2011 for the most part is winding down. Projects have been released, concerts have been had, hungry artists have etched their name into superstardom overnight and the parallels of the city’s vastly underrated sports scene with its music scene stands correct for an unprecedented fourth consecutive year.

Our year covering the scene hip-hop wise was fun. Arduous from trekking all over the city, covering shows at Warehouse Live, House of Blues, Midtown Lounge, Mango’s, Fitzgerald’s and them some. We would have kindly left a mark but you know – things happen. With that said, here’s to the city of Houston and its firm resurrection in 2011.

PERSON(S) OF THE YEAR:
The biggest honor encompassing every facet of the Houston scene in a calendar year.

OG RON C & DJ CANDLESTICK
When screw culture became nouveau all over again in 2011, nobody had their button closer to the action than the OG and his apprentice who remixed albums & mixtapes from Kendrick Lamar to Jay-Z & Kanye West to recently Drake all with his signature slowed down vocals and timely chops. The OG went from Texas legend to household name in hipster circles, keeping your favorite albums fleshed out with Styrofoam madness and his own shit talking appeal.

Honorable Mention: Trae Tha Truth

ARTIST OF THE YEAR:
Given to the artist or who made the biggest impact in the city for a calendar year.

DOUGHBEEZY
Towards the tail end of 2010, a freestyler known more for ego swatting punchlines had won a chance encounter with Killa Kyleon. Twelve months later, Doughbeezy has gone from Kickback Killer to Best Rapper in Texas to featured inside of XXL sans a deal or anything in between. His Reggie Bush & Kool-Aid mixtape propelled him to unheard of heights in a small period of time, so much so you’ve probably heard it without actually knowing who was on the tape. Blue Magic, Dough’s believed follow up should set the stage for an even bigger 2012.

Honorable Mention: Trae Tha Truth, Killa Kyleon

CONCERT OF THE YEAR:
Self explanatory, the Houston artist who put on the best all around show from openers to closers.

Shot by Marco Torres, Houston Press

TIE: HIP-HOP MUSIC FEST 2 (June, 2011) & TRAE THA TRUTH’s STREET KING CONCERT (June, 2011)
One, a gargantuan amount of hungry emcees all of whom decided to put on for a good cause (self promotion) and the other a staggered amount of love & support for an artist who soldiered on despite two years of backlash and hell. Best Rappers In Texas saw its finale hold with a fiery performance from Doughbeezy, a scene stealing set from Dante Higgins and enough in betweens to keep folks happy. A steep contrast to Trae’s show at House of Blues where the ABN general came out in smiles and left in all black flanked by Clip D, Lupe Fiasco, Jadakiss & others. The hidden aspect of it was figuring out Trae had that many noteworthy songs to his credit.

Honorable Mention: Dangerous Minds/Drankenstein (November, 2011), Back 2 Skool W/ The New Skool (August, 2011)

YOU HAD TO BE THERE AWARD:
Given to the concert moment that yielded the most tweets & responses of flat out jealousy. Also, the “catch it on YouTube” award.

TIE: WATCH THE THRONE (12/5) & THE RETURN OF DMX (8/30)
You already know Watch The Throne was going to be a flat out spectacle so it warrants mentioning regardless. Dark Man X bringing out Scarface for the first time in public since Face got locked up for almost a full year? Shocking. Not to mention X’s antics the entire night felt surreal.

Honorable Mention: Yungstar Appearing For “June 27” (Back 2 Skool With The New Skool), Trae Tha Truth’s Street King Concert

ALBUM OF THE YEAR:
Given to the full length project available for purchase at e-retailers or in physical form.

TRAE THA TRUTH – STREET KING
Feature heavy? Yes. Stirring at times? Of course. If we were talking about Dallas, A.Dd+ would take this award with When Pigs Fly but the Street King made it his own personal mission to round up everybody who still rode with him through his trials and tribulations to deliver resoundingly.

Honorable Mention: hasHBrown – Break Something, Boss Hogg Outlawz – Serve & Collect 3, Z-Ro – Meth, Jack Freeman – Lynnie’s Juke Joint

FREE RELEASE OF THE YEAR:
Given to the EP or Mixtape that was available for free download on the Internet

DELO – HOOD POLITICS VOL. 2
You’d be hard pressed to figure Marcus Roberts didn’t go for everybody’s neck when he dropped Hood Politics Vol. 2 in March. From “Back Up In My City”’s triumphant bounce to the openers guitar driven chords and progression, Delo continued to press fast forward over plenty of over projects in 2011, impacting many when he penned “Khole” in honor of his young daughter. The year’s most well-rounded free tape that deserved some coin behind it.

Honorable Mention: L.E.$. – Settle 4 L.E.$. Vol. 2, Killa Kyleon – Candy Paint & Texas Plates 2, Preemo – The Magic Bullet, Lee-Lonn – I Am The Lee-Lonn, hasHBrown – Relationsh*t

UNDERRATED FREE RELEASE OF THE YEAR
Given to the mixtape or EP that went underlooked by the press or fans.

