Once again we have reached that time of the year, when the weather is bad and the Grammy’s decision-making skills are even worse. Thankfully Jamell Samuels and Lé Osikomaiya have linked up for the 2nd Annual NeighbourHOOD Grammys 2017, bringing through two new bruddas onto the committee: Andy Djaba and Jamil. Last year was mad for hip-hop and, with many of the biggest names producing phenomonal work, it’s only right we acknowledge those who are really out here for the culture. The Grammys tried to play us, but they played themselves, so we’re about to tell you what was really played on the streets and recognise the mandem that have held it down and done bits.
Album of the Year | The Life of Pablo, Kanye West
“We on an Ultralight Beam… This is a God dream… This is everything.”
Nominations | Views, Drake [aka Drizzy, Champange Papi, 6ixGOD] | Birds In The Trap Sing McKnight, Travis Scott [aka La Flame] | 4 Your Eyez Only, J. Cole | Blank Face LP, ScHoolboy Q [aka Quincy, Groovy Tony]
Despite the unprecedented commercial success of Views, the committee came to the decision that Drizzy simply has to come harder than he did on this album to be deserving of Album of the Year. Travis and ScHoolboy both came through with impressive efforts and both albums have very few skippable tracks. The committee was in agreement that 4 Your Eyez Only was stunning, however its brevity, although leaving fans wanting more, actually worked against it in this case (the whole album is only 45 minutes long). The Life of Pablo saw Yeezus return to his crazy, experimental and creative best. The heavy gospel influences throughout the album are apparent, with the hauntingly beautiful ‘Ultralight Beam’ a particular committee favourite. It’s safe to say this is one of Kanye’s best bodies of work to date.
Honourable Shoutouts | The Sun’s Tirade, Isaiah Rashad [aka Zaywob] | The Divine Feminine, Mac Miller [aka Larry Fisherman]
The Divine Feminine has to be the best rap love album of all time, hands down. Dude used 10 tracks to speak about one woman. If Mac Miller’s grandma don’t move your heart, you cold.
Mixtape of the Year | Coloring Book, Chance the Rapper
“Am I the only nigga still care about mixtapes?”
Nominations | DC4, Meek Mill [aka Meek Milly] | Slime Season 3, Young Thug [aka Thugger Thugger, Young Slime, YSL Lord, Jeffery] | Telefone, Noname | Project E.T, DJ Esco & Future
After taking one of the biggest Ls in recent rap history in his beef with Drake, Meek Mill’s career was hanging in the balance this year. DC4 served as a reminder that he is still capable of producing some pure heat. Slime Season 3, the highly anticipated third and final instalment of Young Thug’s Slime Season projects provided us with near perfect hype music. Noname impressively came through with an outstanding debut mixtape in Telefone, displaying her melodic raps and “happy go lucky” musical style. On Project E.T., DJ Esco and Future linked up to do what they do best, releasing yet another fire mixtape. Colouring Book is a blend of gospel and hip-hop; all credit is given to Lil Chano from 79th for creating such a consistent and concise piece of work.
Honorable Shoutouts | Purple Reign, Future [aka Future Hendrix, Plato, Astronaut Kid]
Song of the Year | ‘Pick Up the Phone’, Young Thug & Travis Scott ft. Quavo [Jeffery & Birds In The Trap Sing McKnight]
Nominations | ‘One Dance’, Drake [Views] | ‘Father Stretch My Hands Pt. 1’, Kanye West [The Life of Pablo] | ‘Bad & Boujee’, Migos [Culture] | ‘Panda’, Desiigner [New English]
Despite Drake’s undeniable success for Kyla’s ‘Do You Mind’, the committee agreed that the lack of originality meant it could not be crowned the winner. Kanye West’s soulful use of T. L. Barrett’s gospel track, also named ‘Father Stretch My Hands’, is another gem off the album. The Metro Boomin production merges almost perfectly with the voices of Ye, his former pupil Kid Cudi and the backing choir. A latecomer to the 2016 party, ‘Bad & Boujee’ could easily be called the song of a generation. The term ‘Boujee’ comes from the word ‘bourgeois’ used to describe the middle class; but to be honest, nobody could care less because the track is flames. Name another song to get a shout-out at the Golden Globes! ‘Panda’ is simply an undeniable hit. You hear the song and you can’t help but get excited. It has been heard everywhere from fashion shows to the grimiest shoobs. However, all these come second to ‘Pick Up the Phone’. The tropical vibes and melodic tones from Thugger Thugger and La Flame make the song irresistible. It has something for everyone and Quavo brings one of the best verses of his life to seal the win.
Honorable shoutouts | ‘Ultralight Beam’, Kanye West [The Life of Pablo] | ‘Nas Album Done’, DJ Khaled [Major Key]
Nas goes in with one of the most fire verses of the year, with a powerful message to go alongside it. All just to remind us that his album is done and that we should be looking out for it. If his album is anything like this track it’s definitely on our most anticipated list.
