Sunday, January 1, 2017

Rise & Shine

I'm literally typing this as fireworks appear outside my office window. It's 12:05am. The office is located on the top floor, overlooking a majestic view of the valley, so needless to say, it's quite the sight. I couldn't picture finishing this (I tend to write my introductions, last) any other way.

It's been quite the year... A few wins, several L's. I think it's safe to say, we're all lucky to be here. I've spent the last several days thinking about the last 12 months, and more specifically, going over all of the music that dropped during such a bizarre time and the back stories that go with it, and here's what I've determined:

 - Kanye West is turning into Lauryn Hill.
- Hov still got it.
- Retards are running rap.
- I've been sleeping on Dave East.
- Run The Jewels should be much bigger than they are.
- Still can't stand DJ Khaled. Pretty positive, that's never going to change. I'ma hater.
- I like Donald Glover way more than I like Childish Gambino.
- The LOX still got it, too.
- Soulja Boy is probably going to die soon.
- French Montana has body image issues.
- Migos are slowly growing on me, and I can no longer ignore it.
- It blows my mind that Tyga has avoided assassination for this long.
- Lil Uzi Vert looks like he may have herpes and/or several other STD's.

- I'm glad Weeknd finally got that haircut.
- We're never going to hear Watch The Throne 2.

Here are the winners and losers, of the 2016 Tubby Blog Awards… Dissect it. Discuss it. Debate it. Slap it on a mirror, rail it out and snort the motherfucker, I don't give a shit. These are just my opinions. I hope you hate em'… Happy new year.

Note: Many of the winners/losers listed below have links attached to them. Click them if you dare.

Records (Songs) Of The Year
Wifi - Big Baby Dram featuring Erykah Badu
Secrets - The Weeknd
The Cow - Westside Gunn featuring Conway
In Common - Alicia Keys
4pm In Calabasas - Drake
Really Doe - Danny Brown feat. Kendrick Lamar, Ab-Soul & Earl Sweatshirt
Wolves - Kanye West featuring Vic Mensa & Sia
S.D.E - Dave East featuring Cam'ron
Starboy - The Weeknd
Controlla - Drake

Best Overall Albums of 2016
Starboy - The Weeknd
Views - Drake
Kairi Chanel - Dave East
Filthy America… It's Beautiful - The LOX
Run The Jewels 3 - Run The Jewels
Blank Face LP - Schoolboy Q
Free 6lack - 6lack
Inzombia - Belly
The Life of Pablo - Kanye West

Tubby's 10 Favorite Rappers of 2016
Dave East
Westside Gunn & Conway
Schoolboy Q

Run The Jewels (Killer Mike & El-P)
The Game
Joe Budden
Kanye West

Worst Rappers of 2016

Best Rap Albums
Kairi Chanel - Dave East
Filthy America… It's Beautiful - The LOX
RTJ3 - Run The Jewels
Flygod - Westside Gunn
Blank Face LP - Schoolboy Q
Rage & The Machine - Joe Budden
4 Your Eyez Only - J.Cole
Untitled Unmastered - Kendrick Lamar
Inzombia - Belly
The Life Of Pablo - Kanye West

Best Rap Verses of 2016

1017 Bricksquad Award (Worst Songs)

Best Diss Tracks of 2016
Pest Control - The Game
4pm In Calabasas - Drake
False Prophets - J.Cole
War Pain - Meek Mill
Everybody Dies - J.Cole

Top 5 Favorite Beats
Really Doe by Danny Brown, produced by Black Milk
Hard Life by The LOX, produced by Dame Grease
S.D.E by Dave East, produced Mr.Authentic
Durag vs. Headband by Action Bronson, produced by Knxwledge
4pm In Calabasas by Drake, produced by Frank Dukes & Vinylz

Boner Jams 2016 (Best R&B/Vocal Records)
Wifi - D.R.A.M featuring Erykah Badu
Secrets - The Weeknd
Controlla - Drake
PRBLMS - 6lack
Don't Run - PartyNextDoor
Get You - Daniel Caesar featuring Kali Uchis
In Common - Alicia Keys
Grass Ain't Greener - Chris Brown
California Heaven - JAHKOY featuring Schoolboy Q
Loved By You - KIRBY

