Hometown: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Active Since: 2009
Label: Time Is Money Ent.
Twitter Handle: @Tlanez
Essential Listening: Sincerely Tory
Pros: A smooth sound, deft rap style, and ear for hooks.
Cons: His particular lane is pretty competitive at the moment.
Between the reign of Drake and a crack-smoking mayor, Toronto has made the news quite a few times this year. Could Tory Lanez be next? The Canadian wunderkind has a smooth sound that fits in with hip-hop's current obsession with all things OVO, a deft rap style honed over years (freestyle battles dating back to his early teens are available on YouTube), and an ear for hooks. Plus he has a strong singing voice, and all the industry connections one could ask for. His catalog thus far has been a little all-over-the-place, but his recent material is starting to show signs that the crooning rapper could end up in a much more visible spot in the coming year. —David Drake