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Lil Uno says the San Diego Music Awards nominee selection process as it pertains to hip-hop is "embarrassing. It's a joke. I don't know who puts it together, but they obviously don't know what the hell they are doing." He says musicians "that I never even heard of" were nominated and local artists who've had national airplay and major-label distribution (such as himself, Lil Al, Lil Rob, and Mitchy Slick) were ignored. He wonders why the Icons were nominated.

"I don't have anything against those guys, but if you don't sell records across the nation, you shouldn't be nominated for nothing." The last Icons CD, Needlesmicscanslinoleum, was released in 2003, whereas Lil Uno, Lil Al, and Lil Rob have had major-label-distributed releases in the past 12 months.

"I just added tracks for a remix for the Snoop Dogg single 'Vato,' " says Lil Uno. "Snoop was looking for a Latin artist. He was looking for the right dude, and he came to me."

Rapper Celio Skilz thinks that South Psycho Cide and Deep Rooted deserved 2006 SDMA nominations.

"The Icons are legends, but even they will probably admit they shouldn't be on there," says Skilz. "Lil Rob is one of the most popular Latino rappers from the West Coast, period. His video for 'Summer Nights' has been running on MTV for 12 months. And what about Regg Henny and Young Tage? They both put out new music in the last 12 months. For all this progress to get done and not get recognized adds insult to injury.... [Nominee] Alfred Howard may be a good musician, but I'm sorry, he's not part of the San Diego hip-hop scene."

Alfred Howard agrees that his band (the K23 Orchestra) doesn't belong in the hip-hop category. "I think it shows whoever does the nominations doesn't necessarily listen to the music," he says. "What our group is doing is funk/rock/psychedelic/Afro-beat with spoken word. I think the SDMA people acknowledge that we are doing something different and original, yet have a difficult time genrifying it. We do appreciate the acknowledgement, though, we're not a hip-hop band."

Journalist/musician Bart Mendoza has been involved with the SDMAs for many years. He says six people made the nominations.

"To be nominated, you have to be active between July 4 [2005] and July 4 [2006]," says Mendoza. He directed other questions on the nomination process to 91X DJ Al Guerra, who did not respond to a request for comment.

Celio Skilz appears September 7 at the Belly Up with Deep Rooted and the Icons (two 2006 SDMA nominees) and Camp Lo. The awards show takes place on September 18 at Viejas Concerts in the Park.

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