Best New Artist (Unsigned/Independent) of 2012
Rap buzzmakers often feel like the product of a focus group, crafted to appeal to the tastes of the moment or piggyback off nostalgia for a past era. Occasionally, though, a new artist grabs the public's attention simply by being who he or she is, and creates a niche where none had previously existed. Rittz is one of the latter. Unconventional in more than his looks, the Northside ATL native forged his unique combination of brutally honest confessional lyricism and hyperkinetic flows on projects like 2011 mixtape White Jesus and its Booth-hosted 2012 re-release, White Jesus: Revival. Now that he's scored a spot in Tech N9ne's Strange Music stable, he's perfectly positioned to make 2013 his biggest year yet.
New York City's classic sound seemed to be in its dying days, but that was before a teenager from Brooklyn came out of nowhere with the voice of a veteran. It's impossible to ignore Joey BADA$$' talent, and with his Pro Era crew riding with him, hip-hop in 2013 might just end up sounds a lot like 1999. New York stand up, you've got a new generation keeping your city's proud hip-hop tradition alive.