Breakout Artist of the Year Readers’ Choice
Macklemore is an expert independent artist who knows how to play the game. Thanks to a growing, fervent fanbase, rigorous touring, digital smarts and plain old quality music, the Seattle native enjoyed a skyrocket to hip-hop fame and fortune in 2012. The 29-year-old, along with his producer, Ryan Lewis, debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 in October 2012, when their debut studio album, The Heist, moved an impressive 78,000 units in the first week.
The 2012 XXL Freshman capped his groundbreaking year with another milestone, when the single “Thrift Shop,” which has more than 50 million views on YouTube, reached platinum status. During the course of the year, the MC went from relative unknown to being respected within the hip-hop community.
Nominees: French Montana, Macklemore, Kendrick Lamar, Future, Lecrae