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Hype Awards Review


24 September 2008 No Comment

If you have ever wondered why hip hop is not taken seriously in South Africa then Sunday evening provided a world of answers.

MTN must have forked out bucket loads of cash all in the name of rap and yet Hype couldn’t even manage to find someone that could auto-cue properly, during the festivities at the Coca-Cola Dome.

Then there was the bad lighting. And the disordered presentation. The music sorta saved the day, as per usual at this kind of event. But “the hostess with the mostess”, Lee, figured we should not be so critical.

“I see a lot of people are being serious but this is a hip hop show. We came to have fun.” She joked, attempting to downplay the disaster in action.

My neighbour was not impressed or about to have the wool pulled over his eyes.

‘Yeah that’s always an excuse for sloppiness.” He objected.

Mind you, this was a mere 20 minutes into a show that was already delayed.

Ironically, apart from the sitting arrangement, it didn’t look all that shoddy. The set was bright yellow with a boxing theme. Complete with a semi ring, two big screens, dancers in robes and ladies in skimpy outfits and placards.

From the time the first bell rang and the Hip Hop Dance winners were awarded R40 000, we were excited about what we were about to see.

But then Da Les, Bongani Fassie and Maggz stepped on stage to perform (Artist of the Year/Song of the Year nominee ) Les’ latest single “We on Fire”. It’s unclear whether the sound was \awful or if these guys were performing over the song instead of the backing track. Either way, it just didn’t work.

Things escalated from bad to worse when the first category, Best Hip Hop Video, was revealed. Muso of Shiz-Niz fame was like a deer caught in the headlights while he waited for the monitor to catch up. By the time he was ready to announce the nominees, dead air had choked the life out of him.

Finally the auto-cue person awoke from his slumber and got the tape running. The names came onto the screens. No accompanying background music. No matching video. No picture of the artist. Just text. We were left wondering where all the money to run this production had gone? Mm.

You would think that a publication that prides itself on sourcing new music on a bi-monthly basis could at least manage to locate some footage that would add life to a rather drab ceremony. Yawn!

No wonder Pro(-Kid) was late. He was awarded the first accolade of the night for the “Uthini Ngo PRO” video but was not even around to receive it. More cringing.

An already worn-out Muso had to accept the medal (in true Olympic style), complimentary cell-phone and R5000 on Pro’s behalf.

From that moment, we gave up on expecting a decent product. Truth is, the SAMAs and the BET Awards had a baby and named him Hype!

This would explain the random personalities that were guest presenting on the night. From kwaito-inclined Channel O VJ Lungsta to the tired jokes of comedian Joey Rasdin during his announcement of the Best Indie Label. True hustlers Slikour and Shugasmakz bagged it for their Buttabing Entertainment stable. Within minutes, they returned to stage with the rest of the Skwatta Kampers to perform “The Clap Song”.

Yes, the Clap Song. Not Slikour’s latest banger, “Umsindo” or even an SK classic like “U Moya”.

So that’s where all the money went?

Other really surprising and probably pricey appearances came in the form of DJ Sbu.

Since when does Sbu’s affiliation with Pro via TS Records make him credible enough to share the stage with the likes of Lifetime Achievement Award recipient DJ Reddy D and Best Group nominee The Anvils.

Speaking of Cap-City, swaggerlicious Sizwe Dhlomo was packing heat during the Best Event category (which went to the Red Bull BC One despite Party People’s popularity. DJ Kenzhero did manage to clinch the Best DJ award).

Sizwe threw protocol out the window and applauded Cap-City Rap City (Pretoria) and her mixtapes.

“Big ups to Buff Pound and Roach Inc. All the other mixtapes are crack.”

And we all know crack is wack! However, the Best Mixtape Award was out of DJ Beatoven’s reach and went to SOS’s Backpackers Volume 3. The Anvils also lost out to Jozi but still gave an awesome performance.

Another golden oldie, Amu, hit the stage alongside Mr Selwyn for a nostalgic set. Lee battled to get a straight answer from him as to when his album was dropping.

“I will release my album when Da Les sells a 100 000 (copies).” Amu said with a straight face to an amused audience.

Well, that settles it. We can forget about an Amu album.

More rap vets blessed the stage. Buddies Zubz and Tumi hooked up an animated a’cappella version of “Where my Gangsters At”.  For a moment I thought they had forgotten the backing track at home.

If you think Ne-Yo is trying to be a gentleman, he got nothing on The Last Letta. Zubz looked as though he had been grabbed out of a church service and dragged to the award show, with absolutely no time to change. Beige tailored trousers and a matching waist-coat. All he needed was a pimp stick, some fur and a hat.

He was not alone, Lee was in a shiny thingy-majic. Bad fashion always comes in three.

Her co-host from The Bridge radio show rocked some plaid while Dominique Soma was not bothered to play dress up. It’s almost as if somebody forgot to tell the duo that they would be presenting the Lyricist of the Year award, which went to Pro.

Fellow nominee Hymphatic Thabs was not very impressed by the latter and said as much at the end of his somewhat inebriated performance.

“South Africa must realise that Pro-Kid is not a better lyricist than Hymphatic Thabs!” he said with as much conviction as any pot-head can muster.

His fellow underground headz shared his sentiments. The rest of us wondered if Tumi would bum-rush the stage in protest to losing out on the same award. This time would be justified, right?

Konfab disagrees, “If Hymphatic can’t even win Best Lyricist, then there is no home for me here. They actually disrespected him by putting him in that category and not have him win.”

The crowd was on the same radical tip and demanded a battle between Hymphatic and Pro, much to C-Live’s irritation. He wanted to keep things moving or maybe just have the catastrophic night end.

Regrettably, the gaffes continued. Like many of the presenters, Gogga of POC fame, appeared lost when he was called upon to present the Best Graffiti Artist award. He revealed the winner (Faith 47) even before announcing the nominees. Gogga didn’t even know where the monitor was. Were there any rehearsals?

This also brought into question the credibility of the awards. How exactly were these winners selected? Or was it all just a Hype sponsored YFM/TS Records sham? Why did some categories have more than four nominees?

Pro cleaned up with yet another award for Best Album. He didn’t even entertain Hymphatic’s remarks, at least not directly, much to our frustration.

Pro-verb rocked out with rising star Reason while Hype mag favourite Ben Sharpa did his thang with much love from the masses.

JR’s “Gata Le Nna” took top honors for Best Song. Another Tswana native, HHP walked away with two awards (Best Live Performer, Most Downloaded Track).

Yet another hip hop night filled with relentless drama and unnecessary issues. Not the way that I would have liked the very first SA hip hop award show to go. Great initiative, although poorly executed and gravely underwhelming. But isn’t that what we have come to expect of SA award shows?

By Kopano Marumo

Ed’s Note:  Opposing views?  Send your review to info@africasgateway.com

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