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2006: The AllHipHop.com Alternative Year In Review

Best R&B Artist

Mary J. Blige – Don’t call it a comeback, Mary’s been here for years. It just so happens that in 2006, Mary reminded us why she’s still strong in the game after 14 years and seven albums. Released in December of 2005, The Breakthrough was true to its title, selling 727,000 copies in the first week and over three million to date in the US. After winning nine Billboard Awards this year, the album followed with eight 2007 Grammy nominations. In December 2006, Mary a collection of her hits along with some new tracks on the album Reflections – A Retrospective. Even though she’s established veteran status as the Queen of Hip-Hop Soul, Mary continues to keep her music and image fresh and relevant.

Beyonce – At only 25 years old, the ‘yonce did her thing like nobody’s business. Her sophomore solo album, B’Day, went double platinum in the U.S., and received five Grammy nominations. She won an MTV award for her song “Check On It” from the Pink Panther movie, got her House of Dereon clothing line off the ground, and rounded out the year with a standout performance in Dreamgirls.

John Legend – On the heels of his 2004 solo debut, Mr. Legend came back strong and gained more critical acclaim with his sophomore effort, aptly titled Once Again. Even Oprah showed him love!

Robin Thicke – We need to thank Pharrell for making sure Thicke got his second chance with The Evolution of Robin Thicke – no doubt one of the most romantic albums of late.

Ne-Yo – From songwriting to performing, Ne-Yo is the go-to guy for R&B hits. In addition to penning big songs in ‘06 for the likes of Rihanna, Mario Vasquez and Beyonce, he secured stardom with his solo debut album, In My Own Words.

Chris Brown – After his album dropped late in 2005, Chris Brown made a huge impact on the game in 2006. His ability to belt out everything from up-tempo songs to ballads and shake up the dance floor proved that true all-around entertainers still exist.

Best R&B Album

John Legend – Once Again (G.O.O.D./Sony) – A cohesive and creative collection of songs, Once Again gave music fans something to love about modern R&B. From the gospel-inspired track “Heaven Only Knows” to the playful “Save Room,” John made grown & sexy soul fun again.

Ne-Yo – In My Own Words (Def Jam)

Mary J. Blige – The Breakthrough (Geffen)

Robin Thicke – The Evolution of Robin Thicke (Star Trak/Interscope)

Heather HeadleyIn My Mind (RCA)

Prince – 3121 (Universal)

R&B Single of the Year

Ne-Yo “Sexy Love” – If you first heard this and thought, “Michael Jackson is recording again!” – you were not alone. Regardless of comparisons to anyone else, Ne-Yo won us over with his sensual songwriting alongside production from Stargate.

Chris Brown “Gimme That” – written by Sean Garrett, produced by Scott Storch

Mary J. Blige “Be Without You” – written and produced by Bryan Michael Cox and Johnta Austin

Lloyd “You” – produced by Big Reese & Jasper

Omarion “Ice Box” – produced by Timbaland

Danity Kane “Show Stopper” – produced by Jim Jonsin

Best Reggae / Dancehall Artist

Cham – Album sales may not reflect it, but Cham made a huge impact on fans of dancehall music with his enthusiastic Ghetto Story. Collaborations with Alicia Keys and Rihanna offered mainstream appeal for the Atlantic Records release, and Cham wowed audiences across the country with his vivacious on-stage charm.

Beenie Man

Buju Banton

Best Latin/Reggaeton Artist

Shakira – On her eighth album, although only second English-language album, Oral Fixation 2, Shakira shook her way to the top once again with Wyclef on “Hips Don’t Lie.” The song is nominated for a Grammy in the “Best Pop Collaboration” category, and the video won MTV’s “Best Choreography” award.

Daddy Yankee

Calle 13

Don Omar

Tego Calderon

Voltio

Best Gospel Artist

Kelly Price – Easily one of the most pure R&B voices of our time, Kelly went Platinum twice, Gold once, and made a choice to go gospel with her 2006 album, This Is Who I Am. She is releasing a “how to” book on the music industry, and given her string of hits over the years, she’s probably got some great advice!

Smokie Norful

Kirk Franklin

Dave Hollister

Best International Act of the Year

Rihanna – The Barbados beauty reigned as “Pop Princess” with her #1 smash “S.O.S.” in Spring ’06, and continued her U.S. takeover with the follow up hit “Unfaithful.”

Shakira

Corrine Bailey Rae

Cameo King

Akon – He was featured on songs with Obie Trice, Beenie Man, Gwen Stefani, India.Arie, T-Pain, Papoose, Rick Ross, Trick Daddy, Cham, Plies, Pras, Youngbloodz, The Beatnuts, Keith Sweat, Serius Jones, not to mention his own Konvicted album collaborations with Eminem and Snoop Dogg. And that’s the short list!

Cameo Queen

Keyshia Cole – She made huge noise with her soundtrack duets with Sean Paul “Give It All To Me” for Step It Up, and “Impossible” with Kanye West and Twista for Mission Impossible III. Keyshia also made strong showings on Diddy, Remy Ma and Jeezy’s albums, not to mention a duet with the late, great Tupac on the new Pac’s Life project.

