Nominations for the San Diego Music Awards were recently announced. Let me just say a couple things:
- 1. Odessa Kane deserves to win everything ever for Cuetes & Balisongs so the least we can do is award him with Best Hip-Hop Album.
- Mitchy Slick
Mitchy is this city's biggest hip-hop artist. In 2013, he came out of a 7-year hiatus to drop two solid solo efforts, Feet Match The Paint and Won't Stop. He tours internationally while repping S.D. despite not being welcome here.
Sufi is San Diego's second biggest hip-hop artist. He made a name for himself in L.A.'s avant-garde Low End Theory scene. Now, he also tours internationally. He's also started his own label, A1R, and signed his dope S.D. brethren to it.
- The Gaslamp Killer
GLK is San Diego's third biggest hip-hop artist (see a trend here?). He also gained acclaim as part of the Low End Theory scene. He actually produced Sufi's 2010 breakout album, A Sufi and a Killer. Sometime last year, he dropped his own amazing debut, Breakthrough. Now that the SDMA's don't have an Electronic category, GLK should definitely get a nod for Best Hip Hop.
- Orko Eloheim
Orko is the godfather of the entire SD underground scene. He should be recognized at some point in life.
- Scatterbrain / Infinity Gauntlet
Scatterbrain is a fine rapper but really it's his atmospheric production (under the moniker Infinity Gauntlet) that's making him such a figure in the scene. He produced the aforementioned Cuetes & Balisongs. In 2011, he produced another SDMA-nominated album, Genghis Khan's Night Gallery. He also produced the extremely dope Vernon Bridges album, Wrought of Chaos (mentioned below). There aren't many artists crafting better music than him around town.
- The Gaslamp Killer - Breakthrough
On this instrumental album, GLK draws from many disparate influences -- '80s horror, G-funk, DJ Shadow, Turkish classical music -- mixes those together in a meat grinder, and tries his best to make you freak out over it.
- Vernon Bridges - Wrought of Chaos / B.U.M.
Vernon Bridges dropped three albums in the last year, which I've gotten around to hearing two. Wrought, produced by Infinity Gauntlet, is lush and dramatic. B.U.M. is laidback and jazzy. Both are glued together by Vernon Bridges' off-kilter flow and psychedelic imagery.
- Stuntdouble & Tenshun - Pay Us A Visit
You know what it comes down to? The hooks. Stuntdouble & Tenshun made light-hearted yet intelligent hip-hop that you actually want to listen to because it has extremely catchy hooks. How often does that happen?
- Black Resume - Friends in High Places
This album is full of fun songs almost exclusively about women, weed, money, and braggadocio. Think about it like this: I generally hate partying and having a good time and I still like this album. It knocks.
- Beatsmith Resist - Philthy Phalangez
It's like a horror movie soundtrack with a beat behind it. Sometimes you're in awe. Sometimes you're kinda scared for your life. Sometimes both.
2. As for Best Hip-Hop, I might have flipped a coin between Blame One, Black Resume, and Parker & the Numberman. But Blame and P&T have already won SDMA's before and I like spreading the love. So I'd give it to Black Rez.
But that's not the point of this post at all. The point of this post is to give some modicum of recognition to San Diego hip-hop artists and albums that deserve much more recognition. Maybe they'll get that recognition next year or maybe the artists will just move on to way cooler things like touring all around the world or getting props from their rap heroes or something. Some of them have already done so.
Best Hip Hop Album
Quan Vu is the founder and editor of local music blog sdRAPS.com. He has also written about local and national hip-hop acts for San Diego CityBeat and the San Diego Reader. You can nerd out on rap trivia by becoming BFF's on Facebook or e-mailing him directly.