The time has finally come to announce the winners for Uptown Soldier’s End Of The Year Awards. There was a bunch of tough categories and these decisions were extremely hard. I appreciate everyone that commented and gave feedback about the nominees, we really love the support. Anyways, hit the jump for our End Of The Year Award Winners. Again, any comments or opinions feel free to Fire Away. If you missed the nominees, check them out here.
Uptown Soldier’s End Of The Year Award Winners:
Best Album: Jay-Z & Kanye West – Watch The Throne
This album literally shook up the world. This album made old men squeamish. This album has such an epic feel to it and the records on it are nothing but that. With singles like “Otis” and “Paris” this album has the overall quality and the firepower to compete with any album. For a long time, people will remember WTT.
2nd place - Section 80, 3rd place - Take Care
Best Mixtape: Pusha T – Fear Of God
When you talk pure rap, go no farther than FOG. This mixtape dropped earlier this year and burst Pusha back onto the Hip Hop scene as a solo artist. He has since made visuals for a bunch of the songs and even made a sequel that dropped in the fall. This tape has some of the best bars of the year, some big time features, and one of the best rap singles in “My God”.
2nd place – The Eleven One Eleven Theory, 3rd place – The Real Is Back
Rookie Of The Year: J. Cole
This was the year J. Cole had been waiting to have for a long time. Earlier in 2011 Cole got his official date, “Work Out” dropped back in June, and everything was primed and ready for a dope debut album. Cole delivered to his fans one of the better debut albums in recent history. He went HAM on tracks, he brought new innovative beats, and still gave die-hards that vintage Cole we all know and love. The album also had great commercial success and was the #1 album when it debuted. Get ready for more big time years from this all star.
2nd place – Kendrick Lamar, 3rd place – Childish Gambino
Sophomore Of The Year: Drake
Giving this award was probably the easiest of the group. Drizzy lit this year up. From features, to buzz, to finally his sophomore album Take Care, Drake was in every conversation and his music continues to get more and more love. His numbers are fantastic, his fan feedback is very positive, and overall Drake continues to take the right steps towards even greater success. Salute Drizzy, keep it up.
2nd place – Wiz Khalifa, 3rd place – Wale
Best Feature: Kendrick Lamar “The City”
K. Dot seriously spazzed on this record. Like what the fuck man. You serious Kendrick? This beat was already sounding pretty epic, then Kendrick drops in and does like 10 900′s on that bitch. He kills the intro speeding up Game’s slower flow then the beat kicks in and Kendrick goes even crazier. But man, when the beat drops out, I haven’t seen someone spaz like this in a while. If you never heard this record go fuckin listen to this shit right now, skip to around the 4:00 mark, and sit back, just fuckin listen. If you heard it I know you bump this shit regularly so we good. “Never went commercial, never TV-screened that shit!!!!”
2nd place - Wiz Khalifa “Sleazy (Remix)”, 3rd place - Rick Ross “John”
Best Collaboration (Song): “I’m On One” Drake, Lil Wayne, Rick Ross, DJ Khaled
It was really hard choosing between this joint and “N***as In Paris” but had this come out after WTT then things might be a little different. Timing is key in Hip Hop and it shows right here with “I’m On One”. When this track dropped early in May, I knew they had something here. Drizzy delivers the best hook since “Money 2 Blow” as well as a solid verse, Rozay blesses the beat with his presence, and Weezy may have slacked jussssst a little but no one’s complaining. This song was THE song of the summer. No debating that. The beat mixed with Drake’s hook is just one of the most catchy songs on anyone’s playlists of their favorite songs. This also was a collab in the purest form, thanks to Khaled for setting it up.
2nd place – “N***as In Paris” Jay-Z & Kanye West, 3rd place - ”Ima Boss” Meek Mill & Rick Ross
Best Remix: “All Of The Lights” Lil Wayne, Drake, Big Sean
I never thought a remix to a Ye track without Ye on it would win an award like this, but hey, these three rappers really brought it on this track. Weezy’s sound is perfect for the intro and he actually delivers on his verse. He doesn’t pick up his flow when the beat kicks in but it works. Then Big Sean picks up the slack. For a guy who’s not known for his lyrics, Big Sean silences some critics on this one. Usually they save the best verse for last and this remix was a perfect example of that. Drake starts his 2011 off with a very good performance on this track. Weezy and Sean may have been real good on this, but Drizzy made this track hot. “Bad decisions, good intentions” was every girl/guy’s Facebook status at one point. “Saying I ain’t drop shit, everything will be fine” telling the haters that relax its March, Take Care is dropping end of the year fool. Overall, it’s easily the best remix of the year. Such a shame Ye couldn’t be on this, shit would’ve been epic.
