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Music: Creepin' On a Come Up

With as many as 27 nominations for the Ohio Hip Hop Awards, Cincinnati isn't just a 'Down the Way' girl

By Mildred C. Fallen · September 21st, 2007 · Music
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Hyena Records

IsWhat?!.



Since the Don Imus debate helped reheat and stir hullabaloo over Hip Hop's courtship with misogyny and violence, the culture can use a positive nod in its direction. This Saturday that nod will come from the unlikeliest of places -- Cleveland, Ohio -- at the second annual Ohio Hip Hop Awards.

Very little ever leaks into the mainstream about Ohio MCs, mixtape distributors or DJs breaking local artists into radio. This is why D. Lorand Jackson and Derrick "Majestic" McKenzie of ESP Enterprises are giving dap to folks from down the way and up the road in their own backyard.

"We created this (awards ceremony) to honor our own people, so we don't have to wait for L.A. or New York or BET to acknowledge us," says McKenzie. "We know that so many artists are putting in work to get to the next level. They save up their money, pay for publishing and copyrights, rehearse their stage show, package their CDs and get barcodes. They do everything that you're supposed to do to be a legitimate artist, but in the full scheme of things, how many of us are really going to win a Grammy or a BET Award?"

Recognized along with Youngstown, Dayton, Cleveland and Columbus, Cincinnati is up for at least 27 nominations and two "Lifetime Achievement" awards, which will be presented to DJ Mr. Dibbs and producer Hi-Tek. Hi-Tek is also confirmed to present awards alongside Dayton R&B artist Lyfe Jennings.

Jackson explains the process taken to select artist nominees.

"Just because an artist might've gotten hundreds of nominations didn't necessarily mean that they qualified for any of the awards," he says. "We researched the names of the artists and based off the information that we collected, that's how we based our statistics."

"The artists were judged on 20 different categories that ranged from stage presence, lyric, delivery, also on the package that they submitted," McKenzie adds.

Four major cities also held artist showcases where one winner from each city automatically made the ballot. Cincinnati Hip Hop artist Cross made the ballot after winning Best Live Performance and is up for nominations in three different categories.

True to Hip Hop culture's mutt-like genealogy, the nominating consul took pains to make the program diverse. This year's nominees also include acclaimed artists such as Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, as well as R&B artists like Conya Doss and John Legend.

"It's necessary to honor them as well because R&B and Hip Hop are so close in relation," says Jackson. "Every major radio station in the country uses them together in their (programming)."

Other categories acknowledge aspects of Hip Hop that fuel support and promote visibility.

"We have a graffiti artist category, even Best Retail Spot," Jackson says.

"All of these things are integral in driving the engine of Hip Hop in the state," McKenzie adds. "You gotta have retail locations that are going to really help support and push our artists. You gotta have good radio personalities. All these categories are important to advance the industry as a whole for Ohio."

Another major aspect of the ceremony is networking. Ilyas, a member of Cincinnati/Brooklyn-based trio Tanya Morgan, who is nominated for Best Video, Best Album and Best Group, sees importance greater than individual acknowledgement.

"It's demonstrating that there's an organized music community in Ohio," Ilyas says.

"And it's an excellent networking opportunity for the 'who's who' in Ohio to get the chance to connect, so everybody's maximizing what we have here, instead of continuing to work individually."

"The most beautiful thing about the awards ceremony last year was just bringing so many different entities together," says McKenzie. "A lot of people who knew of somebody and never met them before, got the chance to meet and exchange contacts and were able to do collaborations together."

The marble floors and glass ceilings of downtown Cleveland's Galleria Mall should provide an elegant backdrop to the ceremony. Jackson and McKenzie's dress code challenges attendees to step it up as if Perez Hilton are showing up to critique outfits from the red carpet.

"We're still in the cycle of the 'post-Imus' thing, so we're just trying to show that we can do things in a positive light, in a dignified and respectful manner," McKenzie says. "We're gonna look good, we're gonna act good and we're gonna have a good time."

Some Cincinnati nominees:
Best Album: K. Riley, Cross, Ill Poetic, Tanya Morgan

Best Group: Tanya Morgan, IsWhat?!

Best Male Artist: K. Riley, Cross, Ill Poetic

Best Mixtape DJ: DJ Dimepiece of WIZF (100.9 FM), Core DJs

Best Radio DJ: DJ Skillz, DJ Diamond, DJ Eddie Bauer of WIZF (100.9 FM)

Best Radio Personality: DJ Dimepiece, Big Greg of WIZF (100.9 FM)

Best Producer: Hi-Tek

Single of the Year: K. Riley - "Dat Boi Cold"

Showtime - "Breathin"

Cross - "1 Neck, 2 Chains"

Best Live Performance: Cross

Best Web site:

  IsWhat?!.
Hyena Records

IsWhat?!.



