By Chris Yuscavage
December is here — and you know what that means: It’s time for a whole bunch of “Year End” lists to start making their way onto your television and computer screens!
Recently, NBC unleashed the first of the bunch when they presented Matt Lauer’s “People of the Year” special in order to honor the most important people of 2010. From NBA superstar LeBron James and the guy behind the machinery that helped dig up the Chilean miners to Justin Timberlake and (of course!) Kim Kardashian, “People of the Year” captured a handful of folks who made an impact on the country — and the rest of the world — this year.
But after sitting through the first of many lists that will no doubt come across as the year comes to a close, the choices are already unsatisfying. We couldn’t help but notice that no rappers were selected to receive the “People of the Year” honors. Despite the huge impact that some of them have had this year, Lauer didn’t select a single MC to hold down a slot on the list. And it’s fair to say that he made a mistake. To help prove that at least one rapper could have been recognized by the “People of the Year” list, we generated our own list of 10 potential nominees. Maybe next year, NBC?
The Rapper: Eminem
His 2010 Accomplishments: Released his sixth major label album, Recovery, thanks to the chart-topping single, “Love The Way You Lie,” and performed at the Home And Home concert series with Jay-Z
Why He Should Have Made the List: Em’s sixth album was more than just another release from the rapper. It was also a sign that he’d finally defeated the demons (see: drugs) that haunted him for much of the last decade. A profile on how the biggest name in rap went from a controversial MC to a role model this year was definitely in order.
The Rapper: Jay-Z
His 2010 Accomplishments: Landed on the top of the Forbes’ Hip-Hop Cash Kings list and released his first book, “Decoded”
Why He Should Have Made the List: Why shouldn’t he have made the list? It would have timed up perfectly with the release of his book and it could have given America a chance to witness Hov’s rags-to-riches story. Sure, we know about it and have heard it recanted a million times by now. But, has grandma?
The Rapper: Swizz Beatz
His 2010 Accomplishments: Produced several of the biggest songs of the year (including Drake’s “Fancy”), became a “Producer in Residence” at New York University, designed an Aston Martin and revealed a new sneaker line with Reebok
Why He Should Have Made the List: Swizzy turned himself into a jack-of-all-trades this year, by producing records and creating partnerships with big businesses that gave him an opportunity to step out of the box he’s been in for the last 10 years or so. Oh, and he also married one of the biggest R&B stars on the planet shortly after divorcing his ex-wife. Would’ve made for some pretty controversial interview moments, eh?
The Rapper: Drake
His 2010 Accomplishments: Released his debut album, Thank Me Later, stole your girlfriend’s heart and lived up to the hype as the most anticipated rap rookie since 50 Cent
Why He Should Have Made the List: On “Unforgettable,” Drizzy rapped, “I’m looking forward to the memories of right now.” Translation: This guy has some stories to tell. Those stories — as well as the story of his sudden rise to fame — would have made for great TV. We’re also betting NBC would’ve seen a nice spike in female viewership during his segment. Just sayin’!
The Rapper: Nicki Minaj
Her 2010 Accomplishments: Appeared on more than a dozen rap and R&B songs as a guest and released her debut album, Pink Friday
Why She Should Have Made the List: Like it or not, Nicki is the most polarizing figure in hip-hop at this current moment. Like People of the Year nominee Kim Kardashian, she’s got a rabid fan base that watches her every move—and she’s also got a large group of people that can’t stand what she’s doing right now. That volatile combination would’ve made for one hell of an interview.
The Rapper: Diddy
His 2010 Accomplishments: Continued being Diddy and building his Bad Boy empire
Why He Should Have Made the List: For our money, Diddy could make this list every year. Even if he spent the last year sitting around, eating grilled cheese sandwiches and living off the interest of the millions he’s got stashed away in the bank, we’re pretty sure he’d make that sound like one hell of a good time.
The Rapper: Ludacris
His 2010 Accomplishments: Released his seventh studio album, Battle of the Sexes, and continued to build his brand by endorsing everything from Conjure Cognac to Soul headphones
Why He Should Have Made the List: Luda isn’t a businessman, he’s a … Oh, you know the rest. But, seriously: Luda’s not finished rapping (his next album, Ludaversal, is due out next year) but he’s starting to gain income from all different sources thanks to the business savvy he’s shown over the last couple of years. Not a bad blueprint for NBC to share with the world.
The Rapper: Soulja Boy Tell ’Em
His 2010 Accomplishments: Released his third album, The DeAndre Way, and hit the top of the charts with “Pretty Boy Swag”
Why He Should Have Made the List: At this point, Soulja’s got almost 2.5 million Twitter followers! Not bad for a guy who was labeled a “one hit wonder” back in 2007. Hearing him address the cocaine rumors and hearing Matt Lauer explain who Kat Stacks would have made it worth NBC’s while to include SB on the list as well.
The Rapper: B.o.B
His 2010 Accomplishments: Released his debut album, B.o.B Presents: The Adventures of Bobby Ray, and topped the pop charts with his smash single, “Airplanes”
Why He Should Have Made the List: Admittedly, Bobby Ray might have to put in a little more work in order to reach “People of the Year” status. But with everyone from T.I. to Eminem singing his praises, we wouldn’t have been mad at seeing B.o.B get at least a mention.
The Rapper: Kanye West
His 2010 Accomplishments: Released his fifth album, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, apologized to Taylor Swift and George W. Bush and called Matt Lauer out publicly after an interview on the “Today Show” in early November
Why He Should Have Made the List: To send Twitter into an absolute frenzy. Thanks to the public rift between ’Ye and Lauer as well as all the attention the interview would have received, we can only imagine the kinds of things Kanye would’ve said during this sit-down. Can we please pencil this one in for the 2011 show, guys?
Are you surprised when rappers get left off of year-end lists like the one NBC put together? Do you think they deserve to be on them? Tweet us at @MTVRapFix or tell us in a comment below!