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The #AWKWORDapproved Top Rapper Prospects of 2016

top prospects 2016 awkword nikkisiixx

I did this last year, and earlier this week I took a shit on rap journalists by critiquing my own picks. Now, here’s to hoping I — and these artists — fare better in 2016! Send your hate to @AWKWORDrap or info@AWKWORDrap.com. – AWK

koncept-j57Koncept & J57
New York City’s answer for Macklemore & Ryan Lewis. With better bars, and bigger balls. These two made my favorite album of 2015 not called Black Liberation Theology.

silent-knightSilent Knight
Busy is his best friend — and it ain’t hard to tell, as he racks up the appearances. Here’s to hoping Silent Knight’s buzz finally catches up to his work ethic, and talent. I had a hard time picking my favorites from him in 2015.

aaron-cohenAaron Cohen
Clearly I’m a fan, since I recruited the fellow bearded Jew for last year’s NYC remix of my hit World View single “Go!”. The XXL Break alum has the hipster niche on lock, with steady love streaming in from the MISHKA, Noisey, Mass Appeal and Complex collectives. But it’s his confidence, his consistency, and his KIDS-era aesthetic that may propel him (and his ICK crew) to new heights in 2016.

russRUSS
Speaking of consistency… From the art he creates for each single he drops to the quality of HIS production on each of his songs to the catchy hooks and undeniably witty lyricism, Russ is one of those artists who seems destined for stardom, if he’s interested. This guy epitomizes prolific. He raps — a lot — about the magazines and the labels, and not giving a fuck. But let’s see what happens. Every record he uploads to Audiomack gets immediate love and stays trending until he unleashes his next one.

hdbeendopeHD Been Dope
This guy’s still a bit of a sleeper. He’s young, unsigned, and another so-called backpacker emcee out of Brooklyn. But he’s caught the attention of The DJ Booth, offering up a freestyle for two of their video series, one solo and one alongside Maffew Ragazino, Kirk Knight, Emilio Rojas and Black Dave; and, dude’s done a million shows already. Not to mention, his contribution to DJ J Hart’s Passport EP was one of my top-three favorites on that top-three album of 2015. I expect great things from this kid, even if he’s not a Bada$$.

afroA-F-R-O
This young man loves and lives Hip Hop. He’s that cat who always had headphones on, kept to himself, and worshiped real emcees. He stayed up late, scribbling in his notebook, hoping to one day present his skills to someone like the great R.A. The Rugged Man. And then, he did. His rap name, a la GURU, stands for All Flows Reach Out. And if you’ve heard one of his freestyles, you know he can rap. Can’t say I love his RECORDS, yet. And he doesn’t exactly have the curb appeal to blow like Timberlake. But with more polishing (perhaps even than RA can provide), A-F-R-O can make a major dent on the indie Hip Hop scene, even as early as 2016.

conway-westsidegunnHus Kingpin, Smoovth, Rozewood and Marvelous Mag; and Conway and Westside Gunn
Sure, it may seem a little odd (if you haven’t been following my monthly playlists for Gonzombies.com) that I, ‘Mr. Protest Music’ himself, would be a proponent of this new wave of street music, but the massive amount of output from this group of affiliated ‘New New Yorkers’ (no Troy Ave) is as Hip Hop as any of the political anthems Jasiri X and I create. The streets birthed Hip Hop, and nobody does the gritty with more gusto. The beat selection, the searing wit, the wordplay, and the wiseguy mannerisms keep me head nodding and feeling untouchable. That’s what rap music can do for you. And nobody right now does it better than these guys. Mark my words: 2016 is the year The Winners and Griselda Records go global. Shoutout my mans, Big Ghost.


dookoomDOOKOOM
You may not have heard of them, but OkayAfrica and Noisey have. David Banner has. I have. And after a May 2015 tour, Europe has. They scared the shit out of the South African establishment with one music video, and it was lovely. Get next, and maybe you’ll catch me working with them before it’s too late to say you were still one of the first.

garycoldmanGary Coldman
I think the first person I saw publicly mention the importance of album art was Nathan Slavik aka Refined Hype of DJ Booth (and I listened). In the case of a new artist, or an artist of whom you haven’t heard, it is definitely true. I caught wind of Gary while curating one of my Gonzombies playlists and, after doing a little research and discovering the consistency in his presentation to the public, decided more time should be lent to giving his music a sincere and thorough listen — and that, up-and-coming artists, is how you end up on a year-end list like this. Off the strength of his ‘catchiest song of the month‘ alone, the cold man may not have made the top 10, but his other two equally icy singles were enough to seal it.

appleby2Appleby
Still rooting for a Coronation, but in 2016 I think Applesgotit.

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Interview: Caddy Pack

nikkisiixx interviews caddy pack

After Caddy Pack’s GOOD mixtape release and her music video entitled KANYE, I decided to get to know Caddy Pack a little bit better. We discuss her collaboration with Waka Flocka Flame, being a female rapper in Germany, her cat obsession, and what’s in store for her in 2016.

caddy-pack-kanyeNIKKISIIXX: What inspired your stage name Caddy Pack?
CADDY PACK: I came up with the name Caddy Pack when I first started rapping at the age of 14. Back then everyone was mentioning Cadillac cars in their songs and I thought Cadillac were so cool! So I changed the spelling a bit and kept Pack because that’s my last name and my stage name was set! Ever since that, I just stuck to it and never changed it.

NIKKISIIXX: What was the experience like working with Waka Flocka Flame on “I BET SHE GO” track?
CADDY PACK: A great experience! I have been able to open up for two of his shows in Germany and he’s such a cool guy. Opportunities like this mean a lot to me, they make me really thankful and motivate me to keep going.

NIKKISIIXX: Who do you think will appreciate your music?
CADDY PACK: I think anyone who likes to have a good time and party will enjoy my music. People that like hearing unusual beats for a change will appreciate because over the time, I’ve noticed my music is everything other than mainstream and kind of drifts off the typical “club bangers” you hear in clubs and the radio. But also especially women or female rappers, because we have a lot in common!

NIKKISIIXX: How’s the music scene out there in Germany?
german-flag-germany-map-germany-flag-animationCADDY PACK: Music with German lyrics has been getting more and more popular the last couple of years. Before that songs in German would barely be played or even made at all and mainly just the focus on music in English. What is very popular here is Pop, EDM and House/ Dance type of music. The most popular rappers played on the German radio are Pitbull, Flo Rida and Macklemore and singers like Adele, Beyonce, Madonna, Rihanna, Katy Perry and Taylor Swift are played a lot! The Music scene in the clubs are totally different than what is played on the radio. Depending on the club and the area music varies! For instance in northern Germany they play a lot of RnB and Old school Hip Hop in the clubs but in southern Germany they play real Rap and Trap music.

Screen Shot 2015-12-30 at 1.41.42 PMNIKKISIIXX: According to your Instagram, you’re a cat lover! Lovely Persian! Why did you choose a cat over a dog?
CADDY PACK: Yes my Persian cat Chocolate! He’s 10 years old and I’ve had him ever since he was a baby kitten! I chose a cat over a dog because I was 16 when I decided to get a pet. My mom wouldn’t allow a dog back then… Now that l’m moved out though, I still wouldn’t be able to have a dog because I wouldn’t have the time to take care of him as I work every day from morning to evenings. It would be sad having a dog that basically stays in the house all day… they need to be taken on walks and have enough time outside, run and all those things. So I simply don’t have the time to keep a dog since it requires much more time than having a cat.

Caddy_Pack_Waka_Flocka_Flame_Mello_Charmillz_Yo-front-largeNIKKISIIXX: After the success of your GOOD Mixtape? What is Caddy Pack currently working on?
CADDY PACK: I’ve recently worked on a song with my old guitar teacher Jan Lindqvist. He was recording an Album and asked me to be on one of his songs. His song is called “Here We Go” and its a typical blues song that I’ve added some rap onto. Sounds pretty cool and I’m always happy to try out new things and not just be glued to one music genre. It´ll be available in January 2016!

NIKKISIIXX: Your three goals for 2016:
CADDY PACK: 1. Release A New Mixtape 2. Perform in California 3. Meet great people/ Have New Opportunities

NIKKISIIXX: What would you say from your experience being a female rapper to help motivate other upcoming female rappers?
CADDY PACK: Never give up or let other people influence you in a bad way. I have had people try to tell me who to work with and what songs to preform or what songs to make. Always stick to what you truly want because that way you’ll be able to give 100% to everything you do! Be confident and authentic! Set a goal and keep it in mind, that always helps motivate! You don’t have to reduce yourself to sex or a sexy image, Missy Elliott is one of my biggest influences and she is really the best example of a hard working female rapper that made it with talent, creativity, and her overall very individual music and videos.

NIKKISIIXX: I’m really into the comic/geek world. Say if you had a super power and became a super hero. What would be your super power and what would be your super hero name? And would you be a Marvel or DC Comics Character?
marvel-logoCADDY PACK: Interesting question I’ve never been asked before! Of course I’d like to have as many powers as possible and its hard to choose! but if I had one super power it would be the ability to control the elements fire, water, air, earth. Something like Storm from X-Men would be cool! So in that case definitely a Marvel character overall I’m more of a Marvel fan! Its hard for me to think of a good name but maybe “Raven Snow” would be cool!

NIKKISIIXX: LAST WORDS
CADDY PACK: I really had fun with this interview and thank you for your time and interest! Thanks so much and have a great start in 2016! Stay tuned for new music and projects by following the links below.

This concludes my interview with Caddy Pack! Don’t hesitate and check out her music, and be in store for new music for the new year. Don’t forget to follow Caddy Pack on all social media outlets.

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