2012: BREAKOUT STARS
THE CAST OF LOVE & HIP-HOP: ATLANTA
It seems like the whole world was talking about the wretchedness that is "Steebie J" this year. When Love & Hip-Hop: Atlanta premiered back in June, people could not believe the love triangle that was going on between Stevie J, Joseline and Stevie's girlfriend Mimi. Castmember K. Michelle also finally got her shine as a singer-songwriter -- as well as gained some enemies when she put her alleged abuse from ex-boyfriend MemPhitz on blast for abuse. The other cast members: Scrappy, Erica, Mama Dee, Karly Redd, Benzino, Rasheeda and Kirk Frost also became household names in the hood this year.
Terrence J may have had the best year ever! The former 106 & Park co-host starred in his first major film Think Like A Man -- and did pretty good in it. He also got a brand new gig -- after leaving 106 & Park in October he became co-host for E! News with Guiliana Rancic.
2 Chainz finally got his just due this year. After a crazy bidding war, the rap star signed to Def Jam back in December. He delivered verses for all of your favorite rappers this year, toured with Nicki Minaj and finally released his debut album Based on A T.R.U. Story. He even had time to get involved in a little drama: he was arrested back in June for carrying a four finger ring -- which was mistaken for brass knuckles at Laguardia Airport.
Back in January, French Montana signed a joint deal between Bad Boy and Rick Ross' Maybach Music Group. He later released his stripper anthem "Pop That" which became one of the biggest rap songs of the summer. French was also featured on XXL's Freshman Class of 2012 and released his mixtape Mac N Cheese 3. French's debut album Excuse My French will be released next year.
After the success of his 2011 mixtape Section.80, Kendrick Lamar finally released his major label debut album good kid, m.A.A.d city in October and it came in at no.2, selling 242,000 copies in its first week out. It also didn't hurt when Snoop Dogg crowned him the New King of the West.
Harlem raptress Azealia Banks was one of the most talked about new artists in hip-hop this year -- mostly because of all the beefs she got into this year. Back in February, Azealia hated on Iggy Azalea for being the first female on the cover of XXL's Freshman List of 2012. She also had Twitter beefs with Kreayshawn, Jim Jones and even Lil Kim and Nicki Minaj! Azealia did manage to get some work done -- she released singles off her EP 1991, released her mixtape Fantasea, collaborated with Lady Gaga and is working on her debut album Broke With Expensive Taste, which is due out next year.
Chief Keef had an interesting year. After getting a major co-sign from Kanye West -- who remixed his song "I Don't Like," the Chicago rapper signed with Interscope Records in June. While stars like 50 Cent also co-signed the young star, rappers like Rhymefest and Lupe Fiasco blasted the rapper for spreading ignorance to the kids. Reports say that the rapper was connected to the death of rival rapper Lil Jo Jo. In spite of the drama, Chief Keef's debut album will hit stores next year.
Although he signed with Epic and released his hit "Tony Montana" last year, 2012 was Future's year. The ATL rap star released hit after hit like "Magic," "Same Damn Time" and "Turn On The Lights." He released his debut album Pluto in April.
Elle Varner helped to keep R&B alive this year when she released her hit "Refill" followed by her debut album Perfectly Imperfect. The singer also toured with Trey Songz and Miguel on the Chapter V tour.