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Who’s the Next Artist to Blow Big in 2014?

Posted by Nathan S. on 01/08/14 | Filed under Top Stories, Debates, RH Nation Answers

When Lucas as I were discussing our "5 Rappers to Keep on Your Radar in 2014" list, the only thing I wanted to steer away from was any prediction of success. Something like "Who will blow this year?" can be an entirely different discussion that the simpler, and I think more valuable, "who will make great music this year". 

Once we start getting into "Next to blow" territory, a whole other set of factors come into play. What's their label situation like? Who are they connected with (upfront or behind the scenes)? Do they have a big but relatively underground fan base? Does their sound have crossover potential? For example, I remember RCA publicists telling me that A$AP Ferg was their priority for the year. So in that context his 2013 success makes a lot more sense. 

And then, of course, there's just the element of cosmic forces aligning and luck. If I had asked this question in 2012, there would have been no one - and let's be honest, I mean fucking no one - who would have told you that Macklemore would be a global superstar and set Billboard Records by the time 2013 ended. Or that a weird kid from Chance the Rapper would become one of the biggest names in hip-hop. 

BUT...with all that said, it's still fucking fun to talk about. So let's make it the new "Question of the Week". 

Now, again, even with those three lead paragraphs I know some folks are still going to get this twisted. So let me take one more shot at explaining: 

1) In this case we really are interested only in success, as measured by sales, name recognition, touring, accolades, etc. Although there's going to be some overlap, that's not really the same thing as pure musical quality. So shut up in advance guy who's going to whine about, "Why isn't anyone talking about [insert dope but completely unknown rapper here]?" 

2) The best calls will see an artist make the biggest leap. For example, you might say this is the year Action Bronson goes from really well known to really-really well known, and you might be right, but I won't be that impressed. But if we check back in a year and it turns out you called the next Chance the Rapper of Lorde - someone who really did go from almost nothing to everything this year - than holy sweet baby jesus that's impressive let me bow down at your feet. 

So my pick? Well fuck, after all that I really have to put my money where my mouth is. Fuck...um...I really want to go hard or go home here. And again, because I know in advance that eleven-million artists are about to get mad at me, this is less about who I personally love and more about if Vegas allowed me to bet on artists, who's my money on. 

Ok...I'm going Ryatt Fienix. She's almost completely unknown, so in that sense her cieling is really high, and I'll look like a fucking genius if she does blow. I feel like if she finds that lane she could be the next generation Pink, a woman who really hits that line between hip-hop and rock. And lest you forget how big Pink is, "next generation Pink" is pretty fucking huge. Plus, she's backed by Will Power (aka Yelawolf's main producer), so she has someone with a track record and behind her. 

Of course, I could turn out to be completely fucking wrong because, as we went over earlier today, the music industry is balls crazy. If I had to make a slightly safer pick, I'd go with Joey Bada$$. He's got Lyor Cohen in his corner now, and if this new generation really is more into raw lyricism than previous ones, he could make the leap into the big time this year. So those are my picks, and I'm sticking to it. Who you got? 

What Artist is Next to Blow in 2014?

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