Best Artists of 2020: Hip-Hop, R&B, Pop and Alternative

Best Hip-Hop Artist: Lil Baby

Following his triumphed breakthrough year, Atlanta native Lil Baby deserves nothing short of this award. Racking up enough accolades to start an NFL team, the Quality Control rapper worked bar-for-bar to earn this title. His most noteworthy milestones include reaching over 20 billion global streams, 2 Grammy nominations, a double-platinum record, (and a partridge in a pear tree). His second album My Turn delivered both Tik-Tok inclusive tracks and hard-hitting verses for the hip-hop heads that built a congenial space for both ends of the 2020 music spectrum. His success with fans translated into the rap industry where the likes of Future, Gunna, Lil Wayne, Lil Uzi Vert, Young Thug, and more were itching for a feature on his records. Beyond his chart-topping success, the rapper also worked diligently to use his platform for positive social reform during the amplifying Black Lives Matter Movement. His voice became one for the people; a cry for change and a plea for respect. - Deja Williams

2. Freddie Gibbs

Freddie Gibbs may have earned the “The Largest Snub” award for this placement on the award list (I'm not a Lil Baby lover, so please don't read into that opinion too heavily.) But, holy hell, did this man have a year. The man straight murdered his collaborative album Alfredo with the famed Alchemist. When I say "murdered," I mean Gibbs popped so hard that he earned himself his first-ever Grammy nomination.

Alfredo truly epitomizes his incredible year, but he didn’t lay dormant prior to or after the drop. Gibbs found himself featured on numerous other incredible works like The Price of Tea in China, Pray for Paris, Burden of Proof, and What Kinda Music. The substance and pure skill exemplified through every single feature or owned song was nothing less than masterful. Gibbs earned himself the #2 Hip-Hop Artist of the Year and I’m beyond excited to see him cement himself as a great after claiming a Grammy dub this year. - Finn Askin

3. Conway the Machine

It’s safe to say that Griselda had a lock on 2020, and it could be argued that Conway the Machine was the MVP of their legendary run. Conway managed to deliver two quality collaborative efforts—Lulu with The Alchemist and No One Mourns The Wicked with Big Ghost LTD—before dropping off his debut solo album, From King to a God. All of the aforementioned projects were well-received, especially Lulu—a creation that will immortalize Conway and The Alchemist’s hot streaks in hip-hop history. -Evan Linden

Best Alternative Artist: Fiona Apple

What’s there to say about this one that hasn’t already been blasted across music Twitter? Fiona Apple’s 2020 studio release, Fetch The Bolt Cutters, screams "unhinged masterpiece." She pulls listeners into the confines of her conveniently sonic, real-life residence — throwing them from room to room, story to story — in and out of gripping tales on love, loss, and eventually, self-realization. It’s a perfect album for an uncertain twelve months, and Fiona Apple is a perfect musician for the job. - Carter Ferryman

Best R&B/Pop Artist: The Weeknd

Abel Tesfaye is the most dominant force in popular music today aside from, maybe, his mentor and historic collaborator, Drake. The Weeknd has made a name for himself across the globe throughout the last decade by refusing to fall under one specific umbrella, and instead spanning his meteoric rise across a multitude of attitudes, emotions and genres. There are few people who have the pure vocal range that Tesfaye possesses, and he never fails to bring every tool of his to the table when he's generous enough to grace his rabid fanbase with a new project. After Hours demonstrated not only that The Weeknd could resurrect Miami Nights Disco, but that he's matured into a fuller human and has come to terms with his past while attempting to rehabilitate not only his image, but his persona and existence. - Ralph James

Best New Artist: Redveil

When the team was voting for this award, there wasn’t any debate. Redveil took this award and ran with it. This year has been an all-out explosion for the 16-year-old phenom. This year he has amassed over 40,000 followers on Instagram and Twitter, has gained just under 165,000 monthly listeners on Spotify, and has debuted new merch for his intelligent and polished second album Niagara. Redveil is a prodigy with advanced and meticulous soul samples and emotional lyricism reminiscent of a wise poet. The sky's the limit for him, and in a few years, I wouldn’t be surprised if he is one of the most respected rappers in the game. Hop on the bandwagon now; you won’t regret it. -Marty Gross

Other Awards:

Best Albums: Hip-Hop, R&B, Pop and Alternative

Best Songs: Hip-Hop, R&B, Pop and Alternative