Best New Artist (Signed) of 2011
With all due respect to ASAP Rocky, the overnight success story that had our readers' rapt attention in 2011 was Maryland-born emcee and fast-riser Wax. Snapped up by Def Jam just nanoseconds after unleashing his Scrublife tape upon the Booth, the current L.A. resident closed the year out with yet another outrageously dope street album, November's Eviction Notice. Remember, you heard him here first.
Those looking for the next generation of R&B females have had trouble seeing any new stars on the horizon, until Elle Varner showed up. From her first feature, the J. Cole assisted Only Wanna Give It To You, Varner has shown that she has both her roots in classic R&B while pushing her sound firmly into the future. At this rate Varner's upcoming album, Perfectly Imperfect, may end up feeling like more of an inauguration that a major label debut.