Best R&B/Vocal Albums of 2016
Starboy - The Weeknd
Views - Drake
Free 6lack - 6lack
Darkness & Light - John Legend

Best Album Artwork
FLYGOD - Westside Gunn
Birds In The Trap Sing McKnight - Travis Scott
Jeffrey - Young Thug
Awaken, My Love - Childish Gambino
Free 6lack - 6lack

Big Baby DRAM -
Coloring Book - Chance The Rapper
The Boxer Rebellion - Ocean By Ocean
Collegrove - 2 Chainz & Lil Wayne
Don't Get Scared Now - Griselda Records (Conway & Westside Gunn)

Rap Video Of The Year

Biggest Loser Award
Hillary (She tried winning via the hip hop vote and took a stupid L... She's deserves to be here.)
Beanie Sigel
Soulja Boy
Sean Kingston

Tubby's Annual Death Wish List

Top Podcasts

2016 Guilty Pleasure Award

Hottest Chicks In The Game
Note: IG models/video hoes are disqualified from this list.
These chicks actually do shit AND look delicious.

And now... the local categories:

Tubby's Top 10 Creeper List (Hottest Local Girls On Social Media)

Tubby's 20 Favorite Locals To Follow (In No Specific Order)

Objective: Adjective.
(of a person or their judgment) not influenced by personal feelings or opinions in considering and representing facts.

Every year, for the last several years now, I've written these lists for my annual end of the year blog, and every year, my favorite part of the entire thing is the top local rappers list. Every December/January, I list who I consider to be, the Top 10 rap artists in Alaska for that calendar year. My main objective is to be AS objective, and honest and unbiased as possible. I try to keep my personal feelings and friendships regarding the individuals listed, out of the equation and go off actual facts and statistics… This year, I've decided to make my list more detailed and precise by grading each artist using certain criteria, such as:

"Body (Amount) of Work" - How much product/content was released by that specific artist.
"Quality of Work" - The overall quality of the content, (i.e.: was the music/content, mixed & mastered? The presentation of the content, the actual sonic/audio quality of the music, etc)
"Social Media Relevance" - How strong is the artist's presence felt/received online via social media, "Live Performance/Stage Presence" - How active is the artist, when it comes to live performances? Do they rap over their own vocals, or do they REALLY rap their lyrics live? Are they entertaining in person? This is a very important and crucial piece to the overall puzzle, and finally "Overall Work Ethic & Activity" - in laymen's terms: how much did they do this year? How active were they, overall?

Each artist named in this year's list got a grade for each one of those specific criteria and with those combined grades, their overall score and ranking was determined. As I say every year, this is not the "BEST RAPPER IN ALASKA" list or the "BEST OF ALL TIME" list, this isn't even the "BEST RAPPERS OF THE YEAR" list, this is the Top 10 most active, productive, relevant rap artists in Alaska for the year 2016. This is also just the opinion of one guy, being as objective as humanly possible (I even take myself out of these annual lists, even though, I'm still quite active). Any hate mail and/or objections can be sent to Cody Liska at the Anchorage Press, haha. Lord knows I ain't reading it. Here we go...

 Body (Amount) of Work: A
Quality of Work: A
Social Media Relevance: A
Live Performance/Stage Presence: B-
Overall Work Ethic & Activity: A+

Whether you are apart of the relatively small, yet constantly growing Alaskan hip hop crowd, someone who frequents the Anchorage bar/club scene, or just a person who stays on top of what's going on in the city/state's music and social scene online, you've probably seen and/or heard of Duckman and his group of Bag Boys out of Eastside, Anchorage. I think it's pretty much safe to say that Duckman's presence was felt more in 2016, than ever before (anyone in the local rap scene who disagrees may have to have a self evaluation and ask themselves if they may be a hater). Duck was one of the members of UNDB (Up North D-Boys), a rap group from Out Da Cutt Entertainment, which also consisted of local rap elite, Bay Dilla, Skitzo Scoe and Nutcase, and along with Scoe, was, and still is, in my top 5 favorite local Alaskan rappers of ALL TIME, list. Yes… All time!

