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Next Up: Plies

NO PUSSYFOOTING AROUND There are rappers who choose their words as carefully as they’d choose their last meals. And then there’s Plies. When the Fort Myers, Fla., native has something to say, odds are he’ll tell it to you straight—no chaser. ...

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Next Up: Rich Boy

HELP IS ON THE WAY. For somebody who never aspired to a career as a rap star, 24-year-old Rich Boy has settled into the role quite comfortably. After leaving Tuskegee University’s mechanical engineering program to pursue the beatmaking skills he’d learned ...

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Next Up: Lupe Fiasco

TO THE LEFT, TO THE LEFT It was the leak heard round the hip-hop world. When Lupe Fiasco’s 1st & 15th/Atlantic Records debut, Food & Liquor, hit the Web two and a half months before its intended June 2006 release date, ...

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Next Up: Lil’ Boosie

GOT A TOWEL? Folks love Lil Boosie ’cause he wears his heart on his sleeve. Gloating and emoting over Louisiana bounce beats, the 23-year-old Baton Rougian has earned what is surely many rap fans’ highest compliment: a comparison to 2Pac. “It’s ...

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Next Up: Part 1

WANTED: The T.I. of tomorrow. The Kanye on the cusp. The Weezy-in-waiting. XXL looks into the crystal ball and calls the 10 best bets for future rap superstardom. Label chiefs and A&R execs talk about looking for that elusive element of ...

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