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Artists To Watch ’11-’12: Part 1

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It’s that time  again – my 3rd annual “Artists To Watch” list. I debated about not doing it this year with the previous (lack of?) success of the first two lists (Artists To Watch ’10-’11Artists To Watch ’09-’10). Like in prior years, an artist can’t be on one of my past lists to qualify this time. I had to split this year into two parts: Part 1 & Part 2.

One quick clarification: this isn’t a “Freshman” list because, honestly, I’m not sure what that means. This list is comprised of new(er) artists that I’ll be keeping my eye on over the next few years… and you should too! I’ve included 1 video, 1 mixtape and 3 of my top tracks for each. In no particular order:

Young L

The most talented artist from The Pack – no, not Lil B. His beats are some of the best out there. Plus dude has the sickest chains –  see video below.

Video

Mixtape

Young L – DOMO-KUN mixtape

Tracks

Young L – Right There mp3

Young L – Watch How I Do mp3

Young L – Pop That Coochi mp3

Bei Maejor

Bei Maejor is already a well-established producer working with artists like Trey Songz, Soulja Boy and Keri Hilson. His solo work is something to check out as well.

Video

Mixtape

Bei Maejor – Upside Down 2 mixtape

Tracks

Bei Maejor – Translation (Alien Music) mp3

Bei Maejor feat. Big Shan – PaperBoy mp3

Bei Maejor – Sing A Lil Song mp3

Mac Miller

Born in Pittsburgh and signed to Rostrum Records, Mac Miller is closely following one of the hottest rappers in the game: Wiz Khalifa. That’s about where their similarities stop though.

Video

Mixtape

Mac Miller – K.I.D.S. mixtape

Tracks

Mac Miller – Donald Trump mp3

Mac Miller – Trippin’ Out mp3

Mac Miller – Nikes On My Feet mp3

Chiddy Bang

Consisting of rapper Chiddy and producer Xaphoon Jones, Chiddy Bang consistently makes some of my favorite music. I could listen to every Chiddy track in my library without skipping. Oh, and Chiddy Bang > Shwayze.

Video

Mixtape

Chiddy Bang – The Swelly Express mixtape

Tracks

Chiddy Bang feat. Train – Baby Roulette mp3

Chiddy Bang – Young Blood (remix) mp3

Chiddy Bang feat. Q-Tip – Here We Go mp3

Shawn Chrystopher

Hailing from Inglewood, Shawn Chrystopher is definitely a Freshman to watch out for – he is repping Honour ROLE Music.

Video

Mixtape

Shawn Chrystopher – You, And Only You mixtape

Tracks

Shawn Chrystopher feat. Foster For the People – All the Other Kids mp3

Shawn Chrystopher feat. GLC – I’m GOOD mp3

Shawn Chrystopher – The Hangover mp3

Tyler the Creator

Recently exploding onto the scene, Tyler already has the music video of the year according to Kanye West –  and we all know how passionate Kanye is about videos.

Video

Mixtape

Tyler the Creator – Bastard mixtape

Tracks

Tyler the Creator – Seven mp3

Tyler the Creator feat. Jasper & Taco – Tina mp3

Tyler the Creator & Hodgy Beats- Sandwitches mp3

continue to Part 2

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Artist Update

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Before we get any closer to 2011, use the random selection below as an update on the 10 artists featured in the 02.04.2010 post Artists To Watch ’10-’11. To qualify, artists couldn’t be on the ‘09-’10 post. In no particular order:

Wiz Khalifa

Wiz Khalifa – Real Estate

Wiz Khalifa – Stoned

Wiz Khalifa – Bad Guy

Big Sean

Big Sean – Poster

Big Sean – Big Nut Bust

Chris Brown feat. Big Sean – Shit God Damn

Mike Posner

Mike Posner – Single & Drunk

Mike Posner feat. Big Sean & Clinton Sparks – Ambiguous

XV feat. Mike Posner – Mirror’s Edge

J. Cole

J. Cole feat. Drake – In The Morning

J. Cole – Blow Up

J. Cole feat. Wale – You Got It

Jay Electronica

Jay Electronica feat. John F Kennedy

Jay Electronica feat. Jay-Z & The Dream – Shiny Suit Theory

Jay Electronica feat. Diddy – The Ghost of Christopher Wallace

Game feat. Swizz Beatz & Jay Electronica – Higher

XV

XV – Gettin’ Bizzy

XV feat. Talib Kweli – Reset Button

XV feat. Chiddy Bang – She Go, I Go

Woody feat. Charles Hamilton & XV – Make Believe

B.o.B

B.o.B – Beast Mode

B.o.B feat. Wiz Khalifa – Fuck The Money

Slim Thug feat. B.o.B – So High

Nicki Minaj

Nicki Minaj – Catch Me

Nicki Minaj – Wave Ya Hand

Nicki Minaj – Blow Ya Mind

Chip The Ripper

Chip Tha Ripper – Ain’t No Love Here

Kid Cudi feat. GLC, Chip Tha Ripper & Nicole Wray – The End

Big Sean feat. Chip Tha Ripper & Curren$y – Five Bucks (5 On It)

Short Dawg

Short Dawg feat. Lil Wayne – Lean

Short Dawg feat. Kid Ink & Mistah FAB – Cuff Yo Chick

Short Dawg – Tell ‘Em Free Tune

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XV’s Album

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XV’s new mixtape, “Vizzy Zone”, finally dropped yesterday… and it was definitely worth the wait. This is as close to a skip free mixtape as they come. But it’s really not a “mixtape” – it’s a legitimate album. Almost every track has original production, and XV holds his own like a veteran. Plus, you have to love the nerdy references to things video games, Star Wars & Lost. Until TKWTGB:

