2012 was a fairly good year for the UK Rap scene with many of the newer artists eclipsing the older generation in terms of Youtube views and mixtape downloads as well as in social media with the new wave showing a better understanding of how things work as well as showing a lot of business savy as well as some very impressive work rates which have seen them become local and national stars without the aid of television and radio instead relying on the UK Urban websites such as Sbtv, Grm Daily, Link Up Tv, The Grime Report and We Going In UK whom have all been instrumental in helping these artists gain ground in the scene and remain relevant.
Although 2012 unfortunately saw the influence of US mega stars like Rick Ross, Meek Mill and Chief Keef eroding the UK scene and many artists spending the year doing their best impressions of these artists instead of doing their own thing which is something hopefully we will hear and see less of in 2013 that along with twitter beefing and artists begging for link ups based on artists fan base and not due to a respect for their talent.
That said here are the top 10 most talked about, viewed and downloaded rising stars of 2012 and armed with little more some good music, a solid fan base, Youtube and I- tunes accounts these artists have got things popping over the past 12 months with some of them even charting independently.
The phenomenon that is Sneakbo continues to grow and shook up the UK Rap game in 2012 with his hardcore and unapologetic tales of the streets of Brixton along with the occasional exploration into his deepest thoughts coupled with his ability to craft extremely catchy yet credible bangers which appeal to girls and guys alike with Sneakbo's fan base consisting of everyone from students to street guys not forgetting celebrity's like Young Money's Drake and Arsenal Footballer Alex Ox Chamberlin Ox both who mentioned their love for his music in interviews over the past year.
Unlike many of the other artists on this list Sneakbo has embraced other genres of music from very early on in his career and it has worked well with the South Londoner's versatility one of the main things which put him head and shoulders above many of his peers as where they might struggle to make music outside their comfort zone Sneakbo doesn't and is smart enough to understand that Road Music won't chart in the UK with the smartest thing to do being a combination of the chart and street music (worked well for Wiley) with Sneakbo cracking the top 40 with the release of his track Zim Zimma in 2012.
2013 should see more bangers as well as more touring from Sneakbo as he gets the world ready for the release of his forthcoming debut album which will be follow his forthcoming #Certified Ep.
Sneakbo is one step away from the Major leagues and still keeps the streets on lock.
Its as simple as this Fekky has that certain X factor which separates stars from artists and with just two mixtapes and a handful of videos and guest spots has managed to propel himself into the spotlight and the conciousness of UK Rap fans around the country pushing the careers of many artists into the shade last year with the release of his certified UK street anthem Ring, Ring, Ring, Trap which featured heavyweights Blade Brown, Youngs Teflon, Fem Fel and C-Biz with Fekky proving he can more than hold his own and for anyone who thought the South East Londoner relied on high powered features to make a hit, he banged them in the head with the monster Hot Boy which shut up all haters and nay sayers.
Fekkys brand is straight up no nonsense Trap Music with motivational lyricism and some of the most catchy ad libs in the industry with Fekky finding the balance to where his fans can relate to his bars as he doesn't just floss on them he actually shows what it is to pay the cost to be the Boss which is something he made clear with the release of his DJ Whoo Kid hosted Come On Den mixtape.
Fekky made some of the best music of 2012 and is the reason a lot of UK Rap artists are no longer relevant.
West London UK Rap sensation Ratlin kept things consistent last year delivering banger after banger and in the process putting his estate Mozart as well as West London firmly on the UK Rap radar and is definitely their first bonafide UK Rap star earning his respect the old fashioned way by working hard in a game where many use link ups to shamelessly sneak their way into the game on the backs of others.
Summertime in Mexico was one of the most well received mixtapes of last year with every one from industry types (Charlie Sloth and Morgan Keys) to Road guys championing the West Londoner as one of the next ones to achieve greatness with his ability to craft deep insightful tracks as well as club tracks not forgetting his skill with turning social observations from the street corner into music which have seen his name continue to grow with each release unlike many of the artists who emerged around the same time as him only to get lost in the crowd with Ratlin mostly staying clear of US beats eschewing the Lex Luger sound for more Ragga and UK orientated instrumentals as is exemplified on his track Messiah.
