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The RapReviews Readers Awards 2008
Posted by Steve Juon at Tuesday, December 30th, 2008 at 12:30AM :: Email this article :: Print this article

2008Resident staff writer Jesal 'Jay Soul' Padania posted a RAPREVIEWS READERS AWARDS 2008 survey for the readers of RR to participate in, and now we've got the results! Read on to find out who won what!


After the numerous year-end reviews you have, no doubt, already read on the site, I'm sure that you have gained some specific insights into the minds and personal tastes of the staff. But what if you wanted to know more about other RR readers? What if you wanted to ordain certain songs, albums or artists yourselves? Well, here are the results of the FIRST EVER RapReviews Readers Awards!! Oh shit! The world just shifted axis!!

That's right, we invented an entirely new method of awards ceremony: asking the readers to pick their favourites. OK, that clearly isn't a new invention, but it is a first for this site. More than that, the results were incredibly fascinating, honestly.

So, without further ado, here are the results for the Top Singles, Albums and Artists of 2008, as voted for by YOU!


As voted for by you (with a huge turn-out, FYI) here are your Top 10 singles of the year that was 2008. Perhaps it wasn't as solid as '07 ended up being for hit songs, but there were still quite a few excellent moments. In the "Other" section - where you could name any other choices - Atmosphere fared particularly well, but the votes were split by four different song choices. It also appeared clear that if "Superstar" by Lupe Fiasco had been released this year, he would've won by a mile. Not the greatest Top 10 singles list ever, but not a bad one.

10) Kanye West - "Heartless"

Mr. West discovered singing, Auto-Tune and 808's. Whatever the results, this track was an undeniably catchy little number.

9) Elzhi ft Royce da 5'9" - "Motown 25"

A stunning modern day hip hop classic from three Detroit boys, Elzhi and Royce on the rhymes, and Black Milk on the soulful beat. The genre doesn't get much better than this. One of greatest tracks Detroit has ever released (yes, including Motown).

8) Jay-Z - "Jockin' Jay-Z"

A somewhat surprising choice, but a solid enough track: cool throwback Kanye beat and Jigga on autopilot, riding high from his virginal Glastonbury experience.

7) The Game - "My Life"
Perhaps not on par with his previous career highlights, but a decent track that was timed well to capitalise on Lil Wayne's success.

6) Lil Wayne - "A Milli"

This will probably go down as a classic - many will question that, but it grew into a genuine monster. Either you "get" it or you don't - RR readers seem to either love or hate Lil Wayne, but at least he is on your radar.

5) T.I./Kanye West/Jay-Z/Lil Wayne - "Swagga Like Us"

A nice throwback to the mid-90's posse cuts, before everyone started beefing. Excellent militant beat - the verses were good, not great, and T.I. probably dropped the best 16. Sampled the following track to clever effect.

4) M.I.A. - "Paper Planes"

An all-time classic song, ironically popularised by a pretty forgettable film. It really has become one of the defining anthems in the most recent era of rap. And Maya doesn't even rap on it. The chorus even samples "Rump Shaker" - which THE NEPTUNES originally wrote (ah-hah, you didn't know that shit, did you?).

3) Q-Tip - "Gettin' Up"

I've tried to describe this song accurately in words, but always failed. Without doubt, the most lush and welcome Dilla-esque soulfest of '08, and another timeless number that will explain to future generations WHY we love hip hop. For Q-Tip to be out the game for so many years and drop this, well that's just phenomenal.

2) Nas - "Hero"

Yes, Nas is a hero. But this song might not be his best effort - allegedly rushed out as a commercial single for the LP - and faded pretty quickly after his "Untitled" album dropped. Solid enough, but perhaps more indicative of how highly RR readers rate Nas.

1) Lupe Fiasco - "Hip Hop Saved My Life"

A deserved choice, a wonderful ode to the genre that we all love so much. The beat is simple and melodic, helping Lupe to drop a narrative dedicated to Slim Thug about the rise of a rapper. If any song has ever described the aspirations of a hungry MC as well as this, I have yet to hear it. You voted this the best single of 2008, and proved just why you have such great taste. You also voted Nelly's "Party People" the worst single. Now there are 2 reasons why you're so clever!


As voted for by you, here are your Top 10 albums of the year that was 2008. It was certainly better than the abysmal crop of 2007, but how many classics made it through? In the "Other" section - where you could name any other choices - Atmosphere fared particularly well, again, as did Black Milk's "Tronic." As for Jean Grae's "Jeanius" - well that is a few years old, even if it got officially released this year. It was clear that if "The Cool" by Lupe Fiasco had been released this year, he would've won by a mile. Not a Top 10 albums list to threaten either Golden Age, but one of the strongest years this decade, for sure.

10) Atmosphere - "When Life Gives You Lemons, You Paint That Shit Gold"

Incredibly, this wasn't on the list but managed to crack the Top 10 just voters ramming it through the "Other" box - that is impressive, and shows just how much RR readers rated the LP. It was dope, that's why.

