The Up-and-Coming Rapper: Schoolboy Q
His Twitter Handle: @ScHoolBoyQ
Why We Want To Hear More: If we had to pick one artist on this list who is going to be big at this same time next year, we'd have to pick Schoolboy. He just inked a deal with Interscope recently and, in the past, he's explained that rapping is something that he was "born to do." And everything we've heard from him so far, including his independent albums Setbacks and Habits & Contradictions, leads us to believe that he's telling the truth.
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The Up-and-Coming Rapper: Stalley
His Twitter Handle: @Stalley
Why We Want To Hear More: Off the strength of Maybach Music Group. About a year ago, we weren't particularly sure how Meek Mill would fit into MMG. And look at how that turned out. Stalley sounds poised to have that same kind of impact and Rick Ross is clearly positioning him to be mainstream figure. So we're looking forward to hearing the Savage Journey To The American Dream mixtape that Stalley just previewed in New York City earlier this week.
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The Up-and-Coming Rapper: Mr. Mutha****** eXquire
His Twitter Handle: @exqomaniaRules
Why We Want To Hear More: Is this guy the next Notorious B.I.G. as Danny Brown (Spoiler alert: He's another guy you're gonna see on this shortly) suggested recently? Um, no. News flash: No one can rightfully lay claim to the title "the next B.I.G." But, that doesn't mean there isn't something inherently interesting about Mr. Mutha****** eXquire. We put his Lost In Translation mixtape on our list of the best mixtapes of 2011 and we fully expect him to build off of its success in 2012.
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The Up-and-Coming Rapper: Action Bronson
His Twitter Handle: @ActionBronson
Why We Want To Hear More: More, more, more! This guy used to be a gourmet chef in New York City so he should like hearing those words. Especially since we're saying them after hearing all the material he dropped last year. His Dr. Lecter album was a solid debut and his Statik Selktah-assisted Well-Done was, well, well-done. And if you haven't copped it yet, we highly recommend the Action Bronson & Party Supplies mixtape, Blue Chips, that just dropped. We're still digesting it, but so far, it's quite a treat.
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The Up-and-Coming Rapper: MGK
His Twitter Handle: @machinegunkelly
Why We Want To Hear More: We've been messing with MGK's music for awhile now on VIBE.com. Ever since we featured him in our "Pardon The Interruption" section back in January 2011, we knew he'd eventually develop into something. We just didn't know it'd all come together so quickly. He's about to drop his Half Naked & Almost Naked EP. And after that, he's going to embark on a tour that'll see him do 90 shows in 99 days. If nothing else, this kid is putting in work.
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The Up-and-Coming Rapper: Danny Brown
His Twitter Handle: @XDannyXBrownX
Why We Want To Hear More: We heard XXX last year and that alone made us want to hear more. Born in Detroit, Danny has an open and honest approach to rapping that is refreshing. Will his hair and his clothes unfortunately be a little off-putting for some of you out there? Probably. But we couldn't care less what the guy looks like. He can rap his ass off and we can't wait to see what he's got lined up for us next.
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The Up-and-Coming Rapper: Iggy Azalea
Her Twitter Handle: @IGGYAZALEA
Why We Want To Hear More: So, this girl's a little bit controversial, eh? In the last week alone, she's apologized for dropping a racially-insensitive line, talked publicly about her beef with fellow female MC Azealia Banks, and done interviews with her new boss T.I. Now, we want to see if the Australian rapper can use all of that to her advantage when she drops her debut, The New Classic, later this year. Any chance that title actually lives up to its name?
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The Up-and-Coming Rapper: Jon Connor
His Twitter Handle: @JonConnorMusic
Why We Want To Hear More: Nas cosigned the Flint, MI native more than a year ago and he didn't disappoint in 2011. He dropped a slew of new songs and freestyles, filmed a bunch of videos, and even hopped on a record with Busta Rhymes and Nas himself. And, most recently, he hit us with The Blue Album, a collection of freestyles over classic Jay-Z beats. That's more than enough to keep us interested in what he's got next.
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The Up-and-Coming Rapper: Casey Veggies
His Twitter Handle: @CaseyVeggies
Why We Want To Hear More: If Casey is good enough for Odd Future, he's good enough for us! No, but really: Casey—who was originally a member of OF—sort of played the background for the last couple of years and built up his buzz steadily on the West Coast. Just a few days ago, he made his headlining debut at The Roxy Theater in Hollywood. But that buzz is starting to spread to other parts of the country, too. And by the end of the year, we could see it spreading everywhere. Hey, it happened for his homeboy Tyler, right?
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The Up-and-Coming Rapper: Dom Kennedy
His Twitter Handle: @DOPEITSDOM
Why We Want To Hear More: We know, we know. There's nothing particularly "new" about Dom Kennedy. Dude has been around for a minute now and has put out a handful of solid mixtapes that have established him as one of the West Coast's best young MCs. But we're looking forward to (hopefully) seeing him take it to the next level in 2012. He's got the gift of gab on the microphone and he deserves a major label deal. Who's gonna give it to him?