This past summer, it would've been difficult to miss Meek Mill's hit single "Ima Boss" unless you were actively boycotting the radio, the Internet and clubs. In just 12 months, the Philadelphia rapper has catapulted himself from local fixture to artist set to drop his 2012 major-label debut via Rick Ross' Maybach Music Group. His power moves have also established him as a candidate for MTV News' 2011 Hottest Breakthrough MC.
After his 2010 performance at the annual Powerhouse concert in Philly, the 24-year-old had a brief encounter with Rick Ross that would eventually lead to a deal on Rozay's MMG label. Meek Mill's street bangers "Ima Boss" and "Tupac Back" were two of the standout cuts from the MMG compilation album Self Made Vol. 1, released this spring, with the remix of "Ima Boss" commanding features from Lil Wayne, T.I., Swizz Beatz and, of course, Ross.
The MMG rookie's August mixtape Dreamchasers further cemented his status as one of the most talented and determined young MCs in the game. In addition to the popular singles "House Party" (featuring Young Chris) and "Work" (with Rick Ross), the street-savvy rapper showcased his raw talent for vivid storytelling on the track "Tony Story," a dark tale of a friendship turned sour over money.
Despite his upward moves, Meek has firmly held onto his loyal Philadelphia fanbase, who came out to support him when he returned to this year's Powerhouse show as an official MMG soldier. His debut solo album is expected to drop by summer 2012, and both Meek and Ross have promised that it will be "a classic." During MTV2's Sucker Free Awards last week, he took home the prize for "Who's Got Next: Best Artist Without an Album." Can he also take home the top prize for Hottest Breakthrough MC?
Hottest Breakthrough MCs was established in 2010 by MTV News as a fan-driven initiative that spotlights, celebrates and cultivates new talent. MTV News chose a pool of young rappers and urged fans to vote for their favorite. When it was all said and done and the votes were tallied, Wiz Khalifa emerged as the Hottest Breakthrough of last year. The competition was tough, but the Taylor Gang general beat out runner-up Nicki Minaj, ATL group Travis Porter, Diggy Simmons and J. Cole. This year you can go vote for Kendrick (or their favorite up-and-comer) over at RapFix.MTV.com, and be sure to check back for daily updates and poll results.
Each day we'll spotlight a new Hottest Breakthrough MC before we conclude on December 13 when the polls close at 11:59 p.m. ET. The 2011 Hottest Breakthrough MC will be revealed during December 14's "RapFix Live," where he will appear as our in-studio guest. There will also be a special announcement concerning MTV New' upcoming "Hottest MCs in the Game" list and debate. To be considered a Hottest Breakthrough MC, an artist cannot have released a major-label full-length album. Finalists from 2010's Hottest Breakthrough MC poll will not be eligible for 2011 consideration.
Who do you think should be 2011 Hottest Breakthrough MC? Share your picks in the comments!
Stick with MTV News as we profile the 2011 Hottest Breakthrough MCs before announcing the winner December 13 on "RapFix Live" — vote now!