Since the Don Imus debate helped reheat and stir hullabaloo over Hip Hop's courtship with misogyny and violence, the culture can use a positive nod in its direction. This Saturday that nod will come from the unlikeliest of places -- Cleveland, Ohio -- at the second annual Ohio Hip Hop Awards.

Very little ever leaks into the mainstream about Ohio MCs, mixtape distributors or DJs breaking local artists into radio. This is why D. Lorand Jackson and Derrick "Majestic" McKenzie of ESP Enterprises are giving dap to folks from down the way and up the road in their own backyard.

"We created this (awards ceremony) to honor our own people, so we don't have to wait for L.A. or New York or BET to acknowledge us," says McKenzie. "We know that so many artists are putting in work to get to the next level. They save up their money, pay for publishing and copyrights, rehearse their stage show, package their CDs and get barcodes. They do everything that you're supposed to do to be a legitimate artist, but in the full scheme of things, how many of us are really going to win a Grammy or a BET Award?"

Recognized along with Youngstown, Dayton, Cleveland and Columbus, Cincinnati is up for at least 27 nominations and two "Lifetime Achievement" awards, which will be presented to DJ Mr. Dibbs and producer Hi-Tek. Hi-Tek is also confirmed to present awards alongside Dayton R&B artist Lyfe Jennings.

Jackson explains the process taken to select artist nominees.

"Just because an artist might've gotten hundreds of nominations didn't necessarily mean that they qualified for any of the awards," he says. "We researched the names of the artists and based off the information that we collected, that's how we based our statistics."

"The artists were judged on 20 different categories that ranged from stage presence, lyric, delivery, also on the package that they submitted," McKenzie adds.

Four major cities also held artist showcases where one winner from each city automatically made the ballot. Cincinnati Hip Hop artist Cross made the ballot after winning Best Live Performance and is up for nominations in three different categories.

True to Hip Hop culture's mutt-like genealogy, the nominating consul took pains to make the program diverse. This year's nominees also include acclaimed artists such as Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, as well as R&B artists like Conya Doss and John Legend.

"It's necessary to honor them as well because R&B and Hip Hop are so close in relation," says Jackson. "Every major radio station in the country uses them together in their (programming)."

Other categories acknowledge aspects of Hip Hop that fuel support and promote visibility.

"We have a graffiti artist category, even Best Retail Spot," Jackson says.

"All of these things are integral in driving the engine of Hip Hop in the state," McKenzie adds. "You gotta have retail locations that are going to really help support and push our artists. You gotta have good radio personalities. All these categories are important to advance the industry as a whole for Ohio."

Another major aspect of the ceremony is networking. Ilyas, a member of Cincinnati/Brooklyn-based trio Tanya Morgan, who is nominated for Best Video, Best Album and Best Group, sees importance greater than individual acknowledgement.

"It's demonstrating that there's an organized music community in Ohio," Ilyas says. "And it's an excellent networking opportunity for the 'who's who' in Ohio to get the chance to connect, so everybody's maximizing what we have here, instead of continuing to work individually."

"The most beautiful thing about the awards ceremony last year was just bringing so many different entities together," says McKenzie. "A lot of people who knew of somebody and never met them before, got the chance to meet and exchange contacts and were able to do collaborations together."

The marble floors and glass ceilings of downtown Cleveland's Galleria Mall should provide an elegant backdrop to the ceremony. Jackson and McKenzie's dress code challenges attendees to step it up as if Perez Hilton are showing up to critique outfits from the red carpet.

"We're still in the cycle of the 'post-Imus' thing, so we're just trying to show that we can do things in a positive light, in a dignified and respectful manner," McKenzie says. "We're gonna look good, we're gonna act good and we're gonna have a good time."

Some Cincinnati nominees:
Best Album: K. Riley, Cross, Ill Poetic, Tanya Morgan

Best Group: Tanya Morgan, IsWhat?!

Best Male Artist: K. Riley, Cross, Ill Poetic

Best Mixtape DJ: DJ Dimepiece of WIZF (100.9 FM), Core DJs

Best Radio DJ: DJ Skillz, DJ Diamond, DJ Eddie Bauer of WIZF (100.9 FM)

Best Radio Personality: DJ Dimepiece, Big Greg of WIZF (100.9 FM)

Best Producer: Hi-Tek

Single of the Year: K. Riley - "Dat Boi Cold"

Showtime - "Breathin"

Cross - "1 Neck, 2 Chains"

Best Live Performance: Cross

Best Web site: Cincyhiphop.com

Best Graffiti Artist: Gamble

Best Retail Spot: Hard II Knock Shoppe; CD Game Exchange (these are also located in Columbus)

More info at www.ohiohiphopawards.com

 
 
 
 

 

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