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Rookie of the Year | The Koalition’s 2015 Hip Hop Awards

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Every year a fresh face to the Hip Hop game tends to leave a lasting impression. With increased exposure via the web, it’s even easier to find new talent and give them some shine. The Koalition and Knights of the Turntable pick the most impressive new artists and share their thoughts. Be sure to check the Song of the Year and Collaboration of the Year as well.

CSJR

Klassik

Klassik

For me, there wasn’t much competition when it comes to the new artists I listened to in 2015. Why? Klassik. His jazzy production, singing, and rhyming put him miles ahead of other candidates with his LP Seasons and there was no looking back. You owe it to yourself to give this Milwaukee native a listen. The track below, “Loving This”, would have been my favorite song of the year if Lupe didn’t come through with the brush strokes on “Mural”.

Gary Swaby

Dej Loaf

I’m choosing Dej Loaf because I was addicted to her anthem “Try Me” for quite some time this year. I’m a fan of aggressive content and hearing Dej Loaf’s girlish vocal projection when rhyming about catching bodies had me reminiscing about the 90’s when I first heard Lil Kim. This song made me explore more of her music, and not all of it was aggressive so Dej Loaf has a lot of range in her music and I feel like she could have a bright future if she makes the right song choices.

Richard Bailey Jr

Joey Bada$$

Technically Joey Bada$$ isn’t a rookie, but his first official album titled B4.Da.$$ debuted this year and is without a doubt a fantastic endeavor. East coast hip-hop has been in a bit of a slump over the years due to infrequent releases by some of the bigger named artists and the overall lack of legitimate star power. Joey Bada$$ might not necessarily be the one definitive answer to putting New York back on the map, but his style and approach to the genre will definitely set the stage for changes in the years to come.

Joe Hova

Fetty Wap

Fetty

I hated (still do) “Trap Queen”. It’s hard to deny Fetty Wap at the moment though. He’s killing everything on the radio right now and even got a Drake feature for the radio version of “My Way”. Fetty won’t surprise you with lyrics but his melodies are incredible and you’ll be humming along to songs you didn’t think you knew days after listening. What he’s doing is genius and in the same vein of the popular “singing/non-singing” artists that are filling the airwaves.

Kels

Goldlink

I usually feel some type of way about most of the artists represented on XXL’s freshman list but, Goldlink really surprised me. His album And After That, We Didn’t Talk has quickly become one of my favorite projects of the year. His talent is through the roof and somehow he manages to sing and rap and I don’t feel like he’s lame as hell for it. Really looking forward to what Goldlink has up his sleeve and I will be listening to his debut album for a LONG time.

Dom

Vince Staples

I wish more people knew about this guy! Vince Staples is on my “slept on” playlist on Spotify because he is definitely slept on! I love his flow, lyrics, production, and perspective. I’m excited about the future of his career in the same way that I was excited about Isaiah Rashad last year. Staples is going to do great things for music in the future and is definitely the rookie of the year in my book. If you don’t like Summertime ’06, you probably won’t like any of his music. If you haven’t given him a listen, definitely do it asap!

That wraps up our written categories for The Koalition’s 2015 Hip Hop Awards! Which fresh artist left the largest impression on you? Let us know. Be sure to tune in late tonight for a special edition of Knights of the Turntable, where we rank the Albums/Eps and Mixtapes of the Year. See you then!

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Charles Singletary Managing Editor
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