Rapper of the Year Readers’ Choice
Kendrick Lamar was poised to have a memorable 2012. Even without major distribution or a single to increase exposure, his 2011 indie release, Section.80, landed on year-end “Best Of” lists at hip-hop and mainstream outlets alike. It should be no surprise, then, that K. Dot’s 2012 TDE/Aftermath/Interscope-backed major label debut, good kid, m.A.A.d city—an even more meticulous effort—earned similar praise. It wasn’t just because more people heard it (it debuted at No. 1 on Billboard); it was because of what they heard. Add national and international touring from the year’s start to finish, sprinkle in standout guest spots on records from the game’s biggest names—T.I., Meek Mill, Big Sean, and Mac Miller—and 2012 cemented the XXL Freshman as hip-hop’s next great hope.
Nominees: Rick Ross, 2 Chainz, Nas, Kendrick Lamar, Meek Mill