You can’t dispute that 2012 was the year for Chicago Hip Hop. David Newman, the Chicago Hip Hop Insider, has crafted a list based on various criterion. Let’s just say we wish there was a little more diversity. We give the list and his explanation unedited for you to peep. To us, the list leaves a lot to be desired, as almost all the rappers below come from one particular scene, and those that don’t like Rockie Fresh and YP, both inked major label deals, making them no-brainers. Not on the list are any of the emcees we featured at our Digital Freshness Under 21, or members of Treated Crew and L.O.D. But alas, everyone has their opinion. Peep the list and share yours.
One more thing, it’s not clear who participated in this poll, but we were not asked for any input, nor was Andrew Barber or Ty Kidd of Fakeshoredrive. Now, as you were.
“Some might say that this was the year of Chicago hiphop, and i wouldn’t particularly disagree. Chicago has emerged on the national hiphop scene with a strong presence. We’ve seen multiple millionaires produced from Chicago hiphop this year. We have been putting together this list of Chicago rappers all year with the help from our entertainment industry insiders including Chicago music executives, National music executives, nightclub and venue owners, radio personalities, and from private fan polls. According to our Industry panel they made their decisions based on radio play, YouTube views, Lyrical content, originality, publicity, fanbase, networth, buzz, shows, and the impact they made in the city. The fan poll was conducted by over 273,000 people which gave us the top 30 rappers in the city which was then given to our industry panel. This list does not include veteran Chicago rappers and hiphop stars.” – David Newman
20. Fredo Santana- (GBE-Glory Boys Ent.)
A member of Chief Keef’s GBE label Fredo Montana has had his share of success this year with his YouTube views increasing and him doing collabs with everyone from Juelz Santana has placed him om the list. But fans and the panel has suggested that he may have hit his peak this year, but we will have to wait until 2013 to find out.
19. Katie Got Bandz-(Lawless Inc.)
This is one of three female artists that made the list and she stands out and stands up for Chicago’s drill-hop scene. At only 19-years-old, Katie got Bandz has a style that reports whats goes on in the streets, and her single “I Need a Hitta” has over 300,000 views. Katie, who is already famous locally has landed a spot on this list.
18. Chella H
There was a debate if she should be on the list because she’s not necessarily new to music, but her fans came out in full support on the polls so we couldn’t deny her a spot on the list. She has been doing appearances around town and was also featured on MTV Jams this year.
17. CTC Crazy
CTC Crazy is one of only two groups to get on the list because they have been making strategic moves towards the end of the year. CTC Crazy is a group that has recorded songs with Chief Keef and performed at some of Chicagos biggest hiphop clubs.
After rumors spread that Def Jam was interested in him,it seemed that Edai’s rap career was gaining momentum again, but fans were disappointed again. Most fans and our industry insiders were convinced that Edai should take the underground rap route and first connect to the streets, because there’s no doubt he has talent, thats what landed him on the list.
15. King Samson
King Samson made the list because of his fan base and his independent marketing skills. With two of his videos getting over six hundred thousand views and every where you look in the englewood area you may see one of his posters. He wasn’t considered one of the best rappers by our panel but they couldn’t deny that every chicagoan has heard of King Samson.
14. Sasha Go Hard
Sasha Go Hard is another female rapper who made the list for helping bring a spotlight on chicagos female rappers. She has been headlining shows in New York and has been featured on MTV Jams. Sasha has been in the studio working on new music.
13. Lil JoJo
He made the list because the panel agreed that you can’t talk about what happened this year in Chicago hiphip without mentioning the impact rapper Lil JoJo made. With his hit “BDK” which started a 90’s like rap beef. The song probably will go down as one of the best rap beef songs ever, although it may already be according to the fan polls. Many still worder what would have come from Lil Jojo’s rap career, we will never know but he left behind many fans who still think “what if?”.
12. SD- (GBE-Glory Boys Ent.)
Rapper SD is apart of Chief Keefs GBE label and is number twelve on the list. He has been racking up YouTube views for his popular song “We Wassup” and when it came to lyrical content he was a favorite from the GBE camp.