Ratlin's latest release Crown me is currently doing the business and expect to see and hear a lot from him in 2013.
Ratlin is West London's first bonafide UK Rap star and the reason people are paying attention to West London artists.
Nines introduced himself to the UK Rap scene with a notorious shopping spree and more good willed gestures for his North West London neighbourhood which instantly marked him out as different as these were things no other artists were doing (although they all claim to) and this is evident in the up roar it caused earlier in 2012, to make it simple Nines had arrived.
Proving to be more than just a showman Nines dropped some very compelling rhymes over various tracks with him managing to balance flossing with real life tales and a little insight into his hopes and aspirations laced with street corner observations which had may a UK Rap fan clamouring for a full length mixtape and Nines responded with the release of his debut mixtape From Church Road To Hollywood which has had the streets buzzing since its release with everyone from D- Boys, to Back packers and the older generation of Rappers rating the project and Nines for his ability to paint vivid pictures through his cool calm delivery and expressive wordplay which has seen many comparing him to the Legendary US Rapper Nas.
2013 should see much more from from Nines who has just got started with a lot of big tracks lined up with some of the biggest artists in the scene.
Nines is an artist who changed the game long before the release of his first mixtape.
Cashtastic's stock continued to rise in 2012 with his release A Lil Bit Of Cash which has done some seriously impressive numbers and seen him rated by DJ's and artists alike not forgetting his ever growing fan base whom have taken to his heartfelt lyricism and real life views on relationships, struggling to achieve and motivational rhymes which he does a lot better than many of his peers.
Cashtastic is one of the most in demand live performers on this list as he has gotten his live shows down to a tee with him able to rock a wide range of diverse crowds whether a peoples army event like Logic's album release party or an under 18's event like Bigga fish showing his versatility as well as the respect his music commands.
Cashtastic's more mature approach to lyricism and ability to convey his life in the streets without glorifying it has seen him recording with the likes of Wiley, English Frank, Krept & Konan, Margs and many more of the scenes biggest artists last year with many more waiting to record with him in 2013 which should see him continue on his way to the top.
Cashtastic has a much better understanding of making music that touches people than most of his peers.
2012 saw a meteoric rise in Squeeks fan base as he really went to work with the CMG representative attacking just about every hot instrumental he could get his hands on as well as delivering some stand out guest verses which had him in demand by many in the game who wanted the North Londoner's inimitable gruff delivery and hardcore lyricism to add some magic to their projects.
Although Squeeks did a lot of collaborations in 2012 the UK Rapper managed to save some of the best verses for himself shutting things down with the release of his mixtape Call Me Squeeko which saw him really refining his delivery and flow to the fullest as well as broadening his subject matter while working with a wide range of instrumentals showcasing his versatility as well as his confidence on tracks with heavyweights which has caught the attention of many of the DJs and his fellow artists including Wretch 32 who wants to work on some music with Squeeks.
2013 should see Squeeks continue to fly the flag for CMG with releases planned as well as more of them stand out guest spots.
Squeeks is the future of North London in the UK Rap game it's as simple as that.
Over the past 18 months South London's Political Peak has continually positioned himself for the big league in UK Rap dropping 4 well received mixtapes back to back with Red Bull Wave 1 & 2 and last years offerings Guns & Roses and Dreams To Reality spawning the street smash's Sex In The Car and Party Wave both of which have seen his popularity with the fans grow (especially among the females) but this hasn't softened the South Londoner who showed he could hold his own on tracks with heavyweights English Frank, DVS, Jaja Soze, Ratlin, Exo, Young Don and many more.
Political Peak continues to grow with each batch of new tracks released showing that he is not only one of the best at crafting straight bangers which rock clubs and parties but also manages to explore his deeper side with him never afraid to explore and discuss what is going on around him and his feelings, this coupled with his ability to drop compelling at motivational rhymes are reasons he should continue to win in 2013.
