Last week, I gave my predications for this year’s Bay Area Freshman 10. This week, we move up to my predictions on the national scene. As with last week, these are definitely not my 10 favorite up and coming rappers, but they are who I think best fit the criteria to make the XXL cover. Also, the videos included at the end are my guess at their most popular/well known tracks, not necessarily their most impressive, representative, or my personal favorites. As always, I strongly urge you the reader to prove me wrong, and let me know who you’re predictions are in the C section.
Kendrick Lamar: As my writing over the past year has shown, without question Kendrick Lamar is my favorite artist out of my predictions. Kendrick’s ability to constantly switch up his flow, and have some the best cadences in hip-hop, matched with his dedication and prowess in delivering meaningful and relatable lyrics, puts him in an elite category. While many thought (O)verly (D)edicated was one of the best projects released all year (it even got chopped and screwed by the Swisha House guys) probably the biggest acknowledgment of his talents came from Dr. Dre. Without any reaching out from Kendrick’s camp, The Good Dr. on his own found The Good Kid from Compton, and has invited him to be a part of the fabled Detox. Who knows if the Aftermath connection will actually lead to something, because they’ve been known to let everyone from legends to immensely talented up and comers wait in vain, but it’s one of many signs that there is practically no denying the quality of music made by Kendrick.
Most Known Song: Ignorance Is Bliss produced by Willie B
Big K.R.I.T.: If there was an underground project that got more praise in 2010 than Kendrick’s release, it has to be Big K.R.I.T.’s K.R.I.T. Wuz Here. Coming out of nowhere, both figuratively and literally, this Mississippi native not only lyrically found the perfect mix of the pimped out braggadocios southern style with searing insight about the downfall of the African American communities in the U.S.’s lower region, but he did an incredible job self producing the entire album as well. So much so that his ability to flip samples gave 9th Wonder the chills.The successes of K.R.I.T. Wuz Here, got K.R.I.T. immediately signed to Def Jam and becoming a major part of Curren$y’s Smokers Club national tour. Not to mention a chopped and screwed version of the album by DJ Michael “5000” Watts, a spot hosting Johnny Shipes‘ Good Talk Volume 9. mixtape, and videos on MTV jams as well. With all that in mind, and a new and powerful movement towards supporting human music, it’s hard to imagine anything but success for K.R.I.T.
Most Known Song: Children Of The World produced by Big K.R.I.T.
Yelawolf: If anyone on this list is pretty much guaranteed wide spread success, it has to be Yelawolf. The cynics will say it’s because he’s white, but real listeners will know it’s because he’s lyrically crazy. His flow is out of this world, and his ability to balance harrowing descriptions of rural lives of poverty, with club bangers is practically unmatched. The fan support and critical acclaim of his free mixtape Trunk Muzik, gave birth to one of the best 2010’s for any rapper established or not. He got signed to Interscope early in the year, and they revamped Trunk Muzik , added some new songs to it, and released Trunk Muzik 0-60 in stores nationwide. He was a part of 3 videos on youtube that all hit over a million views: one for Trunk Muzik’s lead single “Pop The Trunk”, one for his collaboration with Gucci Mane on the lead single to Trunk Muzik 0-60 “I Just Want To Party” , and one for “You Ain’t No DJ”, which was his guest feature on Big Boi’s solo debut. Then add a spot on 2010’s Rock The Bells Tour, a freestyle spot on the BET Awards, and the coup de grace of signing to Eminem and Shady Records, and it’s clear Yelawolf is going is going to be a huge factor in the years to come.
Most Known Song: Pop The Trunk produced by Will Power
Danny Brown: Detroit is so ridiculously deep in talent, yet beyond Eminem there hasn’t really been anyone able to maintain and sustain a commercially relevant career. Last year XXL put their money on Big Sean as someone who could do damage.This year I think Danny Brown should be that guy. In 2010, for free, he dropped The Hybrid which got ridiculous critical acclaim, the instrumentals to The Hybrid, the leftover tracks from The Hybrid, Detroit State of Mind 4, and on Itunes he released a collaboration album with Tony Yayo entitled Hawaiian Snow. That Yayo album also allowed Brown the opportunity to soak up game from 50 Cent, and rumors have flown around that he is considering signing to be a part of G-Unit. This may come as a surprise to a lot of people, because his music seems to be far from commercially acceptable. Yet at the same time, I haven’t heard a rapper that could make me laugh like Brown since discovering Ghostface’s solo albums, Devin, Mac Dre, or even a young Em. That ability to put smiles on people’s faces goes a long way, and if he can continue to stay witty, regardless of whether he signs a major deal or not, he’s poised to build himself a serious cult following.
Most Known Song: “Greatest Rapper Ever” produced by Quelle