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The #AWKWORDapproved Top Rapper Prospects of 2016

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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.

NikkiSiixx: Top 6 Apps for Music Artists

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856c0e00f9d2d6c8f455a3eac65ee3a6This comes to every aspect of your career and where you want to take it. But first things first… make sure your music is ready to go. Mixed & Mastered as always. Then when it comes to creating a digital campaign to promote either your single, mixtape, or even your album. It’s gotta look top notch! I found a few key apps on my iPhone, and there’s a chance a few of things are actually available on Android. I put together a list of my TOP 6 Apps for Artist to make a great first impression via social media.

Screen Shot 2014-09-28 at 8.57.41 PM[1] INSTASIZE : Easiest way to post your entire photo onto any social media outlet. You take the perfect photo on the night when you’re performing in front of a live crowd. Once you get to uploading it to Instagram, you notice half the image is cropped off. You can’t cut off the crowd or yourself to fit them all in. Here comes INSTASIZE to save your day. You simply upload your photo, and it instantly aligns it into the perfect size to fit on Instagram. But better yet you can change the background into any color or a dope design they have listed. And you can even add texts. You can make a collage, add filters and layers to give it an amazing effect. This is a great way to include everyone in the photo, with a nice background, and text like “A Night To Remember”. What a great memory to share with you’re fans. Screen Shot 2014-09-28 at 9.17.07 PM

Screen Shot 2014-09-28 at 8.57.56 PM[2] INSTAQUOTE :  Create captivating text images for your campaign announcing release dates, tour dates, or even a dope song lyric from your current single. They have so many backgrounds, fonts, font colors, and different ways to style the message. I personally love this app, because I’m able to make motivational quotes look stunning, countdowns to events, or any inquires I want my followers to be aware of. Great way to spread the message amongst you’re followers.

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Screen Shot 2014-09-28 at 9.00.44 PM[3] PICPLAYPOST : This has to be the ultimate app for presenting multiple clips together. From images to actual video you can have even music play all at the same time. This is definitely worth the purchase. I’ve been able to present posts, recaps, and anything else you’d like to share. I would recommend this for an artist to use their cover art, video clip of a music video or live performance recap, and a professional photo. I wouldn’t recommend to have audio with a video has its own audio. Best thing about this app you can adjust how long you want the visual to play for and adjust the audio from an added song or for the video’s. If you notice on my Instagram [ @NikkiSiixx ] I have a bunch of these. Get some ideas and create your own unique way to present yourself to the world.

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Screen Shot 2014-09-28 at 9.08.11 PM[4] Ringtone MAKER : Nothings more dope then giving you’re fans free stuff. I think this a great marketing method. Create your own free custom ringtone of your single that you’re pushing. Create an image with INSTAQUOTE stating you must follow my instagram and twitter account and share this image on your Instagram account, gets a free ringtone. Think about it; You just got free promotion with that repost for the free ringtone. Once you have them retweet or repost the image you will need an email address to send them the ringtone. Guess what you just earned a fan and someone who can be added to your email newsletter for future updates.

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Screen Shot 2014-09-28 at 11.20.01 PM[5] REPOST : This is a great way to repost an image instead of screen shooting, then crop, then upload, and re-write a caption or try to remember everything its supposed to say. This eliminates that unnecessary stressful process of reposting. REPOST presents a super easy way to share images or videos from Instagram and still giving credit to the original owner of the image. Great way to repost images from fans. Say: when you meet a fan, they take a photo with you, and this way they are able to prove they were able to meet you and able to keep that memory of you. What a better way to please the fan by reposting it on your Instagram account. I feel this will make them a bigger fan since you acknowledge them enough to share that experience on your own social media account.

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Screen Shot 2014-09-28 at 9.02.09 PM[6] SOUNDCLOUD : This can make it easier to share your music to your social media sites and able to communicate with people who like/love your music. I know so many music lovers who use sound cloud as a source in discovering new music from new artists. Key thing to do with is TAG everything that’s relevant to the track you’re posting. Anyone who searches that keyword will be lead to you. So choose you’re words wisely. Also, this can be a new way you can come across producers, rappers, singers, and of course music lovers.

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I find these apps to be very helpful when it comes for upcoming artists to present themselves through social media properly. This easy to use apps ranging from being absolutely free to costing the most 2.99. If $2.99 is too much to ask for to invest in yourself, than you must be in the wrong industry. When you’re an upcoming artist you have to put your blood, sweat, and tears into you’re work. Investing in yourself will bring you growth. To buying your own studio equipment or pay hourly to rent out a studio space to record your music. Don’t forget to check out these apps via iTunes and Google Play. Hope these apps help you in gaining a better online presence.

As the great Earl Ptrick McNease tweeted: