Best Emcee of 2011

Reader's Pick

J. Cole Artwork

J. Cole

Right up until the fourth quarter of 2011, there were those who thought that J. Cole was destined to stumble and fall under the weight of over-the-top hype and high expectations. Guess they underestimated the depth of the Roc Nation rapper-producer's talent—not to mention the loyalty of his fanbase. With the critical and (more surprisingly) commercial coup that was Cole World: The Sideline Story, the Carolina spitter singlehandedly silenced the doubters and cemented his status as the success story of the year. Ladies and gentlemen, J. Cole has arrived.

Runner Up:

Staff Pick

Mac Miller Artwork

Mac Miller

Like it or not, Mac Miller is the blueprint for hip-hop in the digital age. Mac built a movement of supporters from the ground up by truly connecting with fans and making the music he wanted to make, resulting in the astounding success of his recently-released debut album, Blue Slide Park. How astounding? It was the first indie rap album to debut at #1 in nearly 20 years. That's no fluke, that's proof that Miller is changing the landscape of hip-hop. Not too bad for a kid from Pittsburgh, huh?

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