This year, though, Duck completely took over the local rap scene in Anchorage, if not Alaska, as a whole. First, soon as he came home from prison, he immediately reconnected with Raw Beatzz (UNDB's producer) and began churning out music. With Raw's amazing production, mixing, and post production skills, Duck made the music he's known to make; high production quality, catchy gangster rap records about the street life and club friendly tracks for the ladies. Then he put out "Drill", which in my opinion is the best commercial rap record to come out locally, in not just the last 12 months, but even longer than that. The record is not only catchy to the point of multiple repeats, but when you really listen to the record, or watch the Crimeski produced music video, the song is quite far from being soft. And that's where Duck excels over every other local "hard/thug/gangster/whatever" rapper… He's mastered the balance and formula of making real hard, gangster rap songs while creating a commercial/club friendly sound to it, which attracts the female listener. What also helps, is the authenticity of the artist creating the musical content. Those in the know, know… Duck is a real one, and you can hear it in the music.

He released "Welcome 2 Da East" earlier this year, and Duck and his crew, along with Raw Beatzz who produced and mixed the project, put out, what I consider to be the best overall rap project in 2016. That, along with Duck's constant visibility which includes his frequent appearances and performances at local parties and clubs (I feel like Duck lives at The Playhouse, haha!), him starring in the local hood flick, "Bang Or Die", directed by Maxamillz, him traveling and performing at my various "Tubby & Friends" shows around the interior earlier this year, and his digital, social media hustle (Duck released several visuals along with his album, exclusively online and he pushes his product on social media, pretty much daily) are the reasons why I feel that in 2016, Duckman definitely led the pack of top 10 rappers in Alaska.

Alaska Redd
 Body (Amount) of Work: B
Quality of Work: B+
Social Media Relevance: A
Live Performance/Stage Presence: A+
Overall Work Ethic & Activity: A

Jay Z told me at a young age, you can't knock the hustle, and if there's one person in the local rap scene who defines hustle and grind, it's Josh Silva, better known as Alaska Redd. I can go on and on about my personal feelings about this guy and all the memories he and I have shared, everything I've learned from him, how influential of an individual this man was in my life (and one day I will), but this is just an objective opinion on people I considered to be in the elite group of rappers, this year, and Redd definitely makes that list.

Other than myself (I keep myself out of these lists, but every now & then I gotta stunt, just a teensy weensy, bit, haha), Redd was the only other rap artist with his own headlining, statewide tour, where he also brought up Paul Wall as an added bonus to his fans. Not only did he make his rounds in our home state, performing pretty much everywhere a local rapper can perform (Redd also performed at several of my "Tubby & Friends" shows as well), he also linked up with some independent rappers, down in the states and was apart of a north west tour, earlier this fall.

Redd also put out his long awaited (and from what I've been told, possibly his final) album "Snowsuits & Bunny Boots" towards the end of the year. As a person who has literally watched and followed Redd's career, and obviously, the music released in that career, from day one, I definitely consider it his best, most refined, polished body of work, to date. With features from the local elite all the way to big names such as E-40, Paul Wall, B-Legit, just to name a few, Redd not only put out one of the best rap albums out of AK this year, but if "Snowsuits & Bunny Boots" is indeed, his last album, he ended a solid, legendary run in this local rap game, in the perfect way… with a solid ass album.

Tayy Tarantino
 Body (Amount) of Work: B
Quality of Work: B+
Social Media Relevance: B
Live Performance/Stage Presence: C
Overall Work Ethic & Activity: B

There's very few rappers in Alaska, that have a decent sized buzz or better, that I don't have a relationship with, or haven't met. Tayy Tarantino is one of those very few individuals. Regardless of that, Tayy, with the help of Vasco Vea and the Bad Agenda label, made sure everyone in the local hip hop scene knew his name this year, and he did it correctly. He put out the album "Homecoming" and let the music speak for itself. With a very good album, featuring production from Raw Beatzz as well, young Tayy Tarantino showed guys like me… "old heads", that the future of Alaskan rap is in good hands. Tayy's delivery on records is far above average and with Bad Agenda backing him, the future looks very bright for young Tayy Tarantino.

