Theres one life / One love / So there can only be one king
For our purposes, Nas rule of one will be modified to a rule of four. Every year there are a handful of artists from each region that leave an indelible mark on Hip-Hop through their hard work, determination, and quality of music. But alas, there can still only be one king for each region, an emcee whose impact extends beyond his peers.
Here at AllHipHop.com weve compiled the top emcees from each region, based on the work theyve done throughout 2008. From there, the staff through a consensus vote selected one rapper from each coast as the 2008 King for that region. We start with the always race for crown of the South. Let the debate begin.
Atlantas trap star proved he wasnt a one dimensional rapper with The Recession; Jeezys stab at addressing the economic woes currently plaguing the nation. With tracks like My President, Circulate, and Put On, Jeezys third album gave long-time fans glimpses of the familiar bird play while giving enough mainstream appeal to reach new fans. My President in particular, Jeezys celebratory song on Barack Obamas win, drew mainstream coverage from such news outlets as CNN.
In November, Jeezy ventured to the polls in Adamsville, GA to pontificate on the importance of voting. Throw in appearances on the #1 records Love In This Club, and Spotlight (Remix), and you have another successful year for Atlantas Young Jeezy.
Put On, Circulate, My President
The self-proclaimed Goon of Hip-Hop kept extremely busy this year by releasing Definition of Real, his second album in less than a year. The Ne-Yo assisted single Bust It Baby Pt. 2 earned Plies his biggest hit ever and his second consecutive gold album.
Not ready to rest on his laurels, Plies surprisingly announced his third album Da REAList a mere six months later released on December 16th. That album already has momentum courtesy of the popular protest song Pants Hang Low, the single Put It On Ya. If all goes well, expect yet another Plies album in 2009.
Pants Hang Low, Put It On Ya
Ross kicked off the year strong with Trilla, his number one Billboard album. With a new love interest, Foxy Brown, at his side, all seemed well for Miamis Boss. That was until an explosive expose revealing that Ross spent two years working as a correctional officer. Ross compounded the issue by first denying the allegations. While embarrassing, fans continue to support the rappers work, as evidenced by Ross winning Best Rap Album and Best Rap Artist at the 2008 Ozone Awards.
Even now with a four million lawsuit pending for the rappers alleged assault of DJ Vlad, over coverage of the correctional officer fiasco, Ross career remains in good standing going into 2009.
The Boss, Here I Am
T.I. experienced the best and worst of times in 2008. In February, the Bankhead native was sentenced to a year in prison and a thousand hours of community service stemming from his conviction for possessing illegal firearms as a felon and attempting to buy guns from a federal agent.
Throughout the year, Tip also faced taunts from fellow Atlanta rapper Shawty Lo, who took every opportunity to question T.I.s Bankhead roots and qualifications to be the king of the South.
Despite the pressure, T.I. delivered one of his biggest albums in Paper Trail, which debuted #1 with over 560,000 copies sold. The single Whatever You Like remained at the top of the charts for seven weeks. The all-star single Swagga Like Us featured Tip outshining his elite peers and earning two Grammy nominations for Best Rap Song and Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group.
Last month T.I. ended the year on a somber note by testifying in the murder trial of his best friend Philant Johnson, who was killed senselessly after an Ohio concert in 2006.
Swagga Like Us, Live Your Life, Whats Up, Whats Haapnin
Lil Waynes 2008 has been the stuff of legend. Two years of countless mixtapes and guest spots culminated with Tha Carter III, the most anticipated Hip-Hop album since 50 Cents Get Rich or Die Tryin. Waynes effort broke records by selling over a million copies in his first week. The albums first single Lollipop hit number one, giving Wayne his first number one single. The remaining three singles (A Milli, Got Money, and Mrs. Officer) all hit the top ten singles chart and kept the album in the top fifty albums chart months after its release. To date the album is already certified double platinum and the best-selling Hip-Hop album of the year.
Along with musical success, Wayne also celebrated the birth of his son Dwayne Carter III this past October. With over sixty guest appearances throughout 2008 and the November release of The Dedication 3, Lil Waynes popularity and demand will continue well into 2009.
A Milli, Got Money, Lollipop
While Lil Wayne did the bigger numbers and was literally everywhere we turned, we had to give it to Atlantas own T.I. Dude came back from what seemed to be a career and life ending legal situation and dropped a stellar album in Papertrail. If thats not what a king is made of, then please show us different.