By Khalid Salaam

I’ve always made “Best of” lists. For years really but its always been in my mind or I would talk (argue) about why I though so and so had the best album, movie, dunk, etc of the year. This year i’ve decided to share.

Album of the Year—Back To Black, Amy Winehouse. I was unfamiliar with her work prior to this year so when I first heard the album I was sorta annoyed at myself for not staying more in the loop. I realize that a lotta people allow her personal problems to cloud their opinions of her but I just focus on the music. When listened to in its entirely it’s both haunting and exhilarating in how she views her world and explains her part in it. The album is unapologetically rebellious at times but never corny or annoying like most of the so-called “angry” singers. And the writing is superb. Without music the songs still resonate. —rounding out my top 5 are Graduation, Finding Forever, Desire (Pharoahe Monch) and As I Am

Game of the Year- Tie
It’s between that double OT game in March when the Suns and Mavs were going all out or either Warriors vs Mavs in Game 4 of the 1st rd playoff series. Pretty much as good as it gets

Song of the Year —Tie
Its always tough picking songs but Winehouse doubles up here with “Tears Dry On Their Own” and Rich Boy’s “Get This Paper” stayed in heavy, heavy rotation.

Tears Dry On Their Own—
All I can ever be to you,
Is a darkness that we knew,
And this regret I had to get accustomed to,
Once it was so right,
When we were at our high,
Waiting for you in the hotel at night,
I knew I hadn’t met my match,
But every moment we could snatch,
I don’t know why I got so attached,
It’s my responsibility,
And you don’t owe nothing to me,
But to walk away I have no capacity

Get This Paper—
They shippin’ them boys off, they fighting’ in Iraq
It’s soldiers in that war that ain’t never gon’ make it back
N—–this the battlefield, fake n—-scream keep it real
Yeah yeah, rob, steal, anything to pay them bills
Hey times harder, so we grind harder
We takin’ chances wit’ that coke comin’ ‘cross that water
Tryin’ to make it out this ghetto life ain’t gotta be this way
Them pigs they came and kicked my mama door in yesterday
I prayed a thousand nights, I did a hundred crimes
And now I’m beggin’ Lord that you don’t let me down this time
Money my motivator, my mouth my money maker
No I don’t see them haters, so let’s go get this paper

The context of the song isn’t about drug selling so please don’t judge it like it is. Its about survival and people out there who know what its like to pull yourself up and better yourself surely feel this joint. Plus this song has the best ad-libs I’ve ever heard. No joke.

Performance of the Year—Bron, game 5, East Conference Finals. Enough said

TV Show (Comedy). 30 Rock. Actually brilliant

Play of the Year—The Tyrus Thomas play against the Hornets in the spring where be blocks the shot on one end and then dunks on the other. Dope.

TV Show (Drama)—Lost (hope the writers strike doesn’t mess up this season, although as a fellow writer i can’t be mad. Get that money…)

Sneaker of the Year—Jordan Spi’zike. Best of both worlds manifested.

Movie—Bourne Ultimatum. Intelligence, plausibility and action. What else is there?

Coach of the Year—Billy Donovan, University of Florida

Book of the Year—Kareem Abdul Jabbar. “On The Shoulders Of Giants: My Journey Through the Harlem Renaissance.
If you’re into American history, this is a must have.

President Bush F-up— On October 17 Bush spoke to a news conference “We’ve got a leader in Iran who has announced that he wants to destroy Israel.
So I’ve told people that, if you’re interested in avoiding World War 111, it seems like you ought to be interested in preventing them from having the knowledge necessary to make a nuclear weapon.”

I don’t blame Bush. I blame the people who voted for him and who still support him. What the hell is wrong with you?

Music verse of the year—Andre 300, “International Players Anthem”. I’ve said it before but it bears repeating. If Dre 3G isn’t in your top ten for all time and for today, your top ten doesn’t matter on any level.

Politician of the Year—Barack Obama. No not because of the reason you think it is (damn you got issues) its because he’s been able to sustain momentum and even increase it. He’s been masterful in the way he’s running this campaign (watch Huckabee in ’08. Here we go again…)

Sexiest woman—Kerry Washington in “ I Think I Love My Wife”
Not much of a movie but wow Kerry. Wow.

News headline of the Year—–Lisa Nowak. The astronaut who got caught up in the love triangle who was so motivated that she wore a diaper to cut down on travel time. Remember her? She is no joke. The guy must be a pimp though…

Funniest moment—Curb your Enthusiasm. The whole Leon and Larry “Get in that ass” moment.
I’m laughing just thinking about it.

Best Documentary–The War. This is Ken Burns at his absolute best. Probably the best addition to pop culture we had this year. But its not for the weak of heart. Graphic, scary and serious.