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CLOSE recently gathered informed music writers to make a list of DMV’s hottest rappers for 2011.

Our panel was asked to vote on which local rap artists they felt had that had the hottest year. Think of it as an all star game for local rappers picked by the media.

The criteria included voting for artists that they felt had the made the most noise inside and outside the D.C. metropolitan area by way of buzzworthy shows, tours, videos, albums/mixtapes, singles, publicity, street buzz, industry co-signs and other music-related things that kept the artist’s name on the tip of everybody’s tongue in 2011.

Very careful attention was given to ensure that an open, honest and objective debate took place amongst the panel. The same care was taken with the voting process. This list is a accumulated result of the entire panel’s votes. It doesn’t necessarily represent the individual thoughts of any one panelist nor does it speak to who is the “best” or “most talented”. It only sheds light on who they felt had “the best year”, hence the “hottest”.

NOTE: We’ve officially “retired” Wale from the list until either he becomes an independent artist or more local artists get major label deals with proper promotional budgets. He would just because of his sheer fame alone automatically top most people’s list just about every year.

It was created to give props as well as spark debate so, hopefully, no DMV music artists or affiliated parties takes this list as a slight or as any form of disrespect.

So, as this list was built on votes, there were many that were nominated but only 11 made this year’s list (two that made the KYS List tied with the exact number of votes and, thus, were added into the same listing) but we did retain 3 “Honorable Mentions” who fell just short to garner enough votes to be listed in the top ten.

We do this list because we want to highlight the great music we see coming out of the DMV that the rest of the world and, more often than not, our own region has yet to experience.

We will spend all week counting down our top 10 hottest rappers until we get down to #1. Enjoy. – Pharoh Martin, Editor of KYSDC.COM

RELATED: Click here to see the results of who the public thought was the DMV’s Hottest Rappers

RELATED: Click here to see the  2010 DMV’s Hottest Rappers List

Brought to you by:

Participating Panel

Marcus Dowling- Music Writer (Washington City Paper/

6ix Shoota- Video Director (Cool Kids Forever)

Pop & Talley-

J. Cudder & Jon Powell-

Angela Byrd- Freelance Writer (The Source Magazine)

DJ Gemz- College Radio (WMUC/ Howard University)

Chris Richards – Music Writer (Washington Post)

Sonya Collins- Music Critic

Marcus Moore- Music Writer (Washington City Paper/ BBC)

VIDEO: See the discussion over the making of the list

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10. Logic/ Oddisee (TIE)


Holding local internet-obsessed hip-hop fans in a lyrical chokehold, Logic storms into local relevance. A slew of highly regarded video clips showcase the Maryland upstart’s lyrical dexterity, possibly positioning him as an heir to the throne. Logic, who has multiple Youtube videos with over 100,000 views, led the “People’s Poll” with 17 percent of the vote when the site asked the public who they thought was the DMV’s Hottest Rapper. Still, some panelists felt that Logic’s lack of a hefty presence locally hurt his ranking while others felt that he should’ve been ranked higher. So is his first time featured on this list but it won’t be the last. Let’s see what next year holds.


2011’s Rock Creek Park is a brilliant journey into the mind of Amir Mohammed, aka DC rhymer/producer Oddisse. A respected now largely invisible guiding hand in local hip hop, his style and grace, whether with his critically-acclaimed supergroup Diamond District or otherwise he is permanently respected. Although this is Oddisee’s first listing on the list as a solo artist his group Diamond District, which also include Uptown XO and Yu, took the #2 spot on last year’s Hottest DMV Rappers List.

VIDEO: Why Oddisee and Logic Made The List

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9. Kingpen Slim

Kingpen Slim:

A smooth and professional performer, veteran Kingpen Slim’s “Goosebumps” single and accompanying video glided with relative ease into local radio airplay in 2011. He also had a few other noted videos, freestyles and standout appearances on major artists’ joints such as Jim Jones and Wale. Slim enjoyed a fantastic early part of the year that was really a continuance last year’s forward momentum from the Beam Up 2, which garnered him a #5 on the 2010 list. But his one-mixtape-a-year creative process leaves the back end of the 2011 very quiet and, as a result, knocked him down a few spots from last year’s top 5 listing but sets him up for a potentially very good 2012.

