You try standing out on a label headed by Lil Wayne and anchored by Drake and Nicki Minaj. That's exactly what Lil Twist did in 2011 as he carved out his own identity in the omnipresent YMCMB machine.
Twist appeared on the 2011 XXL Freshman cover at the top of the year and capitalized on that exposure by releasing a number of singles, including his cheater's ballad "Love Affair" with Young Money boss Lil Wayne. From there the Mohawked Dallas, Texas, rapper released "New Money" with R&B crooner Mishon and then "Turnt Up," a rapid-fire Busta Rhymes collaboration.
The 18-year-old up-and-comer also hit the road this year, joining labelmate Tyga and R&B group Mindless Behavior on the Closer to My Dreams Tour. When he wasn't out performing, Twist was busy putting the finishing touches on his upcoming debut album, Don't Get It Twisted.
Hottest Breakthrough MCs was established by MTV News in 2010 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, 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 vote for Lil Twist (or your favorite up-and-comer) over at RapFix.MTV.com, and be sure to check back for daily updates and poll results.
Each day, MTV News will spotlight a new Hottest Breakthrough MC before we conclude 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," during which the winner will appear as our in-studio guest.
There will also be a special announcement about MTV News' 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 MCs poll will not be eligible for 2011 consideration, so unfortunately, Diggy Simmons and Travis Porter won't be part of this conversation.
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!