3. Kendrick Lamar
From: Compton, California
Active Since: 2003
Best Known Song: "A.D.H.D" (2011)
Ever since he was a relative unknown who went by the name K. Dot, Kendrick Lamar has been steadily tightening his grip on the game. And Lamar's grown by leaps and bounds since he dropped the alias-which is a scary thing considering he had enough lyrical ammo to kill dozens of MCs from the start (see Training Day). His mixtapes, Overly Dedicated (2010) and C4 (2009), still hold weight, and Section.80 ranks among 2011's finest.
His multiple big features (Drake, Meek Mill) arebe just a hint of what's in store. Lamar is currently working on his major label debut, Good Kid in a Mad City, one of the most highly anticipated releases in recent memory. It's not just hype either-Lamar has some of the sharpest flows and on-point lyricism in the game.