Complex TV has teamed with radio and digital entrepreneur Al Lindstrom and Allindstrom.com to present his annual "Hip-Hop Award Season." The series has quickly become a staple for year-end commentary in rap, with a panel of well-respected journalists and experts alike weighing in on four different categories: "Rookie of the Year," "Most Improved," "6th Man of the Year," and "MVP." This year's panelists include Joe La Puma (Director of Content Strategy, Complex), Brian "B. Dot" Miller (Content Director, Rap Radar), Reggie Ossé a.k.a. Combat Jack (Host, The Combat Jack Show), Charlamagne Tha God (Host, Power 105's The Breakfast Club), Jeff Sledge (A&R Executive; Host, Pop Life Podcast), as well as Jayson Rodriguez (Freelance Writer; Editor), who also handles moderator duties. Stay tuned as we unveil their round table debate for each category this week and next week.
In the fourth and final segment for Al Lindstrom's "Hip-Hop Award Season" the panel debates which rapper should be named "MVP" of 2013. Their nominees are Kendrick Lamar, Jay Z, and Drake. Jeff Sledge offers his argument for Kendrick stating the Compton rapper has given a new meaning to calling out rap peers on wax. "He kind of reintroduced the idea of not just lyricism. Yeah, he's totally lyrical. He also reintroduced the idea of the diss with the 'Control' verse and with the BET Hip-Hop Awards Cypher verse."
Combat Jack explains his decision behind choosing Jay Z. "At the end of the day, all these other phone companies are trying to be iPhone. At the end of the day every rapper is trying to be Jay Z." He credits Hov's latest album Magna Carta Holy Grail as a solid release that kept him relevant in 2013, not to mention all of the business ventures the rapper took part in. "There's not a day that goes by when any of us motherfuckers don't talk about Jay Z."
Joe La Puma pulls for Drake, explaining the Toronto rapper was present in every facet of hip-hop this year. "He has the verse of the year to me on the Migos 'Versace' remix," Joe says. "He delivers Nothing Was The Same, and then he gains the respect and I would even say fan of people who weren't fans of Take Care, which to me was a great album."
As the debate draws to a close it becomes clear that the panel are split between Drake and Kendrick. They offer their last arguments. "There has not been a better conversation piece, there has not been something that stems so many records, so many emotions like the 'Control' verse," Charlamagne Tha God declares. "It's going to be a point and time where you look back at 2013 and you're going to remember hip-hop [before 'Control'], hip-hop after the 'Control' verse." Joe counters by describing the contrast between the two rappers in terms of their touring success. "Kendrick is opening for Kanye [West]. Drake would not open for Kanye. Drake is bigger, and he had a bigger year."
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