Real as Rawkus
Once upon a time not long ago, there was a label that signed real talent to show. That label was Rawkus Records. The New York company emerged in the mid 1990’s and became a hotbed of young talent that displayed distinctive delivery and voice tone. The most notable for production and lyricism are Hi-Tek, Mos Def (Yasiin Bey) and Talib Kweli. If you’re not acquainted with The Black Star Album, you have about 10 months before the 20 year anniversary to study up. And don’t get us started on Train of Thought by Reflection Eternal: The whole album was so lit, we let it play from beginning to end and discovered the coldest song was a hidden bonus track titled Four Women. To us Rawkus represented hip hop in it’s purest form even during a time when other rappers were dancing in shiny suits, no shade, okay maybe a little.
The Real as Rawkus Award is an achievement designed to recognize excellence in artist development, seeking out and signing established lyricists and performers, unique sound and delivery, and superior production. Jamla shocked the world with Laila’s Wisdom by Rapsody and production by 9th Wonder, GQ is coming out of his shell on his first tour (verse on Ridin’ 🔥🔥🔥), and from BB guns to the big stage young Reuben Vincent drops his debut project Myers Park. Dreamville artistry and production is also next level with The Never Story by JID. We thought JID was the lone superstar but we were sadly mistaken. The Never Had Shit Tour had label mates Earthgang and Lute, any one of them can headline a tour on any given day. Haven’t seen that much jumping on a stage (ever) in over 20 years of concerts. They created the energy and the audience mirrored it. Only in Detroit.
The work by Jamla and Dreamville was so phenomenal this year by both camps it could not be ignored. February marks the one year anniversary of our blog so we have no shiny plaques. Just the highest praise for two companies for the culture. You are co-recipients of the very first Ragpapermedia Real as Rawkus Award. We hope you’re around for a very long time and congratulations on a great year!