity to the Top 10 Albums blog that I thoroughly enjoyed reading through.