Sounds Like: Rakim meets Common

Influenced By: Nas, Black Thought and KRS-One

Why He's Blowing Up OurStage: The Boston-bred rapper delivers fresh lyrics without the muck and mire of drugs or gun violence. Instead, Slim Pickens' two-time No. 1 status on OurStage can be accredited to the integrity displayed in his music. "I do my best to create a sound and songs that are not the same recycled formula as most mainstream rap music," Slim explained. "[It's] more socially conscious, painting pictures of everyday struggles as I see them."