By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Alice Laussade
By Scott Reitz
This past year put the spotlight on several Dallas-area hip-hop artists, including Lil Wil (of "My Dougie" fame) and rapper/producer brothers Play-N-Skillz (whose production helped propel Lil Wayne's Grammy-nominated, platinum-selling Tha Carter III).
So we figured Wil and Play were as qualified as any Dallas artist was when it came to spreading the word on their favorite music of 2008.
Not surprisingly, both had a lot of love for their fellow D-Town rappers—including one another's work. But they were most excited about their own recently released and upcoming projects.
(And, OK, some others too.)
So what were their favorites?
"As far as albums: Young Jeezy and T.I.," Lil Wil says. "Jeezy was so on point on everything around the time the album [The Recession] was happening. And everybody had a lot of questions about T.I.'s cases and the situations he was going through. His partner—also his bodyguard—got killed. His girl had died. We had a lot of questions about that, and he answered them."
Tha Carter III and Shawty Lo's Units in the City were also among Wil's favorites. So too was his own Dolla$, Texas.
And as far as individual songs? Well, aside from the OneRepublic and Timbaland's collaborative effort on "Apologize," Wil's favorites were all local—and some were even by artists other than him. Among them: Fat Pimp's and Jodean's "Rack Daddy," Big Tuck's and Fat B's "Not a Stain," Dorrough's "Walk That Walk," Supastaar's "Halle Berry," and Them Gspot Boyz's "Stanky Leg."
As for Play, one guess which album got the most play: "Tha Carter III," he says. "I was really digging Akon's album [Freedom] as well—the creativity and everything. And of course, Kanye West. There weren't too many great albums that came out, but those were two of them. And Coldplay, of course. For me, it takes me away from the hip-hop and R&B that I listen to all the time, so it's a whole different vibe. I love the lyrics."
Other songs he dug: Rihanna's "Disturbia" and "Don't Stop the Music" ("I liked what Rihanna did—the up-tempo European house type of thing") and Katy Perry's "I Kissed a Girl" ("That got all the girls partying in the club, kissing on each other").