Bishop Slice
 Body (Amount) of Work: B
Quality of Work: B
Social Media Relevance: A
Live Performance/Stage Presence: C
Overall Work Ethic & Activity: A+

Back in 2005, at an old album signing I had at Sam Goody's in Bentley Mall, back in Fairbanks, a very young Bishop Slice (I believe back then he just went by Bishop) came by, bought a copy of my album, and gave me a demo he had made. I'll always remember thinking how cool that was, that such a young boy would already be on his grind at that young of an age and stage, and 12 years later, that young man's grind is more apparent than ever. Bishop picked up where Hastyle Reign left off, as the voice for the Alaskan native community, and for many others who have felt the struggles of living in a place like Fairbanks. Countless Alaskan youth, like Bishop, turned to a life of mischief and crime, a lot of times, out of sheer boredom and a lack of options. Bishop speaks to that demographic. Since teaming up with Starbuks (another well known, top 10 local rapper) and releasing the "Gold Kingz" album, along with visuals for several of the songs, not to mention performing statewide all year long, his momentum, popularity and creativity, has been at an all time high. Being kicked out of a fair festival by a racist white lady, that drew national media coverage, didn't hurt either.

Body (Amount) of Work: B
Quality of Work: B+
Social Media Relevance: A+
Live Performance/Stage Presence: B+
Overall Work Ethic & Activity: A+

Let's face it, and be honest about something…  Starbuks, better known by most as Mike Cofey, is the Alaskan rap scene's 50 Cent. He's the bad guy. He's extremely brash. Whether it be on stage performing and airing out a former fling for talking about him on Facebook, taunting/teasing and ultimately dissing local rap rivals (two words: "Casket Sharp") or arguing with his baby mamas in front of everyone on social media, Starbuks is unapologetically himself, and though you don't want to be on his bad side, you can't help but respect the guy for doing things his way, and not changing for anyone, and another thing you can't help but respect is his love for the culture and his love for the local music scene. Though he didn't release much solo material this year, he linked up with Bishop Slice, who I just mentioned, and together as a duo, made a lot of noise this year locally with their "Gold Kingz" album. There was also the fair fiasco that had everyone in Alaska and beyond talking, not to mention his various features on tracks from the upcoming compilation, "Tequila Sunrise". He was a co-headliner on the "Tubby & Friends" show and alongside Bishop Slice, performed pretty much everywhere possible. He ended the year with a very high profile diss record towards Money Mann (the previously mentioned "Casket Sharp") with a roll out that was equally impressive and his interview on "Tubby's ManCave Project" discussing the diss record, is the most listened to episode of the series. With his upcoming album "Whiskey, Weed & Women" on the way, I'm sure Starbuks will be keeping us entertained in 2017 as well.

Money Mann
Body (Amount) of Work: B
Quality of Work: C+
Social Media Relevance: B+
Live Performance/Stage Presence: C
Overall Work Ethic & Activity: A+

There's no denying the passion and ambition that Darian Spann, also known as Money Mann, has burning inside of him. I've watched this young man dream about and live the "rap life" since he was a boy. It's all he's ever wanted and over the years he's consistently made progress, getting closer to his dreams coming to fruition. This year was his most productive year to date. He put out the album "Homecoming" (coincidentally the same album title as Tayy Tarantino's), he started his own label, Dirty North Association, put out several videos, along with video of him traveling stateside meeting with labels such as Roc Nation, trying to get a deal, and even executive produced the debut album of his older brother, fellow local rapper, Shawny Bones. This month, he held his 5th annual Money Mann Toy Drive, giving toys to children in need, and even made a few interview appearances on local news programs. Though he faced a lot of adversity towards the end of the year with a public feud with fellow local rapper, Starbuks, Money Mann continued to move forward, showing once again, that his passion and ambition to achieve his goals, won't be stopped.

