Mobo Moans 2005

September 9th, 2005

Another Mobo Awards ceremony and another year of suspect nominations and awards. The annual proceedings become more like the queen’s speech each year; routine, out of touch, meaningless. Okay, so Sway got nominated, and then went on to win. That’s awesome and healthy for UK hip-hop. But the rest of the night was the typical silliness which observers can comfortably expect each and every year. The host of the show was irritable. The award presenters were of very Z list celebrity status. The live performances weren’t particularly inspiring and a lot of the winners were suspect.

The most questionable aspect of the shenanigans were the nominations, as confused and inconsistent as many of the previous lists during the past decade. As great as his win was, it’s Sway’s category which is particularly strange. Usually soaked to the bone with US names, this year included Blak Twang, Manuva, Sway and Kano, amongst The Game and 50 Cent.

So why the sudden interest in UK hip-hop? It’s not like the past year has been significantly more successful than the previous couple. More likely is that the organisers couldn’t secure the attendance of Fiddy and Kanye early on in their planning, so jumped on UK hip-hop’s sack to fill the void.

What’s rather disappointing is that once this was decided, for whatever reason, they didn’t do their research to the fullest. Where is Skinnyman, who sold solid numbers of his album, toured all over the country for much of the past year, and gained the attention and respect of almost all broadsheet newspapers? How about Kyza, who is just as talented as those nominated, and who has released a series of well received singles. It all feels too much like the panel of ‘experts’ flicked through a magazine or tapped up an internet forum and quickly chose the buzz names of that afternoon.

Thankfully the winners were arrived at through public voting, else we would have had to sit through three hours of video messages of artists that are ‘too busy’ to make it, but in reality realise how disposable the award show is to them. It’s a shame those public voters didn’t consider Roots Manuva touring the world with his impressive ‘Awfully Deep’ album which has done more in the last twelve months than the releases of the other UK acts put together.

It’s nice that Public Enemy got recognised for their body of work, even though the award would have made no less sense being presented in 1995. And it’s nice that the Marley clan were present. It’s a shame the Mobo’s founder had to make her annual sacarine sweet appearance and it’s pitiful that Westwood is now on his knee’s before Sway in one of many roundabout turns which could possibly start now. Let the hijacking begin? Or maybe Black Eyed Peas will be available for 2006.