Artist: Award Show ReviewTitle: 10th Annual Mixtape AwardsRating: 2 1/2 StarsReviewed by: Robert Longfellow
Lackluster. That just about sums up the 10th Annual Mixtape Awards that went down last night (Thursday, November 7) at Harlem, NY's Apollo Theater. No disrespect to the great Orpheus "Just-O" Faison (RIP), founder of the award show. But, unfortunately, rather than the event fostering a celebratory vibe within all aspects of the mixtape game, the show spotlighted all its negatives: disunity, bitterness and hate with no bounds.
Things weren't looking good when AllHipHop rolled up to the Apollo only to wait close to an hour amidst a mob of people just to get into the event. (Note: We had to slide in through a side door. Shout to DJ Drama and Don Cannon who were in the vicinity and didn't seem to be moving inside any quicker than us common folk).
We made it in just in time to catch the end of a Donnell "Ashy Larry" Rawling's set, who was co-hosting the show with DJ Red Alert (big up to Mr. Alert who recently celebrated his 50th birthday). DJ Jazzy Joyce was the DJ, though she was rarely playing any tunes by the time we got in. The first presenter was Talib Kweli who announced the winner of the Best Underground Mixtape DJ: J Love. This would normally be all good in the hood since J-Love's tapes are known for being, umm, crack. However, in lieu of the KKKramer debacle, when he gave a few "shout out to my ni**as," we couldn't help but wonder: "Isn't dude white?" Someone let illseed know the deal...
Red Alert then announced a performance by a group, or a guy-couldn't really tell-called Traffic. They were decent, but a theater full of DJ's salty because they weren't nominated for an award themselves isnt the most engaging crowd. Furthermore, how did Traffic parlay this power move in the first place?
Hot 97's DJ Mister Cee was the next presenter and he slid the Best Blends Mixtape DJ Award to DJ Dirty Harry. Harry declined on an acceptance speech. But Robby Rob, dressed in an all white outfit that made him look like pimping is one of his successful side hustles, was granted the microphone by Red Alert a few moments later. After ranting about putting work in but not getting the recognition he is due, the perturbed Robby Rob asked bluntly, "How much does an award cost?! Bong! He added, "I'll let the streets give me my award." True indeed.
Next up Jazzy Joyce presented the Best Female Mixtape DJ award to Brandy Garcia. The award is actually named after Joyce and DJ Lazy K. Perhaps inspired by Robby Robs soapbox stuntin, Lazy K proceeded to go on her own diatribe about how rough it is for a female DJ out there. "I'm not on the radio [or] on the TV, I'm in the street," said DJ Lazy K, who is a friend of AHH. Alrighty then.
The strangest award presentation of the night-again it was Mr. Cee presenting his namesake award-goes to the Best Club Mixtape DJ Award. The announcement was awkward because before reading the winners name, Clinton Sparks, Cee noted his disagreement with the choice. When Sparks came on stage and playfully said that Cee needed to Get familiar", Cee said he was looking for someone like DJ Self to win. Sparks handled it well, even asking Self to come up on stage. Self did, but didn't bother saying anything on the mic
Next, some Harlem dude with 'nuff jewels on managed to talk Red Alert into letting him speak on the mic and announced that he was a jeweler in the Diamond District and holla at him. Okay - random people are literally walking on stage in the middle of the event.
DJ Absolute then announced the winner of the Best Midwest Mixtape DJ Award (DJ Mick Boogie) and Camilo followed by announcing the winner of the Best New Mixtape DJ Award (DJ Chuck T). The show was plagued by a snail paced and generally unorganized atmosphere. DJ Lovebug Starski stepped to the podium and dropped some jewels, for those who bothered to listen. An obviously aggravated Starski asked, "Can we all get in one room and have a good time and not be gangtas?" But his most thought provoking comment of the night was when he told the thugs with tapes and reformed drug dealers who just got into the game recently, "Y'all hiding cause y'all scared of that corner." Speak on it Starski!
The next award, Best Reggae Mixtape, was presented by Just Blaze who came out accompanied by two ladies looking like they were dressed for Carnivale. The winner was DJ Dexterity" and Blaze asked the crowd to give it up for the DJ, since the audience was reluctant to give it up to anyone.
The tackiest point of the night was when the legendary Bill Duke came to the stage to pay his respects to Just-O. This is Bill Duke. Ya know, Mr. "Ya know you done f***ed up?" from Menace II Society. Abdullah from Car Wash. Just Google him and "get familiar". Noting that Just-O made a difference in his life, Duke was looking to have a moment of silence for the late Mixtape Awards Show founder. However, the pack of loudmouthed idiots in the back of the theater trying to politic just wouldn't shut up. Despite Duke's attempts at getting their attention with pleas of "Can you hear me?" and finally asking people to stand up, a true moment of silence did not happen. It was a disrespectful scene.
After another long pause it looked like another act was going to perform. However, Red Alert announced that NYPD had shut the event down. AllHipHop made a beeline for the EXIT and kept it moving. All in all only a total of seven out of 30+ award winners were presented, with little more than a pound and a pat on the back since no actual physical awards were given. Let's do better next year; for Justo-O and Hip-Hop's sake.