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Woodie.

Whatever possessed mtvU to name their annual music award as such is beyond me. Is it supposed to be a joke aimed at their college audience? Cause I’m pretty sure college kids these days are smart enough to figure that one.

Anyway, mtvU recently released the ballots for the awards show. What’s the big deal there? Unlike the so-ubiquitous-that-the-leader-of-the-free-world-will-chime-in-on-what-happens state of the VMAs, the Woodies are “edgy.” Every category is voted on by fans and there’s a pretty odd mix of musicians up for awards.

Odd it is. Though mtvU and the Woodies seek to capture a stereotypical college-age music fan’s iPod collection, it seems just beyond reach. Or misunderstood. What makes Amanda Blank a “left field” contender when her genre is clearly… oh… what is it?… that music with the beats and rhymes… how is it spelled?… oh yeah, hip-hop? (Note: the “left field” category is created for “genre-busting” musicians. About 4/5 of the nominees have been relegated to their individual genres ages ago.) What’s Animal Collective doing in the performing category and not, say, the “breaking” list? Haven’t people fallen asleep to their live set? If there is a performing category for a college-centered music awards show, where is Girl Talk?

No matter. All confusion is forgiven with the inclusion of one of the individuals up for the performing award: P.O.S.

Right there is one of the odder entries, a real dark horse, a reason to think that maybe, just maybe, somewhere back in the depths of the MTV empire, someone hasn’t forgotten to introduce people to different and newer artists.

Image of P.O.S. by Leor Galil

Image of P.O.S. by Leor Galil

Minneapolis-based rapper P.O.S. has been doing his thing now for a while under the Rhymesayers banner, the same label that brought emo-rap/indie-rap sensations Atmosphere and a host of others from the basements to the pretty high altitudes of Billboard. And P.O.S. is one of the label’s best and brightest. His 2009 album, Never Better, is a force to be reckoned with, an immediately captivating piece of music. And live, P.O.S. has never been better, evacuating the stage for the pits on any and every occasion, spitting rhymes faster than a speeding bullet and extorting a love for music above fame, ego and whatever else drives people away from a pure enjoyment of aural artistry.

P.O.S. has a tough crowd to beat. Green Day, the most recognizable name in the category, probably has the award wrapped up. Then again, tween-favorite 3OH!3 might be able to extend the same Internet muscle that made the ludicrously sexist (though admittedly catchy) single “Don’t Trust Me” a genuine sensation.

Then again, P.O.S. could carry that award away: his fan base is as rabid as any other act on Rhymesayers, and they’re probably elated that the man’s getting proper recognition. While P.O.S. might not care (really, who focuses their lives on winning an award that’s existed for a few years), his nomination certainly is a great win for his fans. Finally, a guy that’s toiled in the underground for years, spent his early Wednesday mornings on Warped Tour performing for uninterested neon-clothed tweens, toured and recorded relentlessly is finally getting his just desserts: Potential new fans.

P.O.S. – “Optimist”:
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