PREEMO – THE MAGIC BULLET
Not because he’s aligned to the route of being a mostly street emcee (not in content, in promotion) or the fact he doesn’t brag one bit about his work but frankly because he’s one of the most well-rounded specimens in the city and his tape proved that with cuts alongside Hollywood FLOSS on “Chemical Imbalance” and the H-Town native penning a letter to former revolutionary now turned filmmaker and seldom rapper Ice Cube.

Honorable Mention: Tawn P – The Wake Up Kiss, John Dew – N.A.S.A, Young Von – The Vonathon EP, Undergravity – Space Jams, Stockz – Breathing Room, Twenty Eleven – The Twenty Eleven EP, Show – Loud Howard

SERIES OF THE YEAR:
Given to the best weekly/monthly attraction.

TIE: KICKBACK SUNDAYS (SF2) & TAB TUESDAYS (KODE Entertainment)
On it’s little hub on Greens Rd. on the Northside of town, Kickback Sundays grew from local hangout spot with beer, pizza and cool people to a weekly Sunday showdown that brought attendance from many city notables to discovering new talent and artists that stayed around long after the series abruptly ended. Following in its footsteps was TAB, an industry mixer held every Tuesday in Midtown with a different theme every week. The idea of spontaneity and surprise kept TAB up as one of the best chances to lose all airs and just be normal with people.

Honorable Mention: Best Rappers In Texas, Turnin’ Headz: Blank Canvas, Space City Beat Battle

VERSE OF THE YEAR:
The most memorable verse of 2011.

DOUGHBEEZY – “PASS THE SWISHER” VERSE 2
Memorable for its objectivity, crassness and overall outlook on fast food relative to one’s actual greatness, Dough’s second salvo in the gun that was “Pass The Swisher” mixed his spastic double time with humor and very little passivity. He warped into Usain Bolt in the 100 meters here.

Honorable Mention: Killa Kyleon – “Moon & Stars Remix”, Bun B – “Bodies (Hit The Floor)”, HoodStar Chantz – “New Shit”

SONG OF THE YEAR:
The most memorable song of the year.

KIRKO BANGZ – “DRANK IN MY CUP”
Some may have hit harder, others more personal but in terms of absolute perfection, Kirko’s “Drank In My Cup” hits on all cylinders. There’s the syncopated slug echoed by Sound Mob’s cohesive collection of drum work, Kirko’s near Aaliyah like take on his verses that make “What Yo Name Iz?” look like child’s play and a take from the city’s rich history with codeine that ties everything together. It’s the star maker for the Warner Bros. signee, primed for a big 2012.

Honorable Mention: Z-Ro – “These Days”

FREESTYLE OF THE YEAR:
Given to the artist who delivered the best track without original production.

Shot by Marco Torres, Houston Press

DANTE HIGGINS – “BLOW UP”

Go to a Hig Head show and watch Hig let his chest beat heavy over Cole’s anthem. Everything will make sense when you look around and see the crowd.

Honorable Mention: Doughbeezy – “Pimpin’ Pens”, Rebel Je’ – “Odd Rebel”

NEXT MAN UP:
Given to the artist or group on the verge of breaking through in 2012. Also, the most believed artist to come through in case some top-level artist fell through. You know, like the Texans.

UZOY
When she’s not spending time inside somebody’s classroom or killing you on XBOX Live, the spitfire UZOY is causing wreck from her 2DopeBoyz cosigned mixtape The [def]ignition which barely uses the N-word as a separation point and instead highlights East Coast sentiments about love of lyricism and being the absolute best with a Texas twang that may feel invisible until you hear her talk in person.

Honorable Mention: Tawn P, Young Von, HoodStar Chantz, Authentic Snoopy

PRODUCER OF THE YEAR
Given to the producer who delivered the most consistent array of production in a calendar year.

DJ MR. ROGERS
Rogers, spectacled and clad mostly in a tank top & shorts hammered out beats from Curren$y’s “Job” to a wide bulk of L.E.$.’s Settle 4. L.E.$. Vol. 2 tape by diversifying his sounds beyond trendy loops and instead opting for more lush mixes of old Texas staples (chopped samples & whispery synths on the eerily gorgeous “RidingDownMrRogersNeighbhrood”) and common back breaking drums and easy to float horns.

Honorable Mention: Cy Fyre, Jett I. Masstyr, Soundmob, Beanz N Kornbread

BEST ALBUM/MIXTAPE YOU WISH CAME FROM HOUSTON:
Given to the national release from someone not from Houston but has deep ties to the city.

THREE WAY TIE: DRAKE – TAKE CARE/A$AP ROCKY – LIVE.LOVE.A$AP/BIG K.R.I.T. – RETURN OF 4EVA
Probably the only “duh” award on the list – but you knew that.

Honorable Mention:  Juicy J – Rubba Band Business 2

Congrats to all of the winners and everyone in every aspect of the scene that made 2011 a memorable year in Houston’s illustrious hip-hop history.