J. Cole is a North Carolina-based producer/rapper who was Jay-Z’s first signee to his Roc Nation label. His Friday Night Lights mixtape cleared the way for his debut album Cole World: The Sideline Story.
Big K.R.I.T., Return Of 4Eva
Big K.R.I.T. is a Mississippi-born rapper and producer who made his mark with a string of mixtapes including Returnof4eva.
B.o.B., No Genre
As an envelope-pushing producer/singer/rapper, B.o.B. nimbly blends genres. His No Genre mixtape continued blurring the boundaries of music.
Kendrick Lamar, Section .80
This Compton, California native has demonstrated a penchant for mesmerizing lyrical displays. His thoughtful songwriting was heard throughout his Section .80 collection.
Frank Ocean, Nostalgia, Ultra
His mishmash of styles combines for a unique R&B sound, as evidenced on his Internet-released mixtape Nostalgia, Ultra.