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10 Rappers to Watch in 2012


10 of 10

#1. A$AP Rocky
ASAP Rocky
© RCA/Polo

Twitter: @asvpxrocky

Hometown: Harlem, NY

Claim to Fame:
  • A handful of hot singles (i.e. "Peso" and "Purple Swag")
  • Co-signed by Drake
License to Ill:

Rakim Mayers is a Harlem native who spent a good chunk of his life stuffing his face with Houston rap culture the same way New York's Wu-Tang gorged on Eastern philosophy. Because of Rocky's long-distance affair with southern rap, his music is imbued with a fluid style that always seems to be evolving in your ear. Check 2011's LiveLoveA$AP for proof of Rocky's all-style style. He invokes the spirit of UGK, name checks Harlem, and tips his hat to OutKast on the cover of LiveLoveA$AP. Rocky represents a new rank of rappers with no eyes for regional boundaries. It's not that everything he brings to the table is groundbreaking -- Rocky, like everyone on this list, is also a sybarite who enjoys weed, wine and the company of pretty women. But what he brings is a remarkably fresh style and a crisp flow laved in a pool of lush music. Add that to his $3 million contract with Polo Grounds and his friendship with Clams Casino (aka God's gift to hip-hop), and you're looking at 2012's most exciting rap voice.

Download: LiveLoveA$AP
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