Several rappers deserve acknowledgment in 2011 for finding success via nontraditional avenues.
Bun B and YoYo broke new ground in education. The Beastie Boys scored major career achievement recognition. Ice Cube, Game, Kanye West, and Jay-Z used their influence to promote family values as opposed to the genre's usual celebration of debauchery.
The Aftermath, Yahoo! Music's hip-hop news webisode series, spotlights these achievements with special classic-rap-song themed Year-End Awards.
THE AFTERMATH YEAR-END AWARD WINNERS
Boogie Down Productions "You Must Learn" Award
Co-Winner: Bun B
— During the Spring of 2011, UGK member Bun B, who appears on the Jay-Z song "Big Pimpin'," was a distinguished visiting lecturer in Religious Studies at Houston's Rice University. Bun B co-taught the "Religion And Hip Hop Culture" course with Anthony Pinn. Pinn said Bun B plays a vital role in the instruction. "After a class lecture given by Bun B, it was clear to me that his insights and expertise needed to be shared with Rice students beyond a one-time visit to my class," Pinn said. "So, I invited him to co-teach the course with me." In an exclusive video interview with Yahoo! Music last year, Bun B explained his goals for the class. "It's an opportunity to make education an interactive process as [opposed] to memorization and regurgitation. It's really about making you a part of what is happening in the classroom. …What we are trying to do with this course is not bring in new information, so to speak, which will be done, but I think trying to really somehow create a new way of communication in the college classroom."
Co-Winner: YoYo —
YoYo, veteran Los Angeles-based female MC, launched her summer program, YoYo's School Of Hip Hop, in July. One hundred students aged 8 to 17 participated in the 8-week session that taught kids about metaphors, similes, rhyme patterns, bars, hip-hop dance, confidence, and obedience. "We also give them a lot of love," YoYo told Yahoo! Music in August. "It's the biggest blessing. It's the best thing I've ever done." The YoYo School Of Hip Hop returns for a winter session held over the Christmas break.
OutKast / Goodie Mob "Git Up Git Out Git Something" Award
Winner: Beastie Boys — In 2012, legendary Beastie Boys, who released their seminal album "Licensed To Ill" in 1986, will become the third rap group to be inducted into the Rock 'N Roll Hall Of Fame. Previous inductees include Grandmaster Flash & The Furious 5 and Run-D.M.C.
Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince "Parents Just Don't Understand" Award
Co-Winner: Ice Cube —
Ice Cube dedicated the song "Nothing Like L.A." to his wife Kim Jackson. In the song's intro, he pledges to her his eternal love. "She's been down with me since 1989. We've been crazy about each other since then, and she's basically been a pillar in my career to help me achieve all the things that I have," he told Yahoo! Music. "She gave me some beautiful, strong, healthy, smart kids that are humble. It was only right." Watch Ice Cube discuss recording tribute to his wife Kim at 6:45 mark.
Co-Winner: Game —
In October, Compton rapper Game surprised his elementary school teacher girlfriend Tiffany Cambridge with a surprise proposal. The principal staged an afternoon staff meeting. When Cambridge arrived, Game asked her to marry him in front of their two children, her co-workers, and media cameras. All of the ladies were impressed. "He came off as a young man that was in love with his girlfriend and really wanted to surprise her," the school's office manager told Yahoo! Music.
Co-Winner: Jay-Z and Kanye West —
A month before Beyonce announced on the VH1 VMAs that she was pregnant with her and husband Jay-Z's first child, Jay-Z and Kanye West released a song about fatherhood on their collab album, "Watch The Throne." On the introspective album track, "New Day," the rap legends explain how seriously they will take their responsibility should they ever become parents. They vow to help their future child avoid the pitfalls they have experienced. Jay-Z promised to do better than his own father. "'Cause my dad left me and I promise to never repeat him." Kanye hoped his child's life would be drama free: "See, I just want him to have an easy life, not like Yeezy life. Just want him to be someone people like."
Co-hosts Soren Baker and I, have a history of paying this type of homage to rap artists. Back in 1998, Soren and Allen Gordon created a similar type of awards for RapPages magazine. In 1994, I helped compile an alternative to the Grammys awards for MCs for Rap Sheet newspaper.
Use the comment section below to give us your feedback on The Aftermath's Year-End Awards Part I.
Camera and video editing: Robert Gardner
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