2010 Sphere of Hip-Hop Awards

It’s back! Our awards show is back from a short hiatus of a few years. We fielded quite a few questions and requests in regards to bring them back on an annual basis. A few kind souls took the lead and helped get the ball rolling once again. We hope to bring you these every year.

A diverse team of individuals (including artists, DJs, fans, media and myself) collected a list of eligible album releases from the 2010 calendar year and selected categories for voting. Next we whittled down the dozens of nominees for each category to a shorter list of finalists. From there each member of the panel cast their votes for the top three in each category. Finally, we tabulated the votes and have selected the winners for the 2010 Sphere of Hip-Hop Awards.

Our goal in assembling our voting panel was to include fans of the different styles of music within the hip-hop genre. Truth be told, we all have rather eccentric musical tastes when it comes to hip-hop and it was fun to see this years awards come together. Personally, I spent several hours pouring over the finalists and carefully considering my choices. The voting for nearly every category was close and several nominees were separated by mere percentage points in the end.

With any awards show there are sure to be differences of opinion. We expect that and want to hear what you think. Sound off in the comments area below and please participate in the Fan’s Choice Vote (see details below).

Thank you to the entire panel and team of individuals that helped the 2010 Sphere of Hip-Hop Awards become a reality.

peace + blessings,
Josh “plastic”

2010 Sphere of Hip-Hop Awards Finalists

Winners will be announced gradually between February 23 and March 1. Stop back for updates.

Person of the Year
Tommy Kyllonen aka Urban D
Pastor of Crossover Community Church Tampa, FL

Album of the Year
Deepspace 5 – The Future Ain’t What It Used To Be
Gallery Drive – Scratching the Surface
Japhia Life – Nazareth
JustMe – Tragedy and Dope
Lecrae – Rehab
Othello and DJ Vajra – The Required Taste
Sareem Poems and Dust – Dirty Words
(Winner) Shad – TSOL
Sho Baraka – Lions and Liars
(Winner) Theory Hazit and Toni Shift – Modern Marvels

Song of the Year
Cookbook and Uno Mas – When You Rock and Roll
Gallery Drive – Psycho
Grits – Different Drum
JustMe – The Prodigal
Propaganda – Beautiful Pain
(Winner) RationaL – Cocaine Cowboy
Rhema Soul – Fly Away
(Winner) Shad – Rose Garden
Sho Baraka – Shut Us Down
Trip Lee – Hero (Invasion)

EP of the Year
2 Two Man Trio – Rocket Surgeons
Elias – Thanks for Waiting
JustMe and Wonder Brown – Quintessential
Manchild – You Don’t Know Jaq
nomiS – Rosario Dawson
The Runaway – Round Two EP
Sev Statik – School Shooting EP
(Winner) Sivion – Butterfly Sessions beats by Dert

Compilation of the Year
Antioch Alumni – Cram Session V: 5 Loaves 2 Fish
Dave Santos – Stages
(Winner) Humble Beast – Humble Beginnings
Lampmode – Grassroots 2
Night Owls 5 – Bird Flu
Peace 586 – aBle

Mixtape of the Year
B3ar Fruit – Fruit Cocktail
Deepspace 5 – Blueprint3 Outtakes, The Deepspace Version Mixtape
Gallery Drive – Supergroup of Tomorrow
Jin – Say Something
(Winner) KJ-52 – Stuck in the 80’s Mashup Mixtape
Playdough – The Bible Bus Mixtape
Ruslan – Right Out Loud Mixtape
Sho Baraka – Barakaology

Emcee of the Year
(Winner) Shad
Sho Baraka
Theory Hazit
Wonder Brown

Group of the Year
116 Clique
Deepspace 5
Gallery Drive
Rhema Soul
(Winner) Scribbling Idiots

Producer of the Year
Peace 586
Sean P
Toni Shift
(Winner) Tony Stone

DJ of the Year
DJ Aslan
DJ Because
DJ Official
(Winner) DJ Promote
DJ Rhino
DJ Wade-O
DJ Will

Album Artwork of the Year
Deepspace 5 – The Future Ain’t What It Used To Be
Sho Baraka – Lions and Liars
(Winner) Sivion – Butterfly Sessions beats by Dert
Wonder Brown – The Gallows

Fan’s Choice Vote: Vote March 1-13

Voting will begin March 1st and end on the 13th. We’ll tabulate all the votes and announce the Fan’s Choice winners on March 21.

Here is your chance to let your voice be heard! Participation is easy. Starting March 1 use the Twitter and Facebook buttons provided for each finalist to cast your vote.

Vote for the Fan’s Choice Awards.


  1. Danny – Thanks for your feedback! We wanted to include that one but weren’t sure we had a comprehensive list of videos to work with. Our goal is to be thorough and we couldn’t be on that category. Next year hopefully!

  2. The album art of the year award is interesting to me, for nothing more than what album art DIDN’T get nominated. That being said, I’m sure that I could probably peg which things will win in almost every category.

  3. CL – This wasn’t easy to whittle down the finalists. In almost every category there were 2-3 deserving candidates that were left off the finalists for each. The diversity of votes amongst those voting was really nice. There weren’t any run away winners.

    I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised with the results. Thanks for your feedback.

  4. Wow!! Album artwork of the year!?!? Dope! What an honor! I want to thankJae Choi for taking my vision for the cover and making it fresher than I thought possible. Thanks to Josh/illect for releasing the record. And thanks to Jon Madison for taking the dang picture against his better judgment. See!! I told you it’d turn out dope!! LOL! Great job capturing my scary “deer in the headlights” look, Jon! Ha ha!! But on the real! Thanks for the award! Very blessed and honored….humbled even! Smooches, – Siv

  5. I’m confused. So there’s gonna be 2 sets of winners? the panel’s choices that will gradually be announced between now than Mar 1st. Then the fans’ winners after the 13th? IMO fan voting shoulda been anonymous in case people feel any kind of pressure if multiple homies/peers/crew-mates are nominated in the same categories. either way..fresh

  6. @Shames – Ideally we’d have been able to do the fan voting ahead of time and then announce them all at once. It’s a bit more of a logistical issue and the fan vote gives all the fans a chance to give their opinion.

    You’re in the same boat as us in having to choose one 🙂 Not easy!

  7. This is cool man! Id love to see maybe some more categories. Maybe most quotable verse, best new artist, Best beat, i don’t know theres probably more good ones. Also it would be cool if Person of the year was titled Hip Hopper of the year or something. So far i could definately agree with the winners! 🙂

  8. Compare the ‘Best Rap Album’ category at this year’s Grammys to the ‘Best Album’ categroy in these awards. Absolutely no contest!

  9. FYI the Gallows art was interestingly accomplished, it is a night exposure photograph that I took at Battery Davis in Fort Funston on the Pacific Coast. I set up a tri pod and left the shutter open for a long time and spelled the words “the Gallows” on the wall with a flashlight, I then breifly shown the light on myself holding up a metal “noose.”. I took a multitude of shots and a couple of trips to get it just right. The back cover photo was shot at the same location in the daytime, & the track list was made on the wall by scraping the moss off with a rock. I get people thinking that some of my work like this is just a “Photoshop trick” or something.
    I think it makes it more interesting knowing a little bit more of the background.

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