Best Hip-Hop Radio Station - 2009
KNRJ ("The Beat of AZ")
T.I.'s hit single "Dead and Gone" (featuring Justin "Trousersnake" Timberlake) is an exceptional hip-hop track, one of the best off the Paper Trail disc from last year. But after hearing it five times in the span of two hours, even the pair's prodigious rapping and rhyming talents tend to sound a little weak. Same goes for the Black Eyed Peas' "Boom Boom Pow," Pitbull's "I Know You Want Me," or the Keri Hilson/Lil Wayne track "Turnin' Me On" (more like you're turning us off, Weezy). In fact, the relentless rotation of the same ol', same ol' played ad nauseam by the hip-hop radio powerhouses in this burg has got us tuning instead to 92.7, 99.3, or 101.1 FM on our radio dial to listen to the dope mix of old-school shizzle provided by KNRJ (a.k.a. "The Beat of AZ"). Until last fall, the station broadcasted high-energy EDM, but it's currently all about busting out anthems from 30 years of hip-hop that never get airplay: names like Biggie Smalls, Biz Markie, and even Grandmaster Flash. In one hour alone, we heard "Dre Day," Ice Cube's "Check Yo Self," and the Afrika Bambaataa classic "Planet Rock." It's almost enough to make us want to bust out the parachute pants and start poppin' and lockin' again.