Chalk this up as a homage to every real Hip-Hop fan. The ones who love more than just what's on MTV and go further than their favorite blogs. This is for the fans that are eager for the debates, have an eclectic perspective, the history and the intellectual side of the music they love. Your chance to have your voice heard is now.
2011 marks a strong climb for hip-hop, and in my opinion, a revitalization in the popularity of witty lyricism (I'm not devaluing the necessity of great production, and I think due to the advent of home setups production has increased). It's a great thing; no disrespect to Soulja Boy, Waka Flocka and rappers who are known to have fans that rely on the beat to get them in the mood for the song, it's a cool thing thing to see what's popular in hip-hop becoming a little more intellectual and witty though. The internet particularly has given us access to millions of artists and within that billions of songs and only a strong few now survive with the internet campaign, and blog hype of today. That's why we began the plans for what we call the Famous Faces of 2012.
A few things to clear up though. This is not a reincarnation of the XXL Freshman list; it doesn't list artists based on their accomplishments in the past year (although it praises them for it and often serves as a foreshadow) and it focuses on a lot more than their history and what they have gained. The list is based on opinion yes, but from a more objective standpoint it relies on what upcoming projects they have, who their working with for production, even down to their geographic location and what sub-genre of hip-hop they are producing. It is more than who we think is "hot" or "dope" but rather who we think, based on as close to objective qualities as you can get, will gain the biggest fan base and hype in the coming year.
The exciting part of this list is your participation! Every three days we will release a new artist from #10-#1. On the comments, post who YOU think the artists included in the Famous Faces for 2012 should be, you can also tweet me at @ThomasKWelker or email me at ThomasKWelker@gmail.com to give your input. You're opinion will be taken into consideration and quotes from you guys will also be included in citing reasons for each decision! Now read below to eliminate as many questions as you probably have.
The rules aren't too complicated and it's subjective as far as who has "blown up" yet and cannot be included now, but hopefully hip-hop's true fans can recognize when an indie artist has blown up beyond the scope of this list. The only concrete rule we have is that the artist cannot have a studio album under a major label (although they may be signed to one presently or in the past) and a few artists are lucky enough to have blown-up without it! Prepare for a list built by the people and prophetic for 2012 hip-hop!