Best Hip-Hop: Apathy
Boasting a recording career going back 15 years, a series of official and unofficial releases regardless of (and in some cases, in spite of) whether he's had label support, and a web of collaborations (including as a member of Demigodz, Army of the Pharaohs, Doe Rakers and Get Busy Committee), Apathy's commitment to the game belies what you might expect of a guy from eastern Connecticut who goes around calling himself Apathy. But Ap's nothing if not committed. After debuting on record as a teenager, he spent years making underground recordings, eventually signed to Atlantic Records, and saw his album shelved by the label for so long that he negotiated his way out of his deal and released it on an independent label instead. While having a record put on hold for years can easily crush the spirit of a young act, Apathy's break from Atlantic instead seemed to open the flood gates — in the six years or so since then, he's released two more albums and a handful of mixtapes and EPs, reissued earlier solo and group recordings, and maintained a schedule of collaborations with the aforementioned groups and producer Celph Titled.
Apathy's voice is tough and commanding, and he's dexterous in meter and narrative, capable of turning out rhymes that are defiant, confessional and humorous within a few lines of each other. Bonus: He reps Connecticut so hard that his video for "Check to Check," from his 2011 album Honkey Kong, includes a shot of a rolling Norwichtown-bound bus.