Lynne d Johnson

 

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12.29.05 05:38 PM

mariah and others who didn't make the list


Mariah Carey

This was an interesting year for music. Alternative/Rock and R&B made a comeback in a major way. Not that hip-hop albums didn't warrant mention, it's just that the top selling hip-hop artists this year who also made the Billboard charts happen to have a little pop crossover appeal. Besides, Kanye West and 50 Cent's raps nowadays sound a lot more like singing.

But it was definitely Mariah's year. Mariah's The Emancipation Of Mimi has sold 4.8 million copies nationally to date and more than 8 million copies world wide. This places her neck-and-neck with 50 Cent for best selling US album of the year. ("In the latest numbers from Nielsen SoundScan, Carey has sold 4.866 million copies to 50's 4.834 million." MTV.com) 50 Cent and his Massacre received Billboard's Artist of The Year Award. Carey though, proved that 2005 was her year, nabbing 5 Billboard Music Awards, 4 Vibe Awards, and 1 American Music Award, notwithstanding her 8 Grammy nods.

Yet in a few year-end lists, such as Pitchfork's Top 50 albums of 2005 and Popmatters Picks: The Best Music of 2005, Mariah Carey's Emancipation does not appear. That's definitely a problem. How can the most lauded artist of the year, not end up on lists that are supposed to be significant markers of good music?

Both lists do showcase a few crossover rap acts. First there was the usual suspect — Kanye West. Then there were two of the best lyricists of the past 10 years — Cam'Ron and Common. There was also the underdog — Blackalicious. And dont forget about newcomers The Game and Young Jeezy — but no 50 Cent. I have to admit that The Massacre left something to be desired and perhaps the Get Rich Or Die Tryin' Soundtrack was a much better album. Even Tony Yayo's album was far more sonically interesting.

These lists, though, tend to tilt more toward rock critics assessment of what makes a good album. And therefore R&B doesn't make the cut, even when it's Mariah Carey. John Legend, another R&B heavyweight this year, also didn't make these popular year-end music lists.

As for the rap/hip-hop selections that do make the cut, they lean more toward a rock critic's sensibilities and listening pleasure, and often it's the material of the genre that has crossover appeal.

But here's another problem with those lists. Swishahouse had a great year. Swishahouse was the best thing that happened to hip-hop in 2005. Yet Swishahouse artists did not make the list. Houston, in general, has become the home of hip-hop lately with everyone who wants to make a hit collaborating with Slim Thug, Bun B, or Paul Wall.

Swishahouse rappers Mike Jones, Paul Wall, and Slim Thug, made major contributions to top hip-hop and pop singles this year. Mike Jones, "Still Tippin'," was one of the most popular hip-hop songs and ringtones of the year. His album, Who Is Mike Jones? has sold over 1 million copies. Slim Thug's Already Platinum has sold more than 500,000 copies, and Paul Wall's The Peoples Champ debuted at No. 1 with 176,000 copies sold in the United States. Lil' Flip may not have had major-label releases in 2005, but his heavy mixtape circuit activity should be a boon to his Feb. '06 release. And Houston veteran, Bun B's Trill, debuted at no. 6 on Billboard, while newcomer Chamillionaire capitlized off the H-Town movement with The Sound Of Revenge debuting real big.

Overall 2005, saw some of the most diverse music offerings released. In the case of Reggae and aslo Reggaeton, that hardly ever get mentioned on any of these year-end lists, there were some significant firsts.

Sean Paul, who will be rocking in the New Year's on Dick Clark's special, and his album, The Trinity not only received a Grammy nod but also earned the highest ever reggae debut and single week sales for a reggae artist in SoundScan history. A week before Sean Paul earned those honors, a native reggae son, Damian Marley earned the label as the highest reggae debut. Far from his brother's Ziggy Marley and the Melody Makers Chris Blackwell pop reggae fusion, Jr. Gong's Welcome To Jamrock mixes dancehall, roots, blues, r&b, and hip-hop. It is definitely one of 2005's winners, if only for its summer anthem.

As for Reggaeton, Don Omar, Daddy Yankee, and Tego Calderon's major label deals, will only help to push this genre further into the mainstream. Don Omar's “Dale Don Dale,” featuring Fabolous and Daddy Yankee's "Rompe" are already playing heavily in mainstream radio and video rotations.

Maybe this year's music wasn't the most exciting, but it was by far the most unique (and as I already said) most diverse, in many years. Since Usher's success in recent years, and the introduction of Ciara and Chris Brown, R&B is once again a recognized and important genre. Hip-hop continues to widen its net, bringing us a larger array of rapping and production styles, especially from the midwest and dirty south. And world music, usually far more popular with adults, is becoming equally as relevant to today's youth.

I just wish that when some of these year-end lists are published that the top 10s reflect just how varied America's music is.

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