After weeks of time, effort, and debate from the staff at Rapzilla, we bring to you the nominations for Best Album of 2010, Best Compilation of 2010 , Best Mixtape of 2010, Best Song of 2010, Best Artist of 2010, Best Group/Crew of 2010, Best New Artist of 2010, Best Producer of 2010, Best Album Cover of 2010, and Best Music Video of 2010.
To qualify to be nominated, the release date must have been during December 2009 to November 2010. Click 'Like' to vote for your top picks! We will be following up and posting the winners by reader votes as well as Rapzilla's Best of 2010 picks. Voting ends February 10th.
The truth is, we live not in a Theocracy. Long gone are the days where Rulers, Kings, Monarchs, and Presidents look to a higher being in the decision making process. Human reasoning and understanding has become the final authority in all matters.
There is a tension that many believers find themselves in; the desire to stand up for what they believe in while understanding the world in which they live.
As a business, hip hop has always relied on the power of sex for profit. For years, artists like Patra, Foxy Brown, Lil Kim, and Nikki Minaj, to name a few, have capitalized on their sex appeal to great effect. Meaning they've made heaps of dollars by coupling art and sexuality. So with the reality of sex as entertainment ever before us, certain questions must be asked: how do we educate the impressionable minds being bombarded daily with sex and sex and more sex? Who is to provide this education? Parents, school teachers, the church?
After sharing my concern and frustration with some colleagues regarding reading album reviews and their ratings over the years that received 4, 4.5, or 5 mics/stars that are in my opinion undeserving, I decided to publish my thoughts.
I grew up not knowing about Jesus, the church culture, or Christian music. I was saved in 2004, so up until that point I listened to mostly secular hip hop, rock, and some pop. I discovered hip hop when I was about 6 years old (1984). I really started studying hip hop, the production, the lyrics, reading every word in the liner notes, and reading magazines like The Source, XXL, Murder Dog, Vibe, etc. when I was in 8th grade. I gave up baseball card collecting and started to get deep into music and all that came with it.
Magazines really had a lot of weight with regards to news, rumors, independent highlights, and album ratings up until roughly 2005 - 2007. Some of those top hip hop magazines really gained a reputation of rating an album accurately. Some of those magazines were so trust worthy with their album reviews and ratings that you automatically went and bought an album if it got 4 mics or above. Given the audience that reads Rapzilla.com is probably 95% Christian, and a good amount of those Christians didn't listen to secular hip hop and aren't old enough to know most of the albums that I'm going to shed light on below, I don't expect this article to be of much impact with our reader base. But for those that are old enough, and do know the albums that I'm going to shed light on, and are album reviewers or work for media in Christian music, specifically Christian Hip Hop, I hope to make an impact.
CHRISTIAN DISS RECORDS ARE LAME AND NOT SCRIPTURAL! There, I said it and it feels good to say. I can’t see how anyone is celebrating Stanley Burrell aka MC Hammer’s thinly veiled diss track aimed at Jay-Z. (By the way, the MC is officially back in his name. You may remember that he took it out of his name at one point.) You cannot point to any valid scriptural basis and tell me that what this guy is doing is rooted in spiritual or biblical principles. This is not an attempt to show Sean Carter the error of his ways - its a diss track through and through. For crying out loud - he said he was going to “bust him in the mouth” then at the end of the video he baptises him?! As the scholars of old use to say: “GET THE HECK OUTTA HERE!”
For those not really sure on where all of this came from, allow me to bring you up to speed real quick. Jay said in the Kanye West song “So Appalled” the following:
"And Hammer went broke so you know I'm more focused/ I lost 30 mil so I spent another 30/ Cause unlike Hammer 30 million can't hurt me."
“Your favorite “Christian” hip-hop artist isn’t a Christian.” Have you ever heard that? What about this one: “Your favorite “holy” hip-hop artist doesn’t really rep the gospel.” Or how about this one: “Your favorite Christian emcee is okay but they talk about the gospel way too much.” And why would anyone feel like this or say something so divisive? Because of their favorite “Christian” hip-hop artist. Their favorite crew or emcee does this “Christian” hip-hop thing the right way and yours is in sin. Now, of course their favorite hip-hop artist didn’t say that their fan should feel this way about yours, but their favorite guy is right, so by default - yours is wrong.
Its a silly train of thought, but let’s face it - we’ve all seen it in our scene. We divide over camps, crews and cliques and their ideologies and if yours doesn’t line up with mine then yours is wrong. And we ALL know that among Christians, wrong = sin. So if your favorite emcee isn’t repping like Reach Records then they really aren’t repping. Or if they don’t rep like Frontlynaz then they are doing it wrong. Or if they aren’t reaching the people like the Humble Beast camp then they aren’t really doing it. Websites, message boards and Twitter arguments are the petri dishes that feed this fungus of an ideology creating the divisions we see in our “holy hip-hop” circles. Meanwhile, as people are arguing over who is really repping Christ (or being a Christian at all by some people’s judgements) the artists themselves are celebrating the contributions of the people their fans are condemning!
Often words begin with a singular meaning in a certain context, and evolve into various meanings. Examples of words that have evolved and added to the book of slang, in the hip hop context are: dope, ill, fresh, word, sick, etc. In our opinion, there is a difference between the evolution of dope, ill, fresh, word, sick, etc, and the term leak. The difference is these words evolved from a singular meaning in a certain context, to a new meaning in a different context.
If you've been around the Christian Hip Hop scene for any period of time, you've heard people say "secular beats are sin." Even in my most zealous, legalistic days I've never really got on board with that idea. I mean c'mon son, sin?!?! Like, you can go to hell over this if you don't repent of it - sin? Like, Jesus went on the cross and died so that the "Power" instrumental doesn't separate us from our Heavenly Father - sin?!?! Like, if you're a Catholic emcee (shout out to ManChild!) you need to go to confessional, do Hail Mary's and rosary beads - sin?!?!
I heard a song on the radio the other night and it bothered me to my core. Maybe you've seen it performed on Late Night with Jimmy Falon. Its the new song "B.M.F." (Blowing Money Fast) from Rick Ross aka Ricky Rozay (huh?). The song is from his new #1 selling album (180,000 sold in the first week) 'Teflon Don'. As soon as I heard the chorus I became enraged. It starts like this:
"I feel like Big Meech, Larry Hoover..."
Right there, in my car, in my own way - I lost it. Why? Because I saw what was happening. What was happening was a destructive idea moving from idealistic imagery, to becoming a living, flesh and blood folk hero. There are a few ways to promote & glorify a lifestyle and one of those ways is the celebration of its heroes. But on the surface, one would think all this song is promoting is a lifestyle of glamorous spending and luxurious living. After all, the song is called "Burning Money Fast" right? WRONG!
As both an artist and listener I've noticed something fairly peculiar about Christians and their critiques of another artists music. I don't really see it among so-called "secular" audiences or any other music subset. What is "it" that is so different? Its this:
People feel like they can't just NOT LIKE the music.
Have you ever asked a Christian their opinion about another Christian artist? ESPECIALLY artists that use an urban music style? 8.5 times out of 10, if they don't like it they won't say "I don't like it." They have to give these deep, theological reasons as to why they don't like it. "Its not enough meat in it for me" or "they don't rep Jesus hard enough for me." What the heck does that even mean?!?!? Is there a Jesus quota to be Jesus'd enough? Do you have to quote Albert Mohler or something or have an RC Sproul sermon as the hook to be meaty enough? Do you have to have a song entitled "substitutionary atonement" to be deep enough to be considered Christian?