Top 10 Breakout Artists of 2010

Written by Tycho. Posted in Lists, Music

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Published on September 27, 2010 with 73 Comments

There’s been a rash of rising hip-hop artists on the verge of stardom this year. Despite the bevy of so-called future stars, only a handful of them will still be around to hold interest next year. Here’s a countdown of 10 hip-hop artists that made a big splash in 2010.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SiiqqBw47HU

10. OFWGKTA
Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All is a rap collective out of California that has caught fire in the past few months. Led by the raspy voice of Tyler The Creator, the group consists of teenage skaters who kill things and happen to rap very well. Their vile rhymes about drugs, rape, and swastikas scare off plenty of people, but they have still managed to turn heads in high places around the industry. They were even featured in the Washington Post as a possible replacement for T.I. at the Virgin Mobile FreeFest. The depth of their roster is amazing, from the weed raps of Domo Genesis to the lyrical genius of Earl Sweatshirt, and without a weak link in between. With so much talent, and at such a young age, their potential is virtually limitless.

9. Nipsey Hussle
Nipsey Hussle looks like Snoop, sounds like Snoop, and uses every bit of it to his advantage. He was featured on Snoop’s latest album, and even found a way onto the ‘We Are The World’ remix for Haiti. Seriously though, I still have no idea how that happened. Regardless, with his first studio album on the way, Nipsey looks to step forward as the new face of the West.

8. Pill
This one was between Pill and Freddie Gibbs, two emcees with similar styles. Pill seems to be resurrected from Gangsta Gibbs is probably a better technical rapper, but he has a style that will make it hard for a major to sign him. And that is not a bad thing, but in this case Pill just has more mass appeal, especial when he’s carrying a deal with Asylum Records & Warner Bros in hand.

7. Jay Electronica
Jay Electronica is the only person who made this list pretty much based on a single song. His collaboration with Just Blaze, Exhibit C(lassic), has transformed him from a relatively unknown underground artist into somewhat of a mainstream name. He dazzled listeners with his combination of lyrical wonderment, profound thoughts, and rumbling flow, and left everyone wanting more. His tribute to Biggie ‘The Ghost of Christopher Wallace’, along with a few recherché guest appearances, have been mere teasers, building up even more anticipation for his album, Act II: Patents Of Nobility (The Turn). There have been rumors of it dropping before the end of the year, but don’t be surprised if the mysterious emcee has a few ‘unexpected’ delays.

6. Yelawolf
There have been many comparisons of Yelawolf to Eminem, but any ‘writer’ who does so is lazy, probably racist, and should drop the pen immediately. Yelawolf is one of the most unique artists of this new generation, and his style is practically incomparable. Trunk Muzik has been one of the most popular mixtures of the year, but even it doesn’t fully expose all of his various talents. Rapid-fire raps, spoken word, and the ability to switch between flows in an instant, are just some of the tools on his belt. The only challenge that remains in his way is properly showcasing these skills on his album this fall.

5. Waka Flocka Flame
While J.Cole is one of the top new lyricists, Waka Flocka Flame is at the other end of the spectrum. He has more gunshots, yelling and… noises… than rhymes, but don’t mistake his lack of lyrics for a lack of intelligence. He openly admits in the face of all his critics that he is ‘not a rapper’, and he uses it to his full advantage. Flocka has yet to put out an album, but he has still built a strong following off of mixtapes and shows alone. His debut single ‘O Let’s Do It’ was remixed by countless artists, and a few of his other songs including ‘Hard In The Paint’ and ‘No Hands’ have turned out to be club bangers. Whether you like him or not, Waka Flocka Flame has been one of the most successful artists this year.

4. J.Cole
J.Cole’s mixtape ‘The Warm Up’ was among the top of 2009, but it was his feature on ‘The Blueprint 3’ that thrust him into the national spotlight. After Renegading Hov, he proceeded to do the same to B.o.B, Wale, and Talib Kweli on each of their own songs. He has tried to stay away from conflict, quickly refuting rumors of a rivalry with Drake, but hasn’t been able to keep everyone happy: Officials of his hometown high school denounced his video ‘Who Dat’ and called for it’s removal. Still, J.Cole is one of the smartest and most lyrical rappers in the mainstream today, and he is just getting started.

3. Nicki Minaj
With the most exciting flow since Marshall Mathers first emerged on the rap scene, Nicki Minaj is filling voids in hip hop that have existed for years. We have been without a female emcee that could compete with the male superstars ever since Foxy & Kim left, but Nicki has proven she is a force to be reckoned with. In fact, on Kanye’s recent remix of his song ‘Monster’, she eclipsed not only Yeezy, but also Rick Ross and Jay-Z, three of the biggest names in hip hop today. Like Kanye said, she could very well be the most dangerous emcee, especially in such a huge, untapped market.

2. Lil B
While he only saw mild success as a member of the group The Pack, on his own Lil B has grown into a star with his own cult-like following. He is an outlandish & eccentric character, often referring to himself as a ‘faggot’ and a ‘pretty bitch’. While other rappers are claiming to be drug lords and serial killers, he prefers to compare himself to people such as Oprah Winfrey, Mel Gibson, and of course Jesus Christ. In reality, he is more of a modern day P. Diddy, with many more memorable ad-libs than actual rhymes. Regardless, he is the prime example of how the music business is changing in the new Digital Age, especially through social media. Each song on his Myspace page has hundreds of thousands of plays, and his numerous YouTube videos have gotten over 7 MILLION views. At the age of 19, he has already written a book and been featured in The New York Times. With a little help from Soulja Boy, his Based movement has spread around the world, and has people cooking in pursuit of becoming Master Chefs.

1. Wiz Khalifa
Propelled into 2010 by strong sales of his album “Deal or No Deal”, Wiz definitely hit the ground running and has yet to slow down. This year alone he has performed at the SXSW Music Festival, appeared on the cover of XXL, and been offered a spot on tour with the pop-star Drake (which he turned down). His mixtape “Kush and Orange Juice” was the #1 trending phrase on both Twitter & Google, which was likely a contributing factor in him landing a major deal with Atlantic Records. Through his music, especially his work with Curren$y, Wiz has been able to successfully establish his image and build one of the most dedicated fanbases in hip-hop.

Honorable Mention: Big K.R.I.T, Cyhi Da Prince, Donnis, Freddie Gibbs, Vado, Fat Trel

TRU

73 Comments

There are currently 73 Comments on Top 10 Breakout Artists of 2010. Perhaps you would like to add one of your own?

  1. freddie gibbs should be in the top 5

    • Water Tower Gang – Come Find Me (youtube)
      I Produced the track! Comment, Support and Spread the Word

      Im from Gary like my nigga Gibbs

    • Water Tower Gang – Come Find Me (youtube)
      I Produced the track! Comment, Support and Spread the Word

      Im from Gary like my nigga Gibbs

    • Water Tower Gang – Come Find Me (youtube)
      I Produced the track! Comment, Support and Spread the Word

      Im from Gary like my nigga Gibbs

      • Nice work.

  2. Yelawolf should be #1 and niki minaj is probably 2

    • you obviously dont kno who wiz is. download his shit, enlighten yourself. he is the real deal.

  3. Nice list, I still spin Gangsta Gibbs the most out of all these dudes though.

    • Definitely got respect for the Gangsta, he just didn’t fit in my top 10.

  4. Good choice on Nicki making the top 3. Love her voice.

  5. I’m very pleased to see Wiz Khalifa at the top of this list! With a recent cosign from Snoop, Wiz is on his way to superstardom!

  6. BasedGod = #1. OFWGKTA = #2.

    • Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All Don’t Give A Fuck

  7. Lil B Over J.Cole & Nicki Minaj.. hmm, nah

  8. Jay Electronica and J. Cole should be the first 2…. even though Jay Elect. has been out for a minute and a half not jus 2010…. and nicki shouldnt even be on the list…. and where the fuck is fashawn!?!

    • and i just realized wacka flocka was on there….
      he has the worst fuckin music known to man…. yall need to get your music game up

      • It was never said that Waka is even a marginally talented rapper. That being said, you can’t deny that based of a string of hits, he’s having a big year. Talent has nothing to do with popularity (ie. Soulja Boi).

    • nicki is the biggest breakout star on this list she should be #1…whether u like her music or not you lying if you say she aint bigger then all these ppl on this list she defenately broke out the most

      • Def agree Nicki is the only artist on this list with 13 Songs on the Billboard 100, the only person on here who performed at both The BET Awards and The VMAs, and The only artist that has had The #1 Rap song in the country for 9 Consecutive weeks on this list.

      • Def agree Nicki is the only artist on this list with 13 Songs on the Billboard 100, the only person on here who performed at both The BET Awards and The VMAs, and The only artist that has had The #1 Rap song in the country for 9 Consecutive weeks on this list.

      • Def agree Nicki is the only artist on this list with 13 Songs on the Billboard 100, the only person on here who performed at both The BET Awards and The VMAs, and The only artist that has had The #1 Rap song in the country for 9 Consecutive weeks on this list.

    • nicki shouldnt be on the list ?! youre a dumb fuck

      • u shouldnt be on the fukkin list u fukkin fag she is a beast dnt hate cuz u ddnt make 1 million off a mixtape nigga ur probably white white ppl always hate on black ppl so now its our turn u wanna hang us on ropes and murder us well where comin baccccccccc

        • slavery is over with dude, get over it, just cuz he has a different opinion doesnt mean hes racist…….btw i do think nicki should be on this list cuz shes a beast

        • lol ok that was the gayest shit i ever heard u fagit,u blk people cry about everything,u can say all da shyt u want bout white people but if we even say the word blk u niggas cry like bitches “what you mean black omg your racist!!”lol shut the fuck up please if it wasnt for us youd still be in africa getting your hands chopped off we did u a fuckin favor u bitch black people r so fucking stupid all i gotta say before i peace is celtics suck!!! go knicks nate robinson is a midget bitch amare stoudemire i love you we goin all da way this year sonnnn

  9. Chip Tha Ripper

  10. drake’s not a popstar…is he?

  11. hi

  12. kkk

  13. You left off Childish Gambino (a.k.a. Donald Golver)…his new album Culdesac is amazing. His wordplay is right up there with Em and Lil Wayne’s and his musicality tops both of them IMO

  14. how are any of these songs different from one another

    ..

  15. I listened to Wiz for about 2 months… Listened to alllllllll his shit. I’m over it already.

  16. No: Sha Stimuli, Joe Budden, Joell Ortiz, Royce da 5’9, Lloyd Banks means that this article is for lack of better words..

    GARBAGE.

    • Royce has been rapping since at least 97. Slaughterhouse dropped in 09. Beamer Benz Bentley is the only thing Banks has done this year. My Soul to Keep was a good album, but Sha was in the Source back in 02. Hardly qualifies as a ‘Breakout’ artist.

      • lol @ tycho. it’s a little uncomfortable to hear old men cry

      • Even then Nicki and Cole been around since 07 at least. Jay Elect since 04 (Style Wars EP)
        Big K.R.I.T. and Gibbs and Smoke Dza should’ve replaced them.

  17. where is diabolic he would smash all these wannabe’s

  18. What about Pac Div?

  19. nahh fuck this list they 4got big sean!!

  20. nicki wiz j,cole

  21. No Fresh Coast representation?

    This list misses the boat big time.

    • wat u mean? yall have the basedgod the west has been blessed

  22. Illmaculate anybody? Police Brutality was sick, what’s out there from Skrill Talk is as well.

    Dude is about to get noticed.

  23. Freddie Gibbs should have been #1 WTF

  24. this list is horrible. Big Sean isn’t even on here.

    • sorry mike, but ive been listening to Big since 07… i went to his concerts in 08… so not a “breakout” for me. but just my opinion.

  25. SWAG SWAG SWAG getem basedgod

  26. SWAG SWAG SWAG getem basedgod

  27. The basedchild CompellemB in This thang OMG basedworld Is touching Many…. happy Holloween bitch You know That im Coming swag On a Hundred – BASEDGOD

  28. ok lil b lets get it big bruh !! @mingo_baby

  29. really good post!! except for the part were you said most artist compare themselves to serial killers? lol wrong genre buddy, very few black “serial” killers. ive never heard of OFWGKTA? i’ll have to check them out….no argument with placements. funny how none of these guys have dropped an official LP. but they should all be dope. i see u Basegod!! woo

  30. LIL B WOOOT WOOOOT SWAG SWAG

    • lil b suck ass compared to most rappers his style is whack Here are 3 artist who are smqshing him Wale J.cole WIz Kalifa

  31. lil b has been out since like 05 wit the pack but i guess hes solo so i gues he can b on dis and nicki has been out since like 07 but not everyone here is NEW they all been out for at least 2 years

    • wiz been out since ’06

  32. THIS SITE IS A FAKE, rap-up.com is better , they copied the name

    • This site is named after Skillz’s The Rap Up Series. rap-up.com is bleh. I read this just for Rizoh.

  33. and why is wiz on here i could have swore her dropped his debut in 06 nicki should be #1 and j cole #2

    • I agree, Nicki is all over billboard unlike the other new artist. she has hits for days. So obviously weather u like her or not, she is THE breakout artist of the year. Guess they couldn’t give the crown to a female.

      wacka flocka broke out a year ago

      I say Nicki minaj, J cole, j electronica, nipsey hustle. – top 3.

  34. What about Chip Tha Ripper? What about Wax? What about Prince EA?

  35. Nicki should’ve been first but nah how yall gone put her first , shes a FEMALE! -__-

  36. BasedGod! Swack!

  37. nicki deserves number 1, are you kidding me?

  38. Water Tower Gang – Come Find Me (youtube)
    I Produced the track! Comment, Support and Spread the Word

  39. nicki should be #1

  40. WTF Nicki killed everybody this year this is some bullshit

  41. “In fact, on Kanye’s recent remix of his song ‘Monster’, she eclipsed not only Yeezy, but also Rick Ross and Jay-Z…”

    but she didn’t eclipse wiz khalifa or lil b? i call sexism…or just plain old-fashioned hate

  42. Where’s curren$y at?

  43. Taylor Gang should be there

  44. cum on nigga lil b number 2 he shud be #999999999 he suck asssssssss but i guess yall like so him and then yall dont put freddie gibbs on da list yall obviously only look at fan size and deals cuz gibbs is better then most of dese niggas……and chicks haha

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