Body (Amount) of Work: B
Quality of Work: B
Social Media Relevance: C
Live Performance/Stage Presence: B
Overall Work Ethic & Activity: A

One of the hardest working creatives in the Alaskan hip hop scene, the eccentric, often low-key, and ridiculously talented, Darius Dossman hasn't had a slow year, ever, and this year was no different for the man ranked the #1 local rapper on last year's Tubby Blog Awards list. He continued to put music out a feverish pace, two of those records "I Like That" (off Tequila Sunrise) and "Dos Equis" (both tracks available on Darius' soundcloud) are still on constant rotation over here, he was a vital part of this year's "Tubby & Friends" local hip hop tour, and he even started bringing his talents and imagination into the visual world, directing, writing and producing videos for not only himself but other local acts as well. With the follow up to last year's successful, well received EP with Johnny Kohler "How Did We Get Here?" finished on the verge of release, expect Darius to make a lot more noise in 2017 and quite possibly take his number 1 spot back this time next year.

Ben Swann
Body (Amount) of Work: B
Quality of Work: C+
Social Media Relevance: C
Live Performance/Stage Presence: B+
Overall Work Ethic & Activity: B

Ben Swann, out of Anchorage, had a good year as well. He released "On My Way", a follow up to last year's "On My Grizzly", released 3 videos off that project, featured on local rapper Double Dose's "Indigo Fever" project which got a lot of good reception, put out his own line of Ben Swann Mastadon clothing merch, and was apart of this summer's "Tubby & Friends" local rap tour, where he gained quite a few new Fairbanks fans. His live performance improved incredibly over the year and with more music on the way, not to mention an even larger spot on this upcoming leg of the "Tubby & Friends" local showcase series, it's safe to say Ben Swann will have an even more successful 2017.

Body (Amount) of Work: B
Quality of Work: B
Social Media Relevance: A
Live Performance/Stage Presence: N/A
Overall Work Ethic & Activity: A

Longtime Anchorage hip hop personality, Maxamillz, came home from prison and didn't waste any time putting in work. He started AK Afta Dark, which showcases the night life and hip hop scene in Anchorage, featuring parties/events thrown by Maxamillz & his team. This year, he released several records and linked up with Crimeski Productions for visuals to several of those records, but most impressively, he directed, wrote and starred in a film, titled "Bang Or Die" which was really a first in Alaska, as far as hip hop goes, and even threw a red carpet event, celebrating the film's release.

Madd Angler
Body (Amount) of Work: B+
Quality of Work: B
Social Media Relevance: C
Live Performance/Stage Presence: N/A
Overall Work Ethic & Activity: B

The Madd Angler, without a doubt, is this year's most improved player. After last year's banger of a rap record, "Dirty Bird", Madd Angler kept the momentum going, releasing quite a bit of work in 2016… 3 full length projects to be exact: "Mad McDuff", "Elements" and "The Hello Fellowship" with Johnny Kohler, not to mention several single releases, including a personal favorite of mine, "City In Ashes". Madd Angler, being a slope boy, wasn't available much this past year as far as local performances go, but by releasing dope visuals, like "Opaque" featuring Johnny Kohler, Madd Angler made sure his presence was felt in 2016.

Local Rap Records of The Year
Drill by Duckman
Dos Equis - Darius
Cookin - Sky Division
Rickert - Bishop Slice & Starbuks featuring Cashis
Cloudkiccer - Shawny Bones

Top 5 Local Rap Albums of 2016

And there you have it, once again, ladies and gentlemen. I hope you enjoyed wasting however many minutes you spent reading this. I hope it provoked thought and/or emotion. I also wanna say that I appreciate y'all for reading these shits every year. I put a lot of time into it, believe it or not, and I truly enjoy this music shit, and apparently so do you, so... As a sign of my appreciation, I present to you, the long awaited, constantly pushed back and delayed, but finally completed, "Tequila Sunrise" featuring Starbuks, Fleetwood Malone, Alaska Redd, Muldoon Manny, Darius, Duckman, Kenfolk, Madd Angler, and The Sky Division. Enjoy!


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