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It's Janury 2015, and you're now reading Complex's Bout to Blow.
This column has two goals:
1. To use the many tools available to us today to get some idea of what songs were really bubbling with "the people"—in other words, to insert some science into the process.
2. To contextualize that information, because raw numbers in a vacuum would have you thinking an anonymous rapper dropped onto a stellar track was hip-hop's next big rap star when he was more like an empty, tattooed vehicle for a dope beat and a hook.
The post is obviously intended to be somewhat predictive. There's also an element, though, that is cheerleading. Many of these songs might be flourishing in certain markets, but could use wider exposure. They're tracks where the metrics suggest some forward momentum, even if the clubs and radio play don't reflect that.
What trends have we spotted going into 2015? The Mustard/Nic Nac/Bay Area axis of uptempo R&B hits is, if anything, just hitting its stride. Even Atlanta artists are apt to start rapping over the thick drums and taught grooves out of Cali, a la the Migos' "Fight Night." We're also kicking off the year with a wavy one, a Typical Southern Club Record, and the return of an an artist many had written off—actually, several such artists. There's also a bit of chunky chillout beach music to keep you warm, at least until Valentine's Day.
So what's in store for January? Check out this edition of Bout to Blow: 10 Dope Songs You Should Be Hearing Everywhere Soon.
David Drake is a writer living in New York City. Follow him on Twitter at @somanyshrimp.