• Gunplay

    Gunplay: Miami's Wild Child MC Is Guided by Voices

    WHO: A Miami rapper with a full back tattoo of Jesus holding a pistol to the Devil's head, Gunplay is the standout member of Rick Ross' Triple C's crew. "That's the boss!" Gunplay says of his working relationship with Ross. "Everything gotta pass him first. I don't give a fuck what anybody else say. If he say, 'I like it,' boy, fuck you! That's my gauge to see if it works or not. If it work for him, then boom, we good money." SOUNDS LIKE: Someone capable of titling a mixtape 106 & Snort: Freestyle Highdayz Vol. 1. Though the rapper's unabashed drug use is well documented within the annals of World Star Hip-Hop, he has not let it detract from his ambitions. "I feel like I'm in a good position to take off," Morales says.

  • Fat Trel / Photo by Darrow Montgomery/Washington City Paper

    Fat Trel: D.C. Heavy Hitter Aims to Blow Up on His Own Terms

    WHO: Hip-hop fans might remember 21-year-old Fat Trel (né Martrel Reeves) from a brief association with Wale and his boutique label, the Board Administration. But Trel cut ties with the fellow D.C. native (and eventual Maybach Music stable hand) when he was unceremoniously dropped from the Board just days before the release of his stellar April Foolz mixtape in the spring of 2011. The separation has only served to fuel Trel's undeniable star power — he's since become a stronger entity independently, much in the way Curren$y has since leaving Lil Wayne's Young Money clan. SOUNDS LIKE: Though Trel shares Waka Flocka Flame's tattoo-draped, dread-head visual aesthetic, his meticulous, teeth-gnashing delivery has more in common with Black Thought of the Roots.

  • French Montana / Photo by John Ricard

    French Montana: Journeyman MC Finds a Home for His Hustle

    Who: Bronx-raised rapper French Montana (born Karim Kharbouch in Morocco) has been grinding locally for years and can be seen in a mid-aughties chapter of the now-defunct SMACK DVD magazine, pulling handfuls of cash out of his jeans like leaves from a pile of mulch. And though he made his name playing brilliant foil to the shower-sing-along harmonies of incarcerated (as of press time) New York mixtape hero Max B, Montana, 27, has raised his profile nationally through consistent collaborations with heavy-hitters Waka Flocka Flame and Rick Ross. Sounds Like: A sloth with sunglasses on. Montana pairs his slurry delivery with an impeccable ear for production, having worked extensively with Dame Grease (of DMX's It's Dark and Hell Is Hot fame) and upstart Harry Fraud, whose sound couldn't be more New York if it included a subway car's closing-door chimes.

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