XV – Vizzy Zone (mixtape)

[Featured artists: Mike Posner, Talib Kweli, Mac Miller, Colin Munroe, Killer Mike, Chiddy Bang, Bun B, GLC & Kid Cudi]

XV feat. Talib Kweli – Reset Button

XV feat. Killer Mike & Mac Miller – May The Force Be With You

XV – Gettin’ Bizzy

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The Best Mixtapes of 2009

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1. Drake – So Far Gone

When a comparatively bad retail-version of your CD sells 73,000 copies in the first week, while a very good mixtape-version is available online for free, your album is #1 in my book. Also, props for songs featuring Sweden’s Lykke Li and Peter Bjorn & John. Everyone better already have at least some version of this mixtape in their library, and get ready for ‘Thank Me Later‘ in 2010.

[Featured artists: Lil Wayne, Trey Songz, Bun B, Omarion, Lloyd, Lykke Li, Santogold & Peter Bjorn & John]

2. Wiz Khalifa – Flight School

I still listen to this CD pretty regularly. ‘Flight School’ showcases Wiz better than any of his other CD’s in 2009 by far.

[Featured artists: Kev Da Hustla & John Record]

3. Kid Cudi – Dat Kid From Cleveland

Kid Cudi had a big year, and this is his best mixtape effort for 2009.

[Featured artists: Kanye West, Common, Wale, Chip Tha Ripper, Consequence, Kevin Rudolf, Jackie Chain, 88-Keys & Sharam]

4. Big Sean – UKnowBigSean Vol. 2

I really wish Big Sean would release another mixtape, but this one will have to satisfy until that happens. This tape is solid throughout.

[Featured artists: Mike Posner, Santigold, Jay K, Earlly MacMillion, Dusty McFly, Keely & Pat Piff]

5. Lil Wayne – No Ceilings

Lil Wayne proves he is still ridiculously creative and has unlimited punch lines… gives me flashbacks to his mixtape haydays a few years ago.

[Featured artists: Birdman, Tyga, Jae Millz, Gudda Gudda, Nicki Minaj, Short Dawg, Shanell & Lucci Lou]

6. The Cool Kids – Gone Fishing

The Cool Kids drop another solid mixtape. I wish these guys came out with more music overall, but you can’t knock their consistent quality.

[Featured artists: Ryan Leslie, Shorty K, Jahda & Tennille]

7. Gucci Mane – Gucci Land

Gucci is the most popular rapper right now; I can see ‘The State vs. Radric Davis‘ selling between 250K & 500K this week… it’s a good CD. I had this mixtape, ‘Gucci Land’, on replay more than any of his others in the past year.

[Featured artists: OJ Da Juiceman, The Game, Timbaland, Fabolous, Nicki Minaj, Chip Tha Ripper, Dem Franchise Boyz, Yung L.A., Gorilla Zoe, Shawty Lo, Freeky Zekey & more]

8. B.o.B. – B.o.B. vs. Bobby Ray

B.o.B./Bobby Ray/This guy is definitely one of the most talented of the new artists with his versatility rapping and producing.

[Featured artists: Kanye West, T.I., Charles Hamilton, Asher Roth, OJ Da Juiceman, Bun B, Mickey Factz, Big Kuntry, Mac Boney, Playboy Tre & Killa Mike]

9. Mike Posner – One Foot Out The Door

My only non-rap mixtape for the year, and it is Mike Posner for a reason. The songs featuring Big Sean are the highlights for me.

[Featured artists: Kid Cudi, Big Sean, Saigon, Bun B, Clinton Sparks, Freddie Gibbs, GLC & XV]

10. Wale – Back to the Feature

Another rapper that had a big year; this is Wale’s best overall mixtape effort in 2009.

[Featured artists: Big Sean, Talib Kweli, Mike Posner, Bun B, Joell Ortiz, Lady Gaga, Currensy, Memphis Bleek, Peter Bjorn & John, Young Chris, J Cole, Royce Da 5’9, Joe Budden & more]

11. Tyga – The Free Album

Yeah, I couldn’t narrow my list to 10 selections, and I even had a hard time deciding between this mixtape and Tyga’s more recent, ‘The Potential‘.

[Featured artists: Lil Wayne, Gata & Short Dawg]

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Three for Free

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There have finally been some decent songs coming out recently after a little bit of a drought. Here are 3 quality mixtapes from 3 different artists. Wayne is back in a big way – punchline after punchline! I still think 50 is on his way back up reminiscent of ‘Get Rich or Die Trying’. And Mike Posner brings his own style to the mix… you gotta like Kid Cudi, Big Sean & Saigon on tracks with him too.

lil-wayne-no-ceilings

Lil Wayne – No Ceilings (mixtape)

[Featured Artists: Tyga, Jae Millz, Gudda Gudda, Short Dawg, Shanell & Lucci Lou]

35k51qs

50 Cent – Before I Self Destruct (mixtape)

[Featured Artists: Eminem]

One Foot Out the Door Cover

Mike Posner – One Foot Out The Door (mixtape)

[Featured Artists: Kid Cudi, Big Sean, Saigon, Clinton Sparks, Bun B, GLC, XV & Freddie Gibbs]

**Bonus: Here’s a making of ‘No Ceilings’ video:

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