2nd place - ”Racks Remix” Various Artists, 3rd place – “Dance (A$$)” Big Sean, Nicki Minaj
Comeback Artist Of The Year: Wale
Where was Wale in 2010? Sitting on the success of Attention Deficit, Wale was coolin then in the late summer dropped More About Nothing. This was the first sign of Wale really beginning to progress as an artist. Ricky Rozay obviously was liking what he was hearing from Wale and signed him in early 2011. From then on in, Wale was Ricky Rozay’s #1 artist and his career has since changed. Wale had a huge year. Self Made was a big score for Wale and the MMG promotion team has been off the charts since. Wale dropped a mixtape and an album this year, both of high quality. He flooded the internet with freestyles, throwaways, dope music videos, vlogs, interviews, and so much more. His promotion caused his hype to be super high for Ambition on November 1st that Wale sold 162k copies in his first week. There was no bigger comeback story than Wale this year. As he embarks on the second leg of his sold out Ambition tour, we will see if Wale can continue to build his buzz.
2nd place – Lupe Fiasco
Biggest Loser: Soulja Boy
Crank Dat’s career went wayyyyyy downhill this year. I mean after the whole Kat Stacks debacle a while back, Soulja Boy hasn’t necessarily recovered. Soulja only turned the big two-one this year but was apparently purchasing a 55 million dollar jet? The rumors were flying heavy this year and after continued legal trouble, the skys don’t look so blue. Beyond all that, the music this year from Soulja Boy was awful, dreadful, and unlistenable (not a word, I know). For a guy who had a somewhat bright future just a few years ago, he has a lot of picking up to do.
2nd place – Lil Boosie, 3rd place – Pill
Biggest Disappointment (Project): Blue Slide Park – Mac Miller
The hype and build up to this album was similar to that of Wale’s. His management did a great job of making the right moves, dropping the singles as videos, and headlining a cross country tour. This was all leading up to his November release date and carried high expectations for the album. It’s really unfortunate that the album didn’t hit home with a lot of people. Yes it may have been the number one album, but Mac has his management to thank for that. The quality of the music is so not there. I personally like “Donald Trump” and Best Day Ever much more than I do Blue Slide Park. Mac had been progressing a lot. I really liked a lot of the tracks he was dropping for his Twitter followers (eventually on the mixtape) and thought the album was going to blow me away. November 8th came and that didn’t happen. I don’t know what happened, but the music doesn’t “wow” me. I was expecting a lot from Mac, which is why this is such a disappointment.
2nd place – The R.E.D. Album – The Game, 3rd place – Tha Carter IV – Lil Wayne
Biggest Surprise: Kendrick Lamar
The perfect description for this winner lies in our Year In Review Topic #4 we released yesterday. Check that out. But for real, Kendrick came out of no where this year with Section 80 and his features. His skill leave and mic presence is almost unmatched amongst the up and coming rappers. This guy may have been the biggest surprise, but he’ll be around for years to come.
2nd place – Childish Gambino, 3rd place – Frank Ocean
Who’s Next: Tie – The Weeknd/Los
The Weeknd is definitely from outer space. Like where did Drizzy find this guy. Toronto is doing some shit lately in this music game and with a lot of success. The Weeknd went crazy and dropped 3 huge mixtapes this year that had the blogword (Hip Hop fans too) buzzing at all time highs. All three got phenomenal fan feedback calling for more music from The Weeknd. He was one of a few guys this year that really brought R&B to the masses in a new, innovative way. His feature on Drake’s album is a fan favorite and there will only be more and more good music from The Weeknd and Drizzy. Expect a lot from this guy in 2012.
2011 was a big time year for Los. Even though he’s been around for a few years, he really stepped up his game in 2011. His music this year was on that level us bloggers love finding. He dropped a bunch of mixtapes and his most recent The Crown Ain’t Safe may be my personal favorite. His sound is new and innovative while he’s lyrics are catchy with a dope flow. He continues to churn out more and more music so you got to expect 2012 to be a huge year.
3rd place – Slim The Mobster
Best Music Video: “Otis” Jay-Z & Kanye West
Chopping up a Maybach. Redoing it to look like a car from Back To The Future. Tossing 4 white girls in the back seat and doing donuts. Talk about some shit. Jay and Ye were just at an entirely new level than everyone this year. This award is rightfully theirs, this video was nuts!!!
