Another year has passed and we can now answer the question that we all wondered about at the beginning of the year, “Who will own this year in music?”. Although many people have started careers and there are some who have been around and maintained their prominence, these following artists grabbed their genres by the music ear and claim their year as theirs.
There is no denying that Rick Ross continues to eclipse his accomplishments from the year before. The 2012 GQ Bawse of the Year, continued to develop his label, Maybach Music Group, by signing Omarion and Rockie Fresh and with releases from the Self Made Vol. 2 album, Meek Mill’s debut album and his own contribution with God Forgives, I Don’t that debuted at number one on the US billboard charts and scored a Grammy nomination for Best Rap Album. The album spawned the chart topping single and street banger Hold Me Back and Ross also appeared on tracks for artists like French Montana, Jennifer Hudson and Usher. In addition to retail releases he also provided Hip-Hop the Rich Forever mixtape at the top of the year and the most recent Black Bar Mitzvah.
With cosigns from the best of the west coast, one of the biggest springboard into common household Hip-Hop names this year may have come from Compton. Kendrick Lamar’s major label debut Good Kid, m.A.A.d. City is on top of the talks for album of the year, while the album’s biggest single Swimming Pools (Drank) landed him in the top 20 top of the Billboard Hot 100. With the recent success of his album and his featured performance on ASAP Rocky’s Fuckin’ Problems, Kendrick is continuing to represent for his Black Hippy family as well as make a name for the Top Dawg Entertainment imprint.
Possibly the hardest working man in R&B music this year is Miguel. On the way to releasing his sophomore album Kaleidoscope Dream,Miguel gave fans tastes of what he was working on through his Art Dealer Chic EP series. Miguel’s lead single Adorn spearheaded this successful year for the artist in which was originally featured on the first volume of his EP series. Adorn shot to the top of the R&B charts and has scored the singer Grammy nods for Song of the Year, Best R&B Song and Best R&B Performance.
Where haven’t you heard or seen 2 Chainz this year? The Atlanta rapper released his debut album Based on a T.R.U. Story this summer, which debuted at number one on the billboard charts as well as earned him a Grammy nomination for Best Rap Album. Along with his work with his solo work, 2 Chainz toured with Nicki Minaj on her Roman ReloadedTour and Drake on his Club Paradise Tour before heading out as the headlining act on his own tour. 2 Chainz may have also been Hip-Hop’s most featured artist this year with appearances on songs with Juicy J, Tyga and more.
The biggest story on the side of Female R&B this year is the emergence of Elle Varner. The singer began the year with the release of her debut mixtape Conversational Lush putting the scene on notice and following up with the relase of her album’s first single I Only Wanna Give It To You featuring J. Cole. She went on to release her album Perfectly Imperfect that contained the massive single Refill which took over the airwaves. Elle Varner most recently won her first Soul Train award, is currently closing out the year on tour with Trey Songz and Miguel, while adding a Grammy nomination to her year.
For a while all of the attention of Odd Future a.k.a OFWGKTA was on the group as a whole and their lead act Tyler the Creator. But there was also a buzz around the group’s singer Frank Ocean. Ocean’s star was ready rising as attention was brought to him from his mixtape Nostalgia, Ultra and his work with Jay-Z and Kanye West on their Watch The Throne album. In 2012, Frank Ocean’s R&B star shined bright through the release of his debut album Channel Orange. The success and love for singles Thinking About You and Pyramids set up as the introduction toward the album, which is the year’s most complete R&B project. Followed the release was high profile performances and ultimately six Grammy nominations which are tied for the most by any artist this year.
These artists have made their mark on the past year and with them still doing work now, it can be certain that they will have a name in 2013 as well.