Best Hip Hop Record (Unsigned/Independent) of 2012

Reader's Pick

Rittz - Walking on Air Artwork

Rittz - Walking on Air

Rittz has built his name on an unstinting commitment to realness, which has occasionally meant filling verses with triple-time descriptions of how hard his life was sucking at a given moment. Supporting the artist through his most intimate struggles has only made it more rewarding for fans to share in his many successes in 2012, and no record was more emblematic of that shift in the weather than Walking on Air. Featured in February as the second song release off White Jesus: Revival, the exuberant, Shane Eli-produced banger set the tone for a year packed with large and small triumphs, culminating in the artist's recent signing to Strange Music. The hook says it all: “I feel like this is gonna be my year.

Staff Pick

Macklemore x Ryan Lewis - Same Love Artwork

Macklemore x Ryan Lewis - Same Love

The Heist succeeded by daring to musically travel where no one had traveled before, and no song exemplified Macklemore and Ryan Lewis' commitment to musical bravery than their musical support for same-sex marriage, Same Love. Topped by a deeply moving chorus from Mary Lambert, Same Love proves that music truly does have the power to change minds, hearts and, yes, even our country's laws.

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