Best New Hip-Hop Clique

The Honor Roll Crew

Honor Roll leader Trackademicks' Web site proclaims that his crew is bringing “the best notes from the freshest coast.” It's not an empty boast. Backed up by Josie Stingray, Mike Baker the Bike Maker, Tap-10, Moxmore, 1 O.A.K., and Spank Pops (whose late 2009 release, Beautiful Noise, is undoubtedly the best rap EP ever recorded by someone with a day job at the Pacific Coast Stock Exchange), this fluid assortment of rappers, producers, and DJs makes music that brims with a crisp vibrancy but never takes itself too seriously to throw in a reference to Fresh Prince of Bel-Air character Hilary Banks. As at home performing with the Fools Gold label's roster of hipster rappers as remixing Swedish electropop-rockers Little Dragon, you can call them the leaders of the new cool.

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