VIDEO: Why Kingpen Slim Made The List

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8. The Slutty Boyz

The Slutty Boyz:

Fat Trel’s closely affiliated crew of street bullies represent the “fool” movement as well as the spirit of the next generation of local trap stars. As charismatic as they are lyrical, the Northeast DC crew’s style is locally iconic, creating a pop excitement to their rise. This is the first time Slutty Boyz have been featured on this list.

VIDEO: Why The Slutty Boyz Made The List

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7. Phil Da Phuture

Phil Da Phuture:

Making the stupidest of “Stupid Dope Moves” onto the countdown is 368 Music’s Phil Da Phuture, not to be confused with The Future of “Tony Montana” fame. Extraordinarily gifted in delivering radio-friendly hooks, the party rapper excelled in dominating local airplay with a drive time winner. Many see a continued bright future for the rhymer, a prediction cemented with his position on this countdown. This is Phil’s first time featured on this list.

VIDEO: Why Phil Da Phuture Made The List

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6. Uptown XO

Uptown XO:

Known by many as 1/3 of locally assembled and internationally respected indie lyrical supergroup Diamond District, the streets didn’t let XO chill as a solo act in 2011. Monumental 2 mixtape displayed a next level insurgency in XO’s wordplay, and his heavy on video visuals marketing push increased his visibility as an individual lyricist ten-fold. This is Uptown XO’s first time listed as a solo act but second time overall. Diamond District was listed #2 last year.

VIDEO: Why Uptown XO Made The List

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5. Gods’Illa


God was indeed “Illa” for the DC veterans in 2011 as their phenomenal CPR mixtape was hosted by Erykah Badu’s DJ alias “Low Down Loretta Brown.” The area veterans are appreciated for a never-ending schedule of open mics and energetic live performances, their hard work being honored by placement on this list. This is the group’s debut on this list.

VIDEO: Why Gods’Illa Made The List

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4. Black Cobain

Black Cobain:

The Board Administration’s lieutenant-in-waiting, “Cobizzy” isn’t just a star to many local insiders on Thursdays, but is now dependable for a never ending slew of cocksure and mind-bending bars. Featuring Wale duet “4AM,” his Young, Gifted and Black mixtape preceded a non-stop year of touring as the opener for his DC area native turned Maybach Music Group signed, international rap star mentor Wale on his cross country Ambition Tour. This is Black Cobain’s list debut.

VIDEO: Why Black Cobain Made The List

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3. Tabi Bonney

Tabi Bonney:

Now boasting the co-sign of the legendary Damon Dash, producer Ski Beats and the Black Eyed Peas’ will I. am, Tabi Bonney represents an uncompromising standard of excellence as an independent emcee. Perpetually touring with the liks of Murs and Shwayze, his branding, from Cool Kids Forever-directed videos on MTV to the Bonney Runway fashion line buoys consistently solid album releases to put him at not just the local but national pinnacle. This is Tabi’s second time on the list. Last year he was listed fourth.

VIDEO: Why Tabi Bonney Made The List

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2. Phil Ade

Phil Ade:

Dependably solid, the 368 Hustler represents Maryland but he takes his talents all over the map. Counting stand out performances with highly-touted left-coast freshman Kendrick Lamar at a sold out 9:30 Club and at the Generation Laser Tour in Columbia, MD with Wale and Lupe Fiasco along with a notable release with A Different World cemented Phil as one of the most dominant local emcees in 2011. Phil sits at #2 on this list for the second year in a row.

VIDEO: Why Phil Ade Made The List

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1. Fat Trel

Fat Trel:

A premium on rough yet spiritually powerful lyrical content has the Northeast DC native not just at the top of this countdown, but seen as one of hip hop’s next major players in the eyes of Spin Magazine, The FADER and a plethora of other mainstream publications, as well as music insiders that follow the local scene. 2010 mixtape No Secrets is the stuff of urban legend but it leaves fans impatient and excited for his next major move. Last year Fat Trel was just beginning and was slotted #10 on this list. This year the “Fat Fool” tops the hill.

VIDEO: Why Fat Trel Made The List

NOTE: Check out this video to see other rappers who also got votes from the judges and just barely missed making the list.

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