9) Kanye West - "808s & Heartbreak"

A pretty controversial Mr West discovered singing, Auto-Tune and 808's (recycling is good). Whatever the results, this album got people talking. It also pleased and disappointed people in equal measure, but even the staunchest Kanye fans failed to vote it in the top spot. It provided something a bit different, though.

8) The Game - "L.A.X"

A solid enough album, but one that was ranked fourth or fifth by most readers. It certainly sank soon enough, even if there were a few great moments on there, like "A Letter to MLK" - but the LP didn't provide as many memorable flashes that The Game normally gives us. Maybe he needs to get angry again.

7) Elzhi - "The Preface"

It is safe to say that this is the type of album that many RR readers simply feast upon. With a bit of tweaking, it may well have been considered a real classic, but it just fell short, and had to settle for being for being plain wicked. Black Milk's production seems to be approaching brilliance, and this album will prove a useful marker in years to come.

6) Ludacris - "Theater of the Mind"

For such a well put-together album, it didn't really make much of an impression - sales, legacy, hits... Even the Nas/Jigga collabo didn't really pan out too well. Yet, Luda is such a charismatic and talented MC. He really is a great all-rounder, and should relish his role, whilst quietly accepting that he will never be considered a legendary album-maker. So stick to making hits, and being popular - there are far worse things in this life.

5) T.I. - "Paper Trail"

Sandwiched between Lil Wayne and Ludacris, is there any doubt that this was a real and true coming of age for the South? If last year belonged Chicago, this year belongs to the South, and T.I. has finally broken out as an international superstar with this album (make no mistake, he is way ahead of Lil Wayne in that respect). Even if "Whatever You Like" was a bit mindless, there were many moments when Tip flipped the turbo switch. It is thrilling to see him go top speed.

4) Lil Wayne - "Tha Carter III"

Probably the biggest love/hate album in the history of hip hop. It still sold over "A Milli" first-week, and frankly, it just about deserved to. Clearly, RR readers hate him, whilst RR readers love him. A year ago, I barely knew where he was. But hey, he got you talking, and he provoked a reaction - which is more than I can say for "rappers" like Nelly.

3) The Roots - "Rising Down"

The Roots just keep coming back album after album with quality, and clearly "Rising Down" was amongst their best work. Why haven't they cemented their place in the top echelon of hip hop? It is surely going to go down as one of the enduring mysteries. With stunning live shows and top-notch music, might the fault lie with Black Thought? Even if he is an amazing MC, he never seems to have permeated pop culture. Controversial, sure, but the puzzle will never be solved. Either way, RR readers (and staff) hold The Roots in high regard.

2) Q-Tip - "The Renaissance"

This just lost out on top spot by a handful of votes - and most were in agreement that this was a smooth and graceful return to the major leagues for Q-Tip, nine years since his last solo effort. Well, "The Renaissance" was certainly one of the most enjoyable efforts this year, and I'm sure that even Lupe Fiasco will be bumping this one for a while to come. Will I ever stop going on about "Gettin' Up" being one of the greatest hip hop singles of all time? Probably not.

1) Nas - "Untitled"

A somewhat controversial choice by you, the RR readers, since most of the world agreed that whilst the lyrics were stunning, the music was average. Yet, Nas always rises to the top and did so again this year. We have now come to expect little musically from his albums, but in such an historic year (you voted in a black President, FFS!!) race was an issue, and sweeping the word "NIGGER" under the carpet seemed pretty ridiculous. I can see why they would want to limit the damage the word could do, but I prefer to quote Chris Rock: "Hey, I love Flavor. Loving him for 20 years. But Flavor Flav must be killed. In order for black people to truly reach the Promised Land, Flavor Flav has to be shot. These are important times! We got a black man running for President! We don't need a nigger running around with a fucking clock around his neck and a Viking hat on his head!" You think that the word "nigger" is ready to be retired? Nas and RR readers think you're fucking delusional.


Here are the Top 5 artists that you voted for in 2008. It is as interesting choice, and displays the problems that Lupe Fiasco posed. If "The Cool" - pretty much a cast-iron classic - had been released 3 weeks later, it would have almost certainly swept up this year. As would "Superstar." However, his artistry managed to get him the bronze medal, whilst, the ubiquitous Lil Wayne netted the silver. Out in front, Nas proved himself. Except it didn't quite work out like that. Lil Wayne actually shaded Nas for top spot. Yes, YOU voted Lil Wayne as YOUR top artist of 2008! Don't fucking email me about this, email each other!!

5) T.I. - He has had one of those Diet Tupac Shakur years, and came out on top.

4) Q-Tip - A real Renaissance for Kamaal, and such a welcome addition to the list.

3) Lupe Fiasco - If this motherfucker retires with a triple CD, he is insane. He is too good and hip hop actually needs him.

2) Nas - He is like that crazy uncle of yours that always knows what buttons to push, just to get an appropriate reaction.

1) Lil Wayne - Hey, buddy, don't look at me; I'm just the messenger. Still, congrats to Mr Carter, and lets hope he doesn't explode into a ball of flames. Next year will be harder for him, what with Jay-Z, Dr Dre, Eminem, 50 Cent and a rapping Kanye West. Hey, 2009 looks good on paper.

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