Hometown: Compton, CA
Active Since: 2006
Label: Diamond Lane Music Group
Twitter Handle: @ItsaPROBLEM
Essential Listening: The Separation
Pros: Industry connections, years of experience.
Cons: He's been around for a few years and still hasn't taken off.
27-year-old Los Angeles rapper Problem could probably make a career out of being a background figure. He dabbled the business side of things when he started a label with his cousin in 2008, made powerful connections in the music world by writing for Snoop Dogg, and by 2009 he got an inside look at the industry when he signed a two-single major label deal with Universal. These days, he's less concerned with making singles. He's confident in his team, focused on putting in work (he's released six mixtapes in the past two years), and although he's practically a rap veteran, this is the time to be looking out for Problem. He's got wisdom that only comes with experience, and now that the pressure's off, things are falling into place. "Like Whaaat" wasn't even meant to be a single, but it ended up on the radio, stacked millions of views on YouTube, and is his biggest hit yet. —Jacob Moore