As the date for the 79th annual Academy Awards approaches, many people wonder who will win and who won’t. Last year’s nominees included: Hustle and Flow’s “It’s Hard out Here for a Pimp”; Kathleen “Bird” York and Michael Becker’s “In the Deep”; and Dolly Parton’s “Traveling Thru.” “Pimp” took the award home and left a whole lot of voters in shock. The unprecedented rap nab theoretically opened a door for other rappers that work on soundtracks for movies, or so that is what everyone thought.
This year’s Oscar nominee list for “Best Original Song” includes songs from the films Dreamgirls, Cars, and An Inconvenient Truth, none of which would fall within the rap genre. As I looked over the nominees I wondered if rap artists were deliberately avoided this year, if it was just backlash from last year. Many movies released last year had rap soundtracks, but then again who deserves to win an Oscar? Personally I would have Jill Scott on my list.
She performed two tracks on the soundtrack for Dave Chappelle’s Block Party, and other than being soulful and just being a good artist she deserves an Oscar just as she would deserve a Grammy. Next on my list would be Dead Prez who performed the song “Hip Hop” also featured on the soundtrack for Dave Chappelle’s Block Party. Dead Prez goes on my list simply because they are exactly what you would find under the Oscar nominees for best song. Next on my list would go Take the Lead’s “I got Rhythm” by Lena Horne with additional vocals performed by Q-Tip, simply because it showed that ballroom dancing music can be remixed and to make people actually want to dance. “Take the Lead” by Bone-Thugs-N-harmony, Wisin & Yandel, Fatman Scoop, and Melissa Jimenez also featured in the movie Take the Lead also goes on my list. Who would have thought that all of those artists would work together and actually make a song? None of them have the typical Oscar criteria, which is why they are on my list. Hopefully future genre-breakers will take more Oscar’s, but until then all we can do is hope. – Hevanya Gardeen (Berkeley Youth Radio Correspondent)