I love rap far too much to write such a negative article without providing an equally positive counterpart.
Without further ado, these are the top ten artists I could see finding that’s serene balance between quality music and popular appeal.
Celeb Forever is a science experiment gone wrong. The guy is just about every next gen rapper in one. The fact that he has so much rhyming capability can sometimes tip Celeb towards being overly-lyrical.
Celeb Forever also kind of a blank slate so, as of right now, his songs have less of a personal feel. However, consistently over the years Celeb Forever has noticeably improved with every mixtape fine tuning his style. Not to mention, Celeb’s beat selection is heavilyradio friendly.
A year or two more of growth, and I think Celeb Forever could be a main player in the industry.
XV is the sleeper cell on this list meaning, out of nowhere I could see him blow up like crazy. All it will take for XV is one song. Strictly lyrically speaking, he has the best flow for mainstream and purist fans. One of the key problems with XV is the fact the he’s so eclectic. XV makes some pretty nerdy references at times and, as much as I love them all, is off putting to a lot of rap fans.
As of recent, XV has matured a lot. Couple that with the fact that his personal producer, Seven.Days, has come up with some particularly genius beats recently, and as far as I’m concerned, all that needs to happen for XV is to be seen.
Rockie Fresh is the best new rapper out of Chicago period. (Sorry Chief Keef, but you’re absolute garbage.)
Rockie Fresh is only this low because he’s local and relatively unknown despite a successful SXSW performance.
In my humble opinion, Rockie Fresh already has the flow and ear for beats to roll with the top industry rappers. Rockie Fresh’s biggest issue is he’s relatively soft spoken even when performing live. Once Rockie becomes more of a showman, I think the guy will be fine.
Honestly, just listen to his mixtape, Driving 88, you’ll see what I mean.
Theophilus London’s name is a bitch to spell
London’s music is equally complicated to get into at first, an acquired taste if you will.
Theophilus has a very refined style of beats and concepts, which is both his greatest setback, as well as his greatest weapon.
My prediction for Theophilus is a meteoric rise in about three years, if not sooner, as my generation matures and looks for rap music that, while mainstream, has a huskier, refined, and more adult feel to it.
Donnis has a couple classic mixtapes under his belt, but his weakness is that he has a tendency to fall into background when featured on tracks.
Donnis is so radio friendly that he tends to blend in too well with other artists.
Donnis has also been relatively quiet lately which either means one of two things, either he’s lost his luster, or he’s taking his time working hard some important projects.
I’m personally going to give him the benefit of the doubt because he’s too nice to write off.
I could tell you a specific mixtape to bump but anyone you pick will likely make you a fan.
ANYONE FROM MY “WORST NEW RAPPER” LIST WHO DECIDES TO STEP THEIR GAME UP
I’m not the Nostradamus of rap. I just give my opinion as a very active fan.
My “Worst New Rappers” list is only an opinion. All of those artists are equal in talent to the the rappers on this list. Because of that, anyone of those artists could get their act together and blow up right along with these guys.
So I’m leaving the ultimate wild card space up for grabs for whoever on that list steps up and makes some serious industry moves to the top of the charts.
Childish puts his heart into every song and is well aware that when he truly makes it he will be opening a new lanes for artists everywhere, and trust me, he will make it.
However, I put him at number four because the elephant in the room is that he is also Donald Glover, a working actor and comedian, with much exposure and a machine to guide his career.
Because of such his situation, I feel Childish does not honestly have the staying power of the other rappers on this list, and when it comes down to it, I think he’ll bail for a career in Hollywood as most rappers who get the opportunity do.
Anybody who knows me knows I’m “All Money In” for Nipsey Hussle.
I’ll put any amount of money on this guy to be the actual new leader of the West Coast.
Nipsey has the voice, the street influence, and the intelligence to come up with more gems than anyone actually from LA. (For those uninformed rap fans out there, Tupac was from New York.).
The only setback I would give Nipsey is his beat selection, which can get pretty experimental, and is for the most part, hit or miss.
The lyrics are where Nipsey shines. Nipsey has consistently said some of the realest and relatable lyrics I’ve ever heard. If you want to be inspired, just download The Marathon and thank me later.
I’ll give you one guess as to where Kid Ink got his name from.
Kid Ink is made for mainstream rap. So much so that a running gag on his videos on YouTube involves users constantly posting, “How is he not signed yet?”
Kid Ink doesn’t have a weakness. Kid Ink’s flow is top notch pop/hard rap lyrics; they’re borderline universally appealing, and that’s based on personal experience with a varied group of people.
Kid Ink’s beat selection is eclectic as far as samples but has very familiar a hype factor that puts him leagues ahead of the game as he was bumping the whole “Lex Luger” sound pretty much before anyone else was.
Kid Ink’s debut Up & Away just dropped this week, and truthfully, by the end of 2012 I think he’ll be where he deserves to be.
He was already in Playaz Circle and failed you say? He did a song with Lil’ Wayne and still flopped you say? His real rap name is Tity Boi you say?
2 Chainz is the top new artist because he came from below the bottom. A “has been” artist is the worst situation you could be in and he made out of that hole. A rise to fame like his proves 2 Chainz has more heart than most rappers every will.
“Tity Boi” reinvented himself and stepped his bars up and reintroduced himself to rap fans as 2 Chainz. Since then, 2 Chainz released the best mixtape of 2011, has a hotly anticipated album in the works, and a number of hits on Billboard. In a nutshell, I could say he’s going to be the hottest rapper out one day, but truthfully, he already is.
And that was my list for the soon to be top rappers.
Again, this is all my very educated opinion, but when everything is all said and done, don’t say I didn’t call it.