By Chris Yuscavage
It's that time of year again—when you kick back, throw on a football game, stuff your face with turkey, turducken, tofu turkey or whatever else it is you enjoy on the fourth Thursday of November. Give thanks for good health, family and friends and the guy who came up with the idea to mix caffeine and liquor together to create Four Loko (okay, we're just kidding about that last one!).
That's right, it's time for Thanksgiving. And that can only mean one thing: A Thanksgiving-themed RapFix post! Since we debuted this blog only a few months ago, we've had a lot of artists share their time and energy with us. So we decided it'd be nice to show them how much they mean to us by sitting down and coming up with a list of the 10 things that we're grateful at this very moment. You can thank us later.
Drake's Emotional Side
Without them, there would be no So Far Gone mixtape, no Thank Me Later album, no GQ Man of the Year cover, no "Find Your Love," "Over" or "Miss Me" ... no Drake. The guy's built his career off sharing his insecurities on record. Forget what the haters say—keep it up, Drizzy.
Nicki Minaj's "Barbz"
Like Drake, Nicki has her fair share of haters. There are those who don't think she raps well, those who think she's stolen Lil Kim's whole act and those who wish Pink Friday was a little more rap-heavy. But then there are her "Barbz" who make things interesting by worshiping the very ground Nicki walks on. Say what you want about the girl, but these two distinct groups of people make Nicki one of the most polarizing figures the rap world has to offer. And that's not necessarily a bad thing.
You don't realize just how underwhelming Em's 2004 album, Encore, was until you compare it to last year's comeback album, Relapse, and this year's stellar follow-up, Recovery. We're thankful that Shady finally decided to kick all his bad habits to the curb so that he could get back to doing what he does best—rapping his ass off.
50 Cent's Twitter Account
A lot of rappers are on Twitter. Few of them have a feed that make us laugh as often as 50. Though he allowed someone on his staff to handle his Twitter account when he first signed on, he seized control of it earlier this year and sent out some of the most outrageous tweets we've ever read from a celebrity. So if you're not following him yet, what are you waiting for?
Lil Wayne's Freedom
Finally! After eight long months of jailhouse letters, stories about "music contraband," and fellow artists talking about their visits to Riker's Island, Weezy came back home in early November. Now let's just hope he stays there for good.
Kanye West's Unpredictability
Yes, it gets to be a little much sometimes. Yes, we wish Kanye would humble himself at times. Yes, 'Ye makes all rappers look bad when he goes on the "Today" show and asks them to re-arrange their production routine. But, really, would you expect anything less from Mr. West? He's a great artist and he knows it. Therefore, he's going to demand that you treat him the way he thinks he should be treated. G.O.O.D. for him.
...and his G.O.O.D. Friday releases
And while we're on the subject of Kanye, we want to give thanks for all those G.O.O.D. Friday releases, too. He didn't originate the idea (we've gotta give Crooked-I his props for doing that) but he did use the idea to increase the demand for his new album, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, by embracing the Internet and giving away music for free. A rapper embracing the Internet? Hm ... what a G.O.O.D. idea.
Wiz Khalifa's weed guy
Whatever you put in this guy's baggies, keep doing it (just don't let him keep them on his tour bus!). Wiz went from an underground MC from Pittsburgh to one of the most anticipated new commercial acts of the year in a span of just a few months this year thanks to his Kush & Orange Juice mixtape and the faithful following he's developed over the last few years. And all we have to say to that is: Taylor Gang!
Waka Flocka Flame's Haters
Outside of Nicki Minaj, was there a more polarizing rapper in hip-hop this year? Um ... No. Flocka's haters go hard in the paint and, believe it or not, that's actually a good thing. It means people are talking about him, arguing about what he stands for, and pushing hip-hop music forward. Whatever you think about Waka personally, the Atlanta rapper had one hell of a year in 2010. And if you're hoping his reign will end there, well, keep hoping.
From the appearance on Kanye's "So Appalled" posse cut and the Home & Home concert series with Eminem to the Greatest Hits, Vol. 1 album and the "Decoded" book, Hov has proven that he still has the right to wear the crown. And as long as that's the case, hip-hop is in good hands.
What are you thankful for this year when it comes to rap music? Tweet us at @MTVRapFix or tell us in a comment below!
Don't miss the documentary "Nicki Minaj: My Time Now," premiering Sunday, November 28, at 10 p.m. ET/PT on MTV!