Age: 21
Recent Project: Signed to the Streets

Though he emerged alongside a few other drill pioneers, Lil Durk's take on the sound was always a bit different. While his coevals put emotion on the back burner and focused on delivery, Durk was always able to blend the two. Once Young Chop started handing out beats to everyone in the rap industry, only Durk (with the exception of Johnny May Cash) was able to make Chop-produced records that approached the same energy as Chief Keef while still doing something a bit different ("52 Barz Pt. 2" and "One Night," for example).

At the same time, Durk was making cold ballads like "Dis Ain't What U Want." He uses Auto-Tune in a way that validates its involvement, it adds to his emotionally restrained yet melodic style. Plus, he's intent on making you aware that he can really rap in the traditional sense (i.e. bars), by making multiple songs that consist in a single, long verse. His relatively recent mixtape, Signed To The Streets is excellent, and foreshadows an even more compelling debut album. —Alexander Gleckman

If You Don't Believe Us Listen To: "Dis Ain't What U Want"