My Pick for Juno Rap Single of the Year

The Juno Awards are coming up and instead of complaining about the list of nominees this year, I thought I would go through the categories that interest me in detail and make my own decisions about each list. I’ve already covered the Children’s Album of the Year and Rap Album of the Year categories. Now, it’s time to look at the Rap Single of the Year nominees.

I host and DJ a Hip Hop mixshow on college radio and I have to say that I wasn’t familiar with any of the songs in this list. I support the local scene and play lots of Canadian talent too. My show is boom-bap oriented and focuses on beats and rhymes. The modern and commercial rap doesn’t really appeal to me, but there was a point in time where the Juno Awards recognized that kind of music. Rascalz, Ghetto Concept, and Shad have all taken home the main prize. So, I was hoping something might catch my ear this year.

First up is Alejandro Sosa by 6ixbuzz and Pengz. It has played out rhymes and themes over a beat that leaves much to be desired.

Been Himma by Dom Vallie is more upbeat but it falls apart near the end. It also has some pretty misogynist lyrics and homophobic content that many artists have moved away from in this day and age.

Freddie Dredd is immediately offensive in the same vein as the last entry. The beat is muddy and distorted. It’s hard to listen to and I’m surprised that something like this can represent the best Canada has to offer. This song has no reason to be nominated at all.

Kaytranada is an established name in the urban scene and he enlisted the help of Anderson .Paak for the track Twin Flame. It feels more like a dance or pop song that a Hip Hop one, but it is definitely the best produced and polished of the selections so far.

Wrong Decisions by Nav was the final chance to impress me in the category and it failed miserably. Its heavy use of auto-tune and down-tempo beat sound like almost every other rap song that is popular these days. It’s completely uninspired.

If I had to pick a winner in this category, and these were the only choices,. I would reluctantly give it to Kaytranada. However, I would like to name an alternative.

Chuck D of Public Enemy is on record calling The Come Up Story by Es his favourite song of the year. That’s a huge honour for an independent Canadian artist. It’s a dope track and more worthy of a Juno than this crop of nominees.

This winners for the 52nd Juno Awards will be unveiled in Edmonton, Alberta at The JUNO Opening Night Awards Presented by Music Canada on Saturday, March 11 and The JUNO Awards Broadcast on Monday, March 13. I’ll be watching to see of the people who voted on the awards agreed with me.