Independent Alternative Artist

Tamia – After major label backing for the first part of her career, Tamia (aka Mrs. Grant Hill) made her own power moves by releasing Between Friends on Image Entertainment.

Alice Smith (BBE)

The Fuzz Band (Peach Fuzz)

Hottest Choreographer/Dancer

Fatima Robinson – Best known for her work with Aaliyah and Michael Jackson, Fatima has made dance history again with her clean, updated choreography in the Dreamgirls film, her directorial work on Fergie’s “Fergalicious” video (which she also choreographed), and her step into Alternative Rock choreography with “Mama’s Room” video for Under The Influence of Giants.

Chris Brown

Ciara

Beyonce

Alternative Video of the Year

Beyonce “Ring The Alarm” – Don’t mess with Texas! Beyonce showed us a woman’s scorn in the angst-ridden video directed by Sophie Muller.

Mary J. Blige “Be Without You”

Chris Brown “Gimme That”

Ciara “Promise”

Video Director of the Year

Jessy Terrero – (Ludacris “Run Away Love”, Young Jeezy “I Luv It”, Danity Kane “Show Stopper” Chris Brown “Say Goodbye”, Daddy Yankee “Gangsta Zone”, Shawnna “Damn”, Bobby Valentine “Turn The Page”, Mobb Deep “Give It To Me”, Obie Trice “Snitch”, Field Mob “So What”)

Sophie Muller – (Beyonce “Déjà vu” and “Ring The Alarm,” Gwen Stefani “Wind It Up,” Shakira “Hips Don’t Lie”)

Chris Robinson (T.I. “What You Know,” “Why You Wanna” and “Live In The Sky,” LeToya Luckett “Torn” and “She Don’t,” Diddy “Come To Me,” Pharrell “That Girl,” Monica “Dozen Roses (You Remind Me),” Busta Rhymes “In The Ghetto,” JoJo “Too Little Too Late,” Santana “Cry Baby Cry”)

Movie Of The Year

The Departed and Dreamgirls – We flat out couldn’t decide which one to put at the top, so we declare this a tie. If you wanted action and some good old fashioned American violence, The Departed gave you everything you could dream of. If you longed for epic drama and classic music and choreography, Dreamgirls was the way to go. Two superbly cast films with great story-lines – pure entertainment from start to finish. If you were smart like us, you saw them both!

Pursuit of Happyness

Talladega Nights – The Ballad of Ricky Bobby

Drama King – Best Actor

Will Smith (The Pursuit of Happyness) – Will delivered yet another memorable performance, and has grown men shedding tears in the theater.

Eddie Murphy (Dreamgirls)

Jamie Foxx (Dreamgirls)

Michael K. Williams (The Wire)

Derek Luke (Catch A Fire)

Jack Nicholson, Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, Mark Wahlberg (The Departed)

Drama Queen – Best Actress

Jennifer Hudson (Dreamgirls) – Everyone has said it, we all know it: A star is born!

Beyonce (Dreamgirls)

Anika Noni Rose (Dreamgirls)

Felicia “Snoop” Pearson (The Wire)

Bonnie Mbuli (Catch A Fire)

TV Series We Couldn’t Get Enough Of

The Wire – If you’re one of the sad cases who doesn’t have HBO, or didn’t’ have it before Season Four, then you have your chance to catch up in January when BET re-airs all the seasons. Thank goodness! We were tired of trying to explain to you why you should have been watching!

24

The Office

Ugly Betty

Pop Ya Collar (Best Fashion Line)

LRG – Just when you thought you couldn’t do anything else with trees in fashion, LRG brought brand new flavor to everything from shoes to the new limited Sidekick III.

Ed Hardy

Gilyard

Ecko

Miskeen

Akademiks

Bust-A-Gut Award (Best Comedian)

Katt Williams – The super perm is super hot again! Dipset! From Wild N Out to The Pimp Chronicles, Katt kept the laughter flowing.

Mike Epps

Donnell Rawlings

For The Grown & Sexy (Sexiest men and women of the year)

Chris Brown

Gabrielle Union

Ciara

Rihanna

Omarion

Reggie Bush

Sports Player Of The Year

Dwayne Wade – Miami Heat

Tiger Woods

Lebron James – Cleveland Cavaliers

Tiki Barber – New York Giants

The Number One Spot (Slow Jam of the Year)

“Sexy Love” Ne-Yo

“Be Without You” Mary J. Blige

“Lost Without You” Robin Thicke

“In My Mind” Heather Headley

“Promise” Ciara

Don’t Call It A Comeback (Most revitalized career)

Lionel Richie

Eddie Murphy

Mary J. Blige

Cee-Lo (Gnarls Barkley)

The Naked Truth

Marques Houston on a toilet bowl. [Hey kiddo, you won this two years a row now. If we see you naked again, we know you’re purposely going for a three-peat…]

Paris Hilton Award (Most overexposed celebrity)

K-Fed

Fergie

Beyonce

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