Nick Sweepah of The Awakenings
· best albums
Brother Ali's "Shadows on the Sun" was such a solid album - some of Ant's best beats combined with Ali's lyrics that he described better than any critic could - "somewhere between pimp and square." Along with that sort of theme goes Murs, with "The End of the Beginning." For my money its the emcees like this - that have the versatility to switch between humour and seriousness, that are coming out as the best in the industry. Having said that, Jehst and Buck 65 continued the theme, bringing out two albums that I think are right up there ("Falling Down" and "Talkin Honky Blues," respectively). Quality, consistency, versatility. Then there's OutKast of course. Been a fan for a long time, and they did not disappoint.
· albums I listened to
For mornings at work it was Alias' "Muted," or Buck 65, either "Square" or "Talkin Honky Blues." Later in the day it was either Mac Lethal "Men Are From Mars..." El-P, "Fantastic Damage" or Lyrical Commissions "Stage is Set." Coming into the afternoon, we switch it up with some
punk/hardcore/metal .. Will Haven, Poison The Well, Bleeding Through.. amongst others, were on high rotation. Late afternoon something like Muphin's "More Than Music" or OutKast, particularly Big Boi's CD. When I'm not at work, it depends on what pub/club/gig im at!
· best songs
"Hey Ya," is, I feel, a song that will have mad longevity, it's like something our parents would listen to, merged with today's sounds. "Wicked And Wierd," is significant for the change in Buck 65 it displays. "Better Man" by Muphin is one of the most moving hip hop tracks I've ever heard.
· best beats
"Got Some Teeth" (Obie Trice) was a great beat. Good enough to jack it for a live show I reckon. Most of the beats on Hilltop Hoods "The Calling" were killer. OutKast again, and anything by El-P!
· best producers
Ant, El-P, Blockhead, Suffa, Plutonic Lab, Osinaka, Leagues, Kanye West, 9th Wonder, Mums the Word... thats all the names that come to mind right now.
These names attached to credits are guaranteed to have me checking the music out.
· best emcee / lyrics
as I already rambled about earlier, the people with the variety: Mac Lethal, Murs, El-P, Slug, Aesop Rock, Cage, Eligh, Muphin, LC, Andre and Big Boi, Buck 65, Crixus, Ivenz, Jay-Z... again, all I can think of right now...
· favorite artwork
- Dangermouse and Jemini's album "Ghetto Pop Life" was amazing, with the embossed layered gold and matt black.. mind boggling.
- locally, Clandestien's "Dynasty" and the 3rd volume of "Culture Of Kings" compilation were real nice too.
· favorite labels
- Awakenings (cough) no, but seriously...
- I guess if I was going to follow only one label for the rest of my life, it would be Definitive Jux
- Australia's Obese records have done a hell of a lot for the scene, and hip hop in general
· biggest surprise
- the biggest surprise I had was listening to Brother Ali's "Shadows On The Sun," having never heard of this guy before, except through people dropping his name on various message boards.
- Another great surprise was the amount of Australian hip hop getting so much support media-wise (I mean, it could still be better!), including our label 'Awakenings.'
- Our compilation getting into the top ten of a local music chain store was a huge surprise!
· biggest disappointment
- the whole war thing.
- WWE becoming boring
· books I read
nothing 'new'as such this year. I read stuff by Phillip K Dick, Jack Kerouac, Hunter S. Thompson, Stephen King, Clive Barker. Also the Dune series. All quality.
· movies I saw
everyone will say "Donnie Darko" but I loved it. "Return Of The King" was everything I hoped it would be. Probably the biggest dark horse was "Dog Soldiers" - I rented it on a whim and it blew me away
· websites I visited
to be honest I didnt spend much time on the internet this year. Ozhiphop.com gets regular play, and of course urbansmarts.com
· foods I ate
beer
· things that made me smile
- beer
- the good people I work and play with
· things that made me go hmm
Eminem being investigated by the FBI or whatever it was for saying he wants to see the president dead. Whoever discovered that must've listened to zero hiphop ever before.
· things that made me cringe
Soap Opera characters or pro-wrestlers that try to rap / dj / breakdance. It can't be that hard to get it right.
· best moment(s) of 2003
- meeting Chuck D!
- Buck 65 live in concert! Saw him twice, and both night were as unique, entertaining, and of great value as each other! If you get the chance (even if you're reading this and you're not into hiphop) - go see him play!
· worst moment(s) of 2003
ah. hmm. The week or so I spent in hospital, thus missing the shoot for Muphin's film clip.
· what I'd like to see in 2004
- more great live acts in Australia
- less new t-shirt brands
- hats that come in larger sizes
- people overseas taking greater interest in hiphop from
other countries. Anyone that doesn't realise whats going on in the UK and Australia, for example, should take a good look.
· what I don't want to see in 2004
any kind of backlash against Australian Hip hop. With mainstream media getting slightly interested at the moment, I guess it could happen. That would be bad.
· hip hop in 2004 will be...
hip hop in 2004. Who knows. Not knowing is half the fun!
· my new years resolutions
take this label to another level! (Awakenings, that is)