Yes, another San Diego Music Awards — Sunday is the 20th annual — another hip-hop category controversy. Nothing new here. Some may remember the local rap artist “Trick” picketing the SDMAs outside Humphrey’s back in the early ’90s, protesting the injustice of having no hip-hop category at all (while, say, Rockola and the People Movers traded the Best Cover Band award yearly). The squeaky wheel got his grease: Trick won the newly established Best Hip-Hop category in 1994 and 1995.
The problem, then and now, was seen not so much as a lack of respect for San Diego’s hip-hop scene but, rather, a sign of gross collective ignorance. The charge is still being leveled, this year with a twist. SDRaps.com blogger Quan Vu, once again irked, blasted the SDMAs when the nominees were announced in late July: “At this point, it’s hard to take the SDMAs very seriously,” he blogged. “Lesbian femcee MC Flow, who is by all accounts a bad rapper — both from a technical standpoint and an artistic standpoint — has won in the Best Hip-Hop category for the past three years...without having even released an album since 2008 (or if she has, it certainly wasn’t good enough to be nominated for Best Hip-Hop Album).” Besides much ensuing trenchant analysis of the situation and other nominees (including an insightful interview with MC Flow), Vu also launched a write-in campaign for Southeast SD vet Mitchy Slick — a consensus choice among hip-hop headz and beyond as San Diego’s highest-profile, most substantial hip-hop artist to emerge from the 619.
And the past year has self-evidently been a banner one for Mitchy Slick — if only more knew.... As a cofounding, SD-repping member of SoCal ensemble Strong Arm Steady, he’s on one of 2010’s most acclaimed hip-hop albums, In Search of Stoney Jackson. (It rocked a 7.1 from the Pitchfork kids; All Music Guide admired how its “tracks shift from old-school funk to weird hiss-and-pop interludes with incomprehensible vocal snippets on top to collages.... From a purely instrumental standpoint, this album is the equal of the Beastie Boys’ Paul’s Boutique.”) And Slick’s 2010 Wrongkind Productions collection Yellow Tape is another solid gangster-rap disc, highlighted by its telltale “Won’t Stop Being a Blood,” Slick’s autobiographical paean to SD’s notorious Lincoln Park Bloods. Perhaps, keeping it too real for the SDMAs.