Collab track of the year | ‘Low Life’, Future ft. The Weeknd [EVOL]
“I turn the Ritz into a poor house / It’s like eviction number four now”
Nominations | ‘Ultralight Beam’ Kanye West ft. The-Dream, Kelly Price, Kirk Franklin & Chance the Rapper [The Life Of Pablo] | ‘Kanye West’, Young Thug ft. Wyclef Jean [Jeffery] | ‘X’, 21 Savage & Metro Boomin ft. Future [Savage Mode] | Kanye West, Life of Pablo] | ‘Why you Always Hatin?’, YG ft. Drake & Kamaiyah [Still Brazy]
We felt it was important to include this category for the culture. This category recognises those tracks which you can just tell the artists really collaborated together to craft something special. The distinction between this category and the “Song of the Year” category is that, to be eligible for this category, the track requires more than just artists dropping feature verses on each other’s beats. We have to hear that the artists spent time together grinding in the studio to refine their collective art. Having said that, ‘Low Life’ is a worthy winner, with the similarities in The Weeknd’s flow on this track and on ‘Six Feet Under’ from his Starboy album further testament to the hours spent in Future’s company producing heat (the two tracks were likely made in the same recording sessions).
Honourable shoutouts | ‘Work’, Rihanna ft. Drake [Anti]
This song has special memories for the committee, we have all definitely lost composure to a solid whine to this track.
Feature verse of the year | Chance the Rapper – ‘Ultralight Beam’, Kanye West [The Life Of Pablo]
“I made Sunday Candy, I’m never going to hell”
Nominations | Quavo – ‘Pick Up the Phone’, Young Thug & Travis Scott [Jeffery & Birds In The Trap Sing McKnight] | Kendrick Lamar – ‘Goosebumps’, Travis Scott [Birds In The Trap Sing McKnight] | Kendrick Lamar – ‘Wat’s Wrong’, Isaiah Rashad [The Sun’s Tirade] | Jay Electronica – ‘How Great’, Chance the Rapper [Coloring Book]
As usual, Kendrick came in with the fire feature verses. His verse on Goosebumps deserves a special mention for his unexpected falsetto bars – nobody else in the game is brave or versatile enough to even attempt this. Quavo’s verse just reminds us all that we will never have as much sauce as him – the man is just effortlessly cool. Jay Electronica stole the show with his verse, dropping arguably the best verse on Chance’s whole album. Fault is almost impossible to find in what he crafted.
Honourable Shoutouts | Kanye West – ‘Pop Style’, Drake | J. Cole – ‘Jermaine’s Interlude’, DJ Khaled [Major Key]
Kanye’s verse earned this shoutout because it was flames to the point that Drake had to remove him from the album version of the track.
R&B Album of the Year | A Seat at the Table, Solange
Nominations | Anti, Rihanna | Blonde, Frank Ocean | Campaign, Ty Dolla $ign | Starboy, The Weeknd
The Weeknd proclaims “Legend of the Fall, took the year like a bandit”, on Starboy and, although that’s very difficult to argue with, after much deliberation, we decided that he fell slightly short of having R&B Album of the Year. After a brief hiatus from dropping albums, RiRi returned to remind us all why she’s one of the best pop artists of our generation. Frank Ocean also returned after a not-so-brief hiatus from releasing anything and proved he really is deserving of all the hype. A lot has been made of the Grammys overlooking Beyoncé for Album of the Year. Well, she’s getting overlooked here again because, at the Hood Grammys, we believe her little sister Solange had the R&B Album of the Year.
Honourable Shoutouts | PARTYNEXTDOOR 3, PARTYNEXTDOOR| SEPT 5TH, dvsn
UK Album of the Year | Konnichiwa, Skepta
Nominations | Made In The Manor, Kano | Landlord, Giggs | Growing Over Life, Wretch 32
We had to include this category to recognise the work that the homegrown UK mandem have been putting in. The grime & urban scene has had a recent renaissance and continued to flourish last year, with BBK headlining Wireless Festival and Skepta selling out Alexandra Palace for his stunning homecoming concert. Skepta held it down for us, representing London and the UK on a global stage. Skeppy has been the UK artist of the year and it’s only right that his album, Konnichiwa, should win this category.
Lyricist of the year | Chance the Rapper
“Bruh, I’m at your head like Craig did Deebo”
Nominations | Mick Jenkins, Isaiah Rashad, Ab Soul, Mac Miller
One thing that the Drake vs. Meek Mill beef showed us is that, more than for any other genre, in hip-hop, an artist’s credibility and legacy is ultimately dependent on the strength of their pen. Lyrical ability can make or break an artist in this game and perhaps this is why Drake came so hard at Meek after the ghostwriting allegations. We included this category to acknowledge the artists with the kind of bars that force listeners to stop and really think. Not traditionally known for his lyrical ability, Chance elevated his game this year and his verse on ‘Ultralight Beam’ alone is enough to make him deserving of this category.
Honourable Shoutouts | Meek Mill, Kendrick Lamar
Producer of the year | Metro Boomin
Nominations | Zaytoven, London on da Track, Travis Scott Southside
Young Metro wins this category for the second consecutive year, retaining his crown as the best producer in the game. He won for the simple fact that, once you hear “If Young Metro don’t trust you I’m gon’ shoot you” or “Metro Boomin wants some more nigga” on a track’s intro, you just know the track is going to bang.
Honourable Shoutouts | Nineteen85