12 Artists to Watch in 2012

Don't miss Kendrick Lamar tonight on 106 & Park!

Kendrick Lamar - Kendrick Lamar is perhaps one of the best things to happen to Compton, California since N.W.A. The 24-year-old rapper's Section 80. album, released via iTunes in July 2011, solidified the momentum he'd built up with previous projects: 2010's O(verly) D(edicated) and 2009's The Kendrick Lamar EP. His debut studio album, Good Kid in a Mad City, is set for release this year.(Photo: Johnny Nunez/WireImage)

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Kendrick Lamar - Kendrick Lamar is perhaps one of the best things to happen to Compton, California since N.W.A. The 24-year-old rapper's Section 80. album, released via iTunes in July 2011, solidified the momentum he'd built up with previous projects: 2010's O(verly) D(edicated) and 2009's The Kendrick Lamar EP. His debut studio album, Good Kid in a Mad City, is set for release this year.Kendrick Lamar is on 106 & Park tonight and will bring the heat as Rocsi's co-host! Don't miss a minute at 6P/5C!(Photo: Johnny Nunez/WireImage)

Recording artist 2 Chainz visits BET's "106 & Party" at BET Studios on December 16, 2011 in New York City. (Photo: Bennett Raglin/Getty Images)

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2 Chainz - Since branching off from rap duo Playaz Circle after partner Dolla Boy was sent to prison, 2 Chainz (formerly known as Tity Boi) has hit the ground running, releasing the popular DJ Drama-hosted mixtape, T.R.U. REALigion, this past November. The debut solo project spawned the club banger, "Spend It," featuring T.I. (Photo: Bennett Raglin/Getty Images)

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Frank Ocean - Although signed to Def Jam since 2009, the singer-songwriter's independently released first project Nostalgia, Ultra went viral this past February, freeing him from what could've been artists' purgatory. Since then, the project Ocean was featured on two tracks on Jay-Z and Kanye West's Watch the Throne ("No Church in the Wild" and "Made in America") and looks forward to a promising 2012.(Photo: Island Def Jam)

The Weeknd (@TheWeekndXO) - TWEET: “I can’t wait to re-release The Trilogy as a package, re-mastered for you to collect with bonus features…#2012.” Drake affiliate The Weeknd announces upcoming project. (Photo: Clinton Gilders/FilmMagic/Getty Images)

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The Weeknd - Since the release of his debut mixtape, House of Balloons, in March 2011, Toronto-bred artist The Weeknd has followed up with two more buzzworthy offerings, Thursday and, Echoes of Silence. The Canadian crooner was also an integral contributor to Drake's sophomore album Take Care, most notable on the track, "Crew Love."(Photo: Clinton Gilders/FilmMagic)

Elle Varner - Cali girl Elle Varner released her debut single, "Only Wanna Give it to You," featuring J. Cole, this past August. Since its release, the BET Music Matters artist has gotten enough buzz to stir up anticipation for her upcoming album, Perfectly Imperfect.(Photo: John W. Ferguson/Getty Images) 

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Elle Varner - Cali girl Elle Varner released her debut single, "Only Wanna Give it to You," featuring J. Cole, this past August. Since its release, the BET Music Matters artist has gotten enough buzz to stir up anticipation for her upcoming album, Perfectly Imperfect.(Photo: John W. Ferguson/Getty Images)

Meek Mill  - After being named one of XXL magazine's 2011 Freshmen Class rappers, Maybach Music Group signee Meek Mill is poised to take over in 2012. Since lingering under an unproductive partnership with T.I.'s Grand Hustle Records, the Philly-bred spitter has released popular tracks "Tupac Back" and "Ima Boss" off MMG's collaborative studio album Self Made Vol. 1, released in May 2011. (Photo: John Ricard / BET)

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Meek Mill - After being named one of XXL magazine's 2011 Freshmen Class rappers, Maybach Music Group signee Meek Mill is poised to take over in 2012. Since lingering under an unproductive partnership with T.I.'s Grand Hustle Records, the Philly-bred spitter has released popular tracks "Tupac Back" and "Ima Boss" off MMG's collaborative studio album Self Made Vol. 1, released in May 2011. (Photo: John Ricard / BET)

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A$AP Rocky - Although he's perhaps the latest addition to the up-and-comers list, Harlem rapper A$AP Rocky is probably the wealthiest. The popularity of Rocky's "Purple Swag" and "Peso" reportedly warranted him a $3 million recording contract with Sony/RCA.(Photo: Roger Kisby/Getty Images)

Future  - Although he's perhaps best known for his feature on YC's mega-popular hit, "Racks," things are looking bright for Atlanta's Future in 2012. He was able to follow up the success of "Racks" with a number of his own songs, including the Drake-assisted "Tony Montana," a track Beyonc? listed on her website as one of her faves in 2011.(photo: John Ricard / BET)

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Future - Although he's perhaps best known for his feature on YC's mega-popular hit, "Racks," things are looking bright for Atlanta's Future in 2012. He was able to follow up the success of "Racks" with a number of his own songs, including the Drake-assisted "Tony Montana," a track Beyoncé listed on her website as one of her faves in 2011.(photo: John Ricard / BET)

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MGK - Named for his rapid-fire flow, Ohio native Machine Gun Kelly stirred up enough notoriety in 2011 to get him an offer from Diddy's Bad Boy Records, which he accepted. MGK has since released the single, "Wild Boy," featuring Waka Flocka Flame, which is expected to be the first single off his 2012 debut album, Lace Up.(photo: John Ricard / BET)

French Montana - "I went to see the movie in the Bronx with a gang of my friends. We were all really excited to see a movie that represented our world, and what we went through on a daily basis. Juice was the first time I saw 2Pac, and his talent shined through the screen. I was a 2Pac fan instantly." (Photo: John Ricard / BET)

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French Montana - Although last year saw French Montana walk away from a deal with Akon's Konvict Muzic after lingering on the label since 2009, the Bronx rapper bounced back, inking a new deal with Diddy's Bad Boy Records by the close of 2011, after a rumored bidding war between Rick Ross' Maybach Music Group and Kanye West's G.O.O.D. Music.(photo: John Ricard / BET)

Bridget Kelly - BET Music Matters pick Bridget Kelly made her mark playing stand-in for Alicia Keys during performances of Jay-Z's street anthem "Empire State of Mind." Now the sultry songbird and Roc Nation signee is gearing up to take over the R&B scene in 2012.(Photo: Dave M. Benett/Getty Images)

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Bridget Kelly - BET Music Matters pick Bridget Kelly made her mark playing stand-in for Alicia Keys during performances of Jay-Z's street anthem "Empire State of Mind." Now the sultry songbird and Roc Nation signee is gearing up to take over the R&B scene in 2012.(Photo: Dave M. Benett/Getty Images)