11. L.E.P- (Infared)
The LEP Bogus Boys have been around for quite some time, but the duo has been in heavy demand as of late. LEP (Low End Professionals) consists of Moonie and Count. LEP has a diverse host of collaborations from Gucci Mane and Mobb Deep to Lupe Fiasco.
10. Lil Herb
Lil Herb made the top ten because of his unique delivery and recognizable sound. After surviving him and seven of his friends getting shot a couple of months ago it seems like he has a bone to pick, recording songs with a vengeance but never parting from his own sound. You may have to watch out for the youngster in 2013.
Artist spenzo was a favorite on everyone’s list because of his originality, delivery, and confidence on his tracks. After remaking the song “Go In” he gained massive amounts of fans. Spenzo is a flagship artist of D Gains, and he’s also racking up millions of views on YouTube.
8. Ville- (Im On Ent)
Chicago rapper ville has made the list for being the center piece artist for a multi-million dollar independent label, being a 2013 liquor company endorsor, and he has done hundreds of shows and performances this year.
7. Lil Mouse
The youngest rapper on the list at 13 years old has started alot of controversy with his gangster rap lyrics and hardcore style. The teen emerged on the scene with his song “Get Smoked” which landed him on the cover of the Chicago SunTimes. He has gotten features from Lil Wayne to Lil Durk. He landed on the list for doing something most have never seen before, being a thirteen year old gangster rapper.
6. Rockie Fresh- (MMG)
Another artist that’s part of the new generation of Chicago rappers, Rockie Fresh has been making his mark in the game since his debut mixtape, Rockie’s Modern Life, dropped in 2009. He signed a deal with Rick Ross’ MMG label and has toured with the likes of Wale and Fall Out Boy’s Patrick Stump. With mentions and nods from XXL, The Source, and Complex, Rockie Fresh is definitely a hot commodity.
5. YP- (Universal Republic)
This Eastside Chicago artist has made the city more than proud this year with his freshly inked deal with Universal Records. YP has worked very hard over the past few years to get where he is now. He started rapping in 2007 and has evolved into a very lyrical artist over the years. He has opened for the legendary Raekwon and Q-Tip has also co-signed YP’s talent. His lyrical ability gets him regular radio play on stations in Chicago. His lyrical style and charity work has landed him number five on this list.
4.Lil Reese – (Def Jam)
Newly signed Def Jam artist Lil Reese has been making moves with his vivid music videos and a strong connection on the streets. With singles like “Us” and “Savage” Lil Reese is a little more lyrical when it comes to the drill style of Chicago music. Reese has collaborations with Freddie Gibbs and is also featured on the original version of Chief Keef’s hit single “I Don’t Like.”
3. Lil Durk- (Def Jam)
Chicago rapper Lil Durk emerged on the scene with his YouTube hit “L’s Anthem” which helped land him a lucrative recording contact with Def Jam. Lil Durk gives Chicago hiphop a slightly different sound with catchy melodic hooks. With his last mixtape getting high reviews from our panel has earned him the number 3 spot on the list.
2. King L- ( Sony/Epic)
With an army-like following, King Louie is impossible to avoid in Chicago. He started out with promo stickers scattered all over the city so there is hardly any way that you have not heard about King Louie now known as King L. Louie’s single, “Val Venus,” won’t let up with heavy rotations on the radio. Louie has also signed a deal with Sony/Epic, as well as a management deal with John Monopoly (Kanye West’s former manager), making him number 2 on the list.
1. Chief Keef- (Interscope)
is one of the youngest out of all the upcoming artists. His fame skyrockected through the roof within the past few months. The teenager heads his own record label and crew, GBE (Glory Boys Entertainment), making him the youngest major label owner ever. Keef has co-signs from some of the hottest artists out, including Kanye West who added a G.O.O.D. music remix to Keef’s “I Don’t Like.” The original video for “I Don’t Like” now has over nineteen million views on YouTube.