2nd place – “Lost Ones” J. Cole, 3rd place – “Trouble On My Mind” Pusha T, Tyler The Creator
Producer Of The Year: Tie – Just Blaze/No I.D.
Both these guys really brought their A+ games this year. Starting with Just Blaze, from doing Saigon’s entire album to producing on Self Made to producing on Blue Slide Park to producing on Take Care, this guy was putting some of the best music on the market. His job on “Lord Knows” is so epic and not many remember Rick Ross’s “I Love My Bitches” that Just crafted. Overall, Just Blaze had a fire year. No I.D. may have had a slightly bigger than Just Blaze though. His work on both Big Sean’s and Common’s album this year were phenomenal. Hits on hits on hits for No I.D. and some tracks that didn’t get as much publicity including “Primetime” on WTT and “Never Told” on Cole World.
2nd place – T-Minus/40, 3rd place – Hit-Boy
Best Beat: “N***as In Paris” Jay-Z & Kanye West/Hit-Boy
There’s not much I need to say about this beat. It goes on, everyone spazzes, it ends, it gets replayed, everyone spazzes again, and so on and so forth. This is a legendary record and it starts with the beat.
2nd place - ”Ima Boss” Meek Mill x Rick Ross/Jahlil Beats, 3rd place – “HiiiPower” Kendrick Lamar/J. Cole
Best Promotion Team: Wale/Ambition/MMG/NUE/BOA/Roc Nation
Wale just barely squeaks out this award. His team was on some I’m spitting the best game of my life to this girl shit. Seriously, this year, Wale’s team was pushing his brand so heavy. They all musta been on steroids or something. It was crazy this year. Wale really took #NODAYSOFF and dropped new content all the time as well as constantly being on tour. Rightfully so, Wale’s sales numbers were on par with his stellar promotion and now Wale can raise his glass to a phenomenal year.
2nd place – Mac Miller/Blue Slide Park/Rostrum, 3rd place - The Throne/WTT/Roc Nation/Def Jam
Rapper Actor Of The Year: Kid Cudi
The success of How To Make It In America really catapulted Cudder to the top spot in this category. He wasn’t the lead, but played a really quality role in this show that took the youth audience by storm. His music style was aptly reflected in his role and overall was a really good look for Cudder. Unfortunately the show got cancelled so Cudder’s gonna have to do some other acting to get back here next year.
2nd place – Childish Gambino, 3rd place – 50 Cent
Best Concept Project The Greatest Story Never Told - Saigon
This album was a long, long time coming. Saigon was hot like 5 years ago, but for some reason there were issues with his album. Finally this year, GSNT was released and to many, completely surpassed expectations. The album has the best concept of the year which is expected from Saigon, a more political/intellectual rapper. The messages on the album all add towards the over-arching concept. Just Blaze provides that superstar production and we got one of the better albums of the year.
Best Twitter Ranter: Joe Budden
This was probably one of the tougher races amongst the awards, but I had to give it to Joey. Now in his advanced levels of celibacy, the ignorance tweeted on a daily basis is at all time highs. Jumpoff Joe Beezy been saying some crazy ass shit lately whether its about Tahiri or other women, the latest trending discussion, or just about some hoodrat shit. Joe Budden goes off on Twitter, definitely a must follow.
2nd place – 50 Cent, 3rd place – Wale
Best Line: “Killin’ n***as for jays that death over designer” – J. Cole
He said it in September, it happened in real life in December. Damn. Cole World, no blankets.
2nd place - ”That Shit Cray” – Kanye West
Best Artist: Kanye West
This was a really tough decision as well, but when you consider the buzz around Kanye for the past 12 months…its been insane. He dropped MBDTF back in November of 2010, so who was everyone buzzing over at the beginning of this year? Kanye. His music was soaring up the charts and the competition wasn’t exactly following along. Ye’s buzz soared even higher with the progression of the WTT promotion and lead up to the album. His production and verses on WTT are of epic status and Ye proves to be legendary. His various appearances in public causes havoc, his sneaker line is absurdly expensive, and pretty much everything Ye does screams superstar. What artist puts out an MBDTF quality album and a WTT quality album in less than 12 months. No one. This was Kanye’s year
2nd place – Drake
Thanks for checking out our awards this year. Hit us up with comments and feedback. We want your opinions. Stay tuned for more original content from Uptown Soldier in the near future.