2012’s Artists of the Year


3. 2 Chainz

2 Chainz. Hairweavekiller. Tity Boi. Call him what you want but one thing you can definitely call him is HOT. 2 Chainz came out strong this year, reinventing himself and hoping on every imaginable track which catapulted him to sign a deal with Def Jam. He was caught riding around and getting it with T.I., calling all the “Supafreak”s with Jeezy, beeing in the trap with Nicki, swerving with Kanye on “Mercy” and looking for a big booty hoe for his birthday with Kanye. His album Based on a T.R.U Story has already went gold which only affirms why he is a contender for Artist of the Year. From his wild, hysterical dance movies to his swaggy, flamboyant wardrobe to his incredibly charismatic, funny adlibs and verses (chain the color of Akon), 2 Chainz has proved that that he is a star and isn’t going anywhere.

–Nina Long


2. Chief Keef

Who woulda thought this young kid from the Chi would have everybody yapping in 2012? Even your grandma had an opinion on the ever controversial Chief Keef, who blew up this year thanks to party-starting anthems and a whole lotta irreverence. Signing court papers with his stage name? Check. Skipping a video shoot with 50 Cent and Wiz Khalifa? Check. Kicked off Instagram for posting slop top pics? Check. On social media and in the press, Keef took IDGAF to a whole ‘nother level, becoming infamous for his mum demeanor that even prompted some to claim he’s autistic.

And the music? Oh, the music. Keef and his Glory Boyz released a slew of mixtapes that kept the streets satiated in 2012, culminating in a pretty solid album that didn’t do huge numbers but showed a lot of promise nonetheless. “Love Sosa” has already entered the ears of frat boys nationwide, and you can expect “Hate Bein’ Sober” to do the same in 2013. Love him or hate him, you know you’ll be paying attention.

–Nick Harwood


1. Kendrick Lamar

2012 was the coronation of King Kendrick Lamar.

After inking a deal with Aftermath in March of this year, there was fear that Lamar would become another artist in the long list of MCs that went into the Bermuda triangle that was Dr. Dre’s studio, only to never be seen again. Fortunately for the 25-year old Compton rapper, this was not the case.

Fans were almost immediately treated with a laid back, Westcoast single “The Recipe,” in April and the wheels began turning on the K. Dot bus.

After building a loyal fanbase with the critically-acclaimed independent release section.80 in 2011, Lamar hit while the iron was hot and delivered good kid, m.A.A.d city on October 22, 2012. The album is Kendrick’s life story as a kid from Compton, told in 68 minutes.

While good kid, m.A.A.d city didn’t have any noticeable “radio single,” the album debuted at #1 on the charts with over 242,000 copies sold and has since been certified gold. Kendrick’s major label debut has been heralded as a classic by many publications (sorry, Shyne).

Not only did Kendrick Lamar leave his fingerprints all over 2012, he also put Top Dawg Entertainment on the map with releases by Schoolboy Q and Ab-Soul and solidified his brand as a force to be reckoned with. Tack on some guest features for the likes of Rick Ross, Big Sean, Pac Div and Game and you couldn’t miss Kendrick if you tried. Bow down.

–Kevin Ahmadi