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Best Rapper: An unexpected blend of humor and humility 

Grip Grand

Popular hip-hop today can be divided into two general camps: The promotional, who actively promote an image of prosperity, success, and superiority; and the conscious, who prefer to dwell on social and political issues. While they aren't mutually exclusive, most artists you can name aspire to one of the two. But Oakland's Grip Grand falls into a third category: the humble. Perhaps humility doesn't sit well with the hip-hop ethos, or maybe it's just really hard to turn self-disparagement into compelling rhymes, but Grip Grand — signed to San Francisco's Look Records — must be pretty lonely in the humble camp. With a healthy dose of humor — check his 1999 release Welcome to Brokeland, or his 2005 songs "Poppin' Pockets" (My lyrics are the only gold that I got in my mouth) and "Love/Drama" (I'm like every wack rapper you've ever heard, except more wack) — he has managed to find a place for meekness in contemporary rap. If he could only make some money off it.

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