Noteworthy Artists of 2012

This compiles the most successful artists of 2012. It’s based on an ephemeral and highly subjective mix of record sales, industry buzz, et cetera, and has nothing to do with my personal tastes in regards to who made the best music (or worst, for that matter).

Honorable mentions who did not make the list include Lupe Fiasco, Big K.R.I.T., Chief Keef, Schoolboy Q, B.o.B, Insane Clown Posse, Ca$h Out, Dev, Juicy J, Iamsu, DJ Khaled, Lecrae, TobyMac and Action Bronson.

For previous years (2010 and 2011), click on the “Best Of” tag below.

  1. 2 Chainz
    (Based on a T.R.U. Story, “Birthday Song,” “I’m Different,” “No Lie,” Kanye West’s “Mercy,” Nicki Minaj’s “Beez in the Trap,” Juicy J’s “Bandz A Make Her Dance,” A$AP Rocky’s “Fuckin’ Problems,” DJ Drama’s “My Moment”)
  2. The Alchemist
    (Russian Roulette, Yacht Rock,  Gangrene’s Vodka & Ayahuasca and Odditorium, Domo Genesis’ No Idols, Action Bronson’s Rare Chandeliers)
  3. Azealia Banks
    (1991, Fantasea)
  4. Big Sean
    (Detroit, “Clique,” “Guap,” Kanye West’s “Mercy,” Lil Wayne’s “My Homies Still,” Kanye West Presents G.O.O.D. Music Cruel Summer, Justin Bieber’s “As Long As You Love Me,” Chris Brown’s “Till I Die”)
  5. Chief Keef
    (Finally Rich, “Don’t Like”)
  6. Drake
    (“Take Care,” “HYFR,” Rick Ross’ “Stay Schemin'” and “Diced Pineapples,” 2 Chainz’ “No Lie,” French Montana’s “Pop That,” Meek Mill’s “Amen,” A$AP Rocky’s “Fuckin’ Problems,” Kendrick Lamar’s “Poetic Justice”)
  7. E-40
    (The Block Brochure 1, 2, and 3, Function Music & Mob Music, “Function”)
  8. El-P
    (Cancer 4 Cure, Killer Mike’s R.A.P. Music)
  9. Flo Rida
    (Wild Ones, “Whistle,” “I Cry”)
  10. Flying Lotus
    (Until the Quiet Comes, Captain Murphy’s Duality)
  11. French Montana
    (Mac & Cheese 3, “Pop That,” “Shot Caller,” Rick Ross’ “Stay Schemin’,” Wale’s “Actin’ Up,” Chinx Drugz’ “I’m A Coke Boy”)
  12. Future
    (Pluto, Astronaut Status, “Magic,” “Same Damn Time,” “Turn on the Lights,” Rihanna’s “Loveeeeeee Song”)
  13. Kendrick Lamar
    (good kid, m.A.A.d city, “The Recipe,” “Swimming Pools (Drank),” “Poetic Justice,” Birdman’s “B-Boyz,” A$AP Rocky’s “Fuckin’ Problems”)
  14. Killer Mike
    (R.A.P. Music, “Reagan”)
  15. Lil Wayne
    (Dedication 4, “My Homies Still,” “No Worries,” Tyga’s “Faded,” DJ Khaled’s “Take It to the Head,” David Guetta’s “I Can Only Imagine,” French Montana’s “Pop That,” Keyshia Cole’s “Enough of No Love,” Juicy J’s “Bandz A Make Her Dance,” T.I.’s “Ball”)
  16. Macklemore
    (The Heist, “Same Love,” “Thrift Shop”)
  17. Meek Mill
    (Dreams & Nightmares, Dreamchasers 2, “Amen,” “Young & Gettin’ It,” Maybach Music Group’s Self Made Vol. 2, Wale’s “Bag of Money” and “Actin’ Up,” Rick Ross’ “So Sophisticated,” DJ Drama’s “My Moment”)
  18. Nas
    (Life is Good, “Daughters”)
  19. Nicki Minaj
    (Pink Friday Reloaded: Roman’s Revenge, Pink Friday Roman Reloaded: The Re-Up, “Starships,” “Right By My Side,” “Beez in the Trap,” “Pound the Alarm,” “Va Va Voom,” Madonna’s “Give Me All Your Luvin’,” Alicia Keys’ “Girl on Fire,” Justin Bieber’s “Beauty and a Beat”)
  20. Pitbull
    (Global Warming, “Back in Time,” “Don’t Stop the Party,” Jennifer Lopez’ “Dance Again”)
  21. Rick Ross
    (God Forgives, I Don’t, Rich Forever, The Black Bar Mitzvah, “Stay Schemin’,” “Touch’N You,” “Diced Pineapples,” “So Sophisticated,” “Hold Me Back,” Maybach Music Group’s Self Made Vol. 2, Jennifer Hudson’s “Think Like a Man,” DJ Khaled’s “Take It to the Head” and “I Wish You Would,” Usher’s “Lemme See,” French Montana’s “Pop That,” Wale’s “Bag of Money”)
  22. T.I.
    (Trouble Man: Heavy is the Head, Fuck Da City Up, “Go Get It,” “Ball,” “Sorry,” Future’s “Magic,” Trey Songz’ “2 Reasons”)
  23. Tyga
    (Careless World: Rise of the Last King, “Rack City,” “Faded,” “Make It Nasty,” “Do My Dance,” Travis Porter’s “Ayy Ladies”)
  24. Kanye West
    (Kanye West Presents G.O.O.D. Music Cruel Summer, “Mercy,” “Clique,” “TheraFlu” a.k.a. “Cold,” “New God Flow,” DJ Khaled’s “I Wish You Would,” 2 Chainz’ “Birthday Song,” Rihanna’s “Diamonds”)
  25. Wiz Khalifa
    (ONIFC, Taylor Allerdice, Cabin Fever 2, “Work Hard, Play Hard,” “Remember You,” Chris Brown’s “Till I Die,” Maroon 5’s “Payphone”)

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