8.Ard Adz & Sho Shallow
2012 was a good year for South London's Ard Adz & Sho Shallow ending 2011 with the release of their mixtape L.I.F.E which held them down till the release of their mixtape P.A.I.N which was followed up by the site crashing P.U.S.H (Ask Hoodtapes) which was one of the best received UK Rap mixtapes of 2012 with the duo showing they really knew what their fans wanted which was more of their straight from the heart lyricsm as well as real glimpses into their reality laced with their brash playfulness and party hard attitude which has seen their fan base continue to grow at a rapid level.
Ard Adz and Sho Shallow should continue to dominate the internet with their releases in 2013 as with tracks like Someone Like You, Dream chasers, Turning tables, 90's babies, No Heart, Takeover, Beat it Up and Wipe your tears have been viewed millions of times over and all this has been achieved independently having received virtually no radio or television coverage just them and their work rate plus their brand of good music which unlike most of their peers isn't just based on what goes on in the streets.
Ard Adz & Sho Shallow are on their way and have the music, work rate and chemistry as a duo to do it.
East London's Rimz has emerged onto the scene in 2012 and immediately carved himself out a piece of the action without any major co sign or artist affiliation putting himself in the UK Rap scene through nothing but believable trap inspired rhymes as well as some well thought out and motivational lyricism with Rimz encouraging his listeners to want more but not in an unrealistic or crass fashion instead opting for bars which are laced with reality coupled with Rimz distinctive flow and wordplay which mark him out as a definite student of hip hop unlike many of his peers who rely on more basic flows and lyricism.
While Rimz might not have the most extensive catalogue of tracks but has amassed a strong and loyal following with his 2012 mixtape The Upper Clapton Dream showcasing the fact that not only is Rimz here but he's here to make a change which is evident in the amount of requests he has been receiving lately with many a trap artist feeling his pain as well as his realness.
Expect more good music and a few projects from Rimz in 2013.
Rimz is one of the few new artists from East London to make his mark on the UK Rap game in 2012.
U.S.G's youngest in charge Geko really showcased the new generation of UK Rap last year with the 15 year old Rapper showing age is just a number and that he isn't a cute mascot as he locked horn's lyrically with Benny Banks whom had been disrespectful to K Koke with Geko replying within an hour and for anyone thinking that the Manchester bred rhyme slinger was an attention seeking rapper after publicity he dropped the emotional and heartfelt Mothers day track Mommy which to date has amassed over 150,000 views.
Geko dropped very impressive Fire in the Booth and Behind Barz freestyles last year as well as showing he can hold his own on tracks with the big dogs Squingy, Exo and Jaja Soze with DJ's such as Charlie Sloth championing the youngster.
Geko's mixtape Voice Of The Future has been doing the business since it was released last year with his ever growing army of fans who crashed the official U.S.G website with download requests on the date of its release with the project preceding the Rappers forthcoming debut album which will be out in 2013.
Geko is the voice of the new generation and symbolizes change.
Best Of The Rest (Honourable Mentions)
1.Paigey Cakey - Everyones favourite new female UK Rapper, expect to hear a lot from her this year
2. Boss Belly - Although he was forced to take a break in 2012 Belly is back for 2013
3.Mental K - One of the next kings of the trap
4.Big Cro - There should be a lot of good music coming from Big Cro in 2013
5.Ceej - South London's Ceej is gonna be a problem in 2013
6.Mash Moeef - With tracks like Kelly & Ronny Mash Moeef should do well in 2013
7.Kerz - Kerz has been readying himself for a while expect a lot from him in 2013
8.Shower Malik - With a full length project on the way Shower Maliks ready to blow
9.Issac Danquah - Honesty and good music will take Issac Danquah far this year.
10.K.B - Birmingham's K.B is back out for 2013 and has a story to tell.
Which new artists are you expecting to see do well in 2013 and who do you think was the rising star of 2012?