Ten years ago it would have been ridiculous to think that a fleet of limousines would converge upon the back-alley entrance of the Shelter for a Monday night hip-hop awards ceremony. It would have been more ridiculous to think that people from around the world would be huddled around their Internet machines waiting on a small update about what was happening in said dingy Detroit club.
But imagining how things might have been a decade ago is a waste of time. All you need to really know is that things in Detroit hip hop have changed. Changed a lot.
Limousines did in fact converge on the Shelter last week. As did an entire army of hip-hop heads dressed in their best (or worst). And the place was crammed full of people there to celebrate their own, to celebrate those kicking up dust on a local or national (or international) level.
Hosted by DJ K-Nice and his partner DJ Money Mic, the second annual DJKNICE.com Detroit Hip-Hop Awards ceremony went down without a hitch. Money Mic says a main purpose of the awards is to spotlight lesser-known, but no-less-skilled Detroiters. To let artists within the community know that they are respected and recognized for their craft.
“We felt that Detroit artists needed a night when they were treated like royalty,” he says. “It’s our own Grammies.”
The artists, for the most part, were treated like royalty, and the merch moved faster than schtupping rabbits.
Voting for the winners took place over a 12-day period at DJKNICE.com. Those who logged on were eligible to vote one time. Folks from as far away as the United Arab Emirates, New Zealand and Germany polled in on artists like Big Herk, Guilty Simpson and Miz Korona.
“Everybody that won deserved to win, and there weren’t really any major surprises to me,” continues Money Mic.
Big Herk was a big winner, trucking home a mantel piece for both Album of the Year (Local) and Solo Artist of the Year (Local). The hilarious horror-movie-turned-rap-group, the Fat Killahz, walked away with group of the year while Trick Trick won Best Song of the Year with “My Name Is.”
This year the national category was all about Obie Trice, and he was there, hammered, to accept his awards. Trice stumbled to the stage with a drink in each fist. He used a stage pole for support. Then he humbly and respectfully accepted awards for Album of the Year (National), Solo Artist of the Year (National), and Song of the Year (National). Special recognition awards were presented to local promoters In the Mix for endless organizational efforts; Paul Rosenberg, Em’s lawyer, let the members of D-12 accept his award.
And it wasn’t just an awards ceremony, either. Live performances had heads bobbing, arms waving and hands wigwagging. Heavy audience participation turned the night into one of those beautifully gray 8 Mile scenes. Quest M.C.O.D.Y. didn’t score any awards, but along with the Legion of Doom, gave the night’s most powerful and energetic set.
With a whole stage crew of about 15 sipping on it, Bareda tore through his award-winning song, “Somethin’ Bout The Yak,” while Phat Kat went the extra mile in audience participation and passed a spliff through the crowd. Though rapping over an instrumental backing track to new material, Miz Korona was still inspiring.
Big Herk and Rock Bottom were the logical choice to close out the bash. The pair gave attitude-rich, smoked-out performances of “Guilty as Charged” and “Gangtsas Only” for those who stayed to the end.
List of winners:
Group of the Year: Fat Killahz
Lyricist of the Year: Guilty Simpson
Female Artist of the Year: Miz Korona
Freestyle MC of the Year: Marv Won
Live Performer of the Year: Paradime
Album of the Year: Big Herk, Guilty as Charged
Song of the Year: Trick Trick, “My Name Is”
Album of the Year (National): Obie Trice, Cheers
Group of the Year (National): D-12
Best Song Group or Duo: Proof/Mu/Journalist 103 “Broken”
Detroit Recognition Award: In The Mix
Solo Artist of the Year (National): Obie Trice
Single of the Year: Phat Kat Featuring Big Tone, “It’s A Rap”
Detroit Pioneer Award: Paul Rosenberg
Best Song (Solo): Bareda, “Somethin’ Bout the Yak”
Mixtape of the Year: D-12
Bootleg This Album; Song of the Year (National): Obie Trice, “The Set Up”
Producers of the Year: Sick Notes
Solo Artist of the Year: Big Herk
Promoter of the Year: T-Mac ProductionsAdam Stanfel is a freelance writer. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org