While it may have been a slow year for mainstream hip-hop albums, major label artist pumped out a number of classic songs this year, and it showed. This was one of the Best of the Booth Awards' most hotly contested categories as readers poured in literally thousands of votes, but at the end of the day, it was Big K.R.I.T.'s "Mt. Olympus" who came out on top and Kendrick Lamar's "i" who earned the Staff Pick award. If you think there's nothing soulful happening in hip-hop, you're obviously looking in the wrong places.
Reader's Pick: Big K.R.I.T. "Mt. Olympus"
Big K.R.I.T. is arguably one of the most underrated and unappreciated emcees to gain attention out of the new school of rising artists, but to our readers, he’s the top dog. It’s fitting that his song, titled "Mt. Olympus," would take home the Best of the Booth Award. Mount Olympus is regarded as a place of peace and power, casa to the Greek Gods, and throne of Zeus. Even though Krizzle doesn't throw lightning, his display of fiery lyricism and thunderous self-production showcased an artist ready to be crowned king. Looking at his competition, K.R.I.T’s brutal honesty bested Kendrick Lamar's preaching self-love, Logic’s enormous fan base, Drake’s Grammy-nominated loosie, and Jeezy’s undeniable hot single – an astounding feat. There’s obviously a group of fans that want nothing more than to hear the heartfelt rhymes of a country rapper.
Staff Pick: Kendrick Lamar "i"
History books are filled with risk takers, the men and women that defied the rules and escaped the cycle of conforming and comfort. When Kendrick Lamar released “i,” it was a collective, unanimous moment of confusion for hip-hop listeners. The world stood still as we tried to digest his highly anticipated single. It wasn’t "Backseat Freestyle," it wasn’t "Poetic Justice," and without warning Kendrick delivered his biggest risk thus far. He threw the Isley Brothers "Who’s That Lady," self-love, and his boisterous rap style in a blender, and created something for your soul. “i” is one-of-a-kind, fearless in the face of mainstream appeal, and focused on delivering a message needed in an age where self-esteem is gauged by Instagram likes and Tumblr reblogs. One nation under a positive groove, an idea we completely endorse. Hate it, or love it, "i" is one for the history books and the beginning of a brand new Kendrick Lamar.
Congrats to Krizza and K. Dot, you gentlemen deserve it. And for the complete list of award winners, hit that link below: