Sunday, December 29, 2013


After the great response from ranking the city's top artists to watch for this summer, we are back with this year's Breakthrough artists of the year. Rather it was an artist right on the edge coming into this year after a great 2k12 with high expectations, or an artist that shocked us all and made a splash onto the scene with a lot of write ups, catchy singles or creative visuals. These 13 acts below aren't the only ones we could have ranked, but they are the ones that made the cut!
Assata Jones
As Chicago hip hop saw a huge emergence these past 2 years, we wondered if the RnB scene would continue to be overlooked. While we cant really determine the entire genre at this moment, this artist most definitely set herself apart from the rest. Rather male or female, she is in the lead. Bursting onto the scene with her single "I Can Love You Better" which saw radio play as well as the visual directed by DGainz that went viral within days of its release. @AssataJoness
Hard work pays off, just ask this next act. Only taking music serious for one year, Dwolo, has done over 50 shows and opened up for some of Chicago's biggest acts of the last year. With his street buzz rising because of the live events, he would see his viral presence take off a few months after with the release of his biggest record yet "I Hate You" which talks about past relationships with ex girlfriends. With his latest project having major features, production and visuals it shouldn't be long before he is a household name. @dwoloccwp
Chella H
Chella was on fire this year! Arguably the hottest artist to start the year before her counter parts snapped out of it and got to work. Catchy singles, radio play, top notch visuals, clothing line, headlining shows, magazine placements, you name it, she was on top of it this year. With so much done this year, the expectations have been met but now start all over again as the new year is upon us. @ChellaChicago
Cap 1
We spoke on the reinvention of Cap 1 on the summer watch list, and he lived up to it. Officially 2Chainz artist and signed with one of the best management companies in the game, taking off was the only thing left. Dropping a few well reviewed projects,visuals, and songs with major artists saw him surpass other acts. Now, back into the limelight which he isn't a stranger to. Featuring on 2Chainz "Where U Been" was the best look for him as that song was the 2nd single from his sophomore album. @RICHIECAP1
Stunt Taylor
A novelty song is a comical or nonsensical song, performed principally for its comical effect. Stunt Taylor did just that with his smash viral single "FeFe On The Block" which took the bopping dance wave to new levels. Not to be confused with other novelty records, this song has the momentum to help carry him to stardom. @StunTTaylor
The Boy Illinois
We've been following this artist for a few years now, and the foundation he has built with hard work and consistency has paid off this year in many ways. Lupe Fiasco calls him the "Next Chicago Great" which he would know since he invited the young rising emcee on his Tetsuo and Youth Preview Tour this year that helped grow his fan base to new levels. Yet to really break mainstream radio, the underground world ate his project "Jean Baptiste" up this summer and has him geared to make a even bigger impact in 2k14. @TheBoyIllinois
Drill music is still the most popular brand of music coming out of Chicago, just go to youtube. While many are trying to foot the bill as the next big artist of that genre, Rondo without a doubt, took the lead as the next big drill music act. After the death of his music partner and friend "La Capone" Rondo picked up the pace of his work ethic and took off. Lupe even jumped onto his popular viral song "Life Of A Savage" @RondoNumbaNine
Zmoney could have easily been anywhere from where he is to number 1 on this list if some of his peers weren't as seasoned. Nevertheless, he is on their heels. With a viral & street buzz unmatched compared to any other west side artist, Zmoney saw his self rise to fame with a few acclaimed projects and tons of videos shot by the best directors in the city. Among that, this write up could be one of the 100's he's reciveid this year as every major publication has their eyes on his next move or instagram post.@ZmoneyWorld
King L aka King Louie
Epic records knew exactly what they were doing when they signed King Louie this past year. With eyes on him to live up to the deal that was reported to be pretty hefty he kept his buzz up with well reviewed projects, videos, and spitting the "louie lingo" which is his clever delivery. Easily the most featured artist on new songs or from artist looking to get a buzz this year from the city, it wasn't a feature he wasn't on that didn't become popular or catchy to listeners. Not only carrying the torch for himself, Louie proved he could make other artists better by jumping on their records, including Kanye West. @KingL
Lil Bibby
Bursting onto the scene with rap partner Lil Herb, both were featured on the summer watch list, actually number 1. As speculation all year of record deals came & went Bibby and his handlers finally just focused on his debut mixtape "Free Crack" the most anticipated project out of Chicago, depending on who you ask. @LilBibby_
Vic Mensa
Former lead emcee for Kids These Days, when the group went their separate ways it was no question that Vic would rise to the occasion on his own. Rumored to already be in a bidding war with labels the young artist is bound to continue on a upward spiral to success. Both his projects and collab projects with his Save Money Crew have been some of the best work of any act coming out of the windy city, not just this year but the last couple years. Look for big news, more top of the line visuals and headlining wall to wall packed shows this upcoming year as his buzz nationally increases. @VicMensa
Katie Got Bandz
If Chief Keef's "I Dont Like" was Chicago's biggest record last year, Katie's "Pop Out' with King Louie on the assist was hands down the biggest record coming out of Chicago this year. Dont think so... well it landed her a record deal with EOne Music formerly Koch Records, the biggest indie label of the last decade. Is she a part of a trend or is she setting one? That will be the biggest question for this lady hitter coming into 2k14. @KatieGotBandz
Chance The Rapper
Chance had no problem proving us wrong for ranking him number 2 on the summer watch list, And we can admit we got it wrong! Covering the complex magazine, Spin Magazine's rapper of the year, a feature in XXL, as well as headlining his own world tour without a record deal. Chance saw his second mixtape "Acid Rain" place on billboard and it was FREE. The 20 year old is on a roll coming into the new year and has one of the biggest bidding wars between labels we've seen in quite a few years. @chancetherapper

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