Age: 22
Last year’s rank: 13

Polo G’s journey to rap stardom accelerated over the past 12 months. The young Chicago artist followed up his affirmative The GOAT album with Hall of Fame, another project that set his future intentions. He fed that goal with an album full of unabashed bids for mass appeal, including “Rapstar,” a boastful, ukulele trap fusion that became his first No. 1 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. Then Hall of Fame topped the Billboard 200 with 143,000 units sold in its first week. The album was bolstered by star-studded features from artists like Lil Wayne, Nicki Minaj, Roddy Ricch, Lil Durk, Young Thug, and the late Pop Smoke. But there are plenty of star-studded albums that don’t hit No. 1. Polo G’s knack for melody is the centerpiece of Hall of Fame, and the reason why the 22-year-old is going to be a mainstay on this list—and just may spend some years on top. —Andre Gee