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5 artists to keep an eye on

Atlanta musicians we're digging in 2012

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2 Chainz: Longtime Atlanta rapper Tity Boi perfected the art of reinvention in 2011 with a name change and a mixtape hustle (Codeine Cowboys, T.R.U. REALigion) so strong that Forbes magazine came a-calling. With his national buzz inciting a major label bidding war for his anticipated 2012 LP, Ludacris' former protégée is now set to A&R his old boss's forthcoming studio release, too. — Rodney Carmichael

Featureless Ghost: Electro experimental pop alchemists Featureless Ghost are on a mission to harvest the abundant musical resources that have taken root amid Georgia's red clay. After releasing a handful of full-lengths, singles, and EPs via Bandcamp last year, plus one cassette tape (Biologically-Sound Cyber-Bodies), the duo of Matt Weiner and Elise Tippins kicked off a new monthly/bi-monthly night in December dubbed HUNGER that's all about corralling ATL's finest underground electro performers, producers, and DJs to foster style and diversity within the local electronic scene. — Chad Radford

Gentleman Jesse and His Men: Not since the summer of 2008 has Gentleman Jesse and His Men blessed this city with a proper full-length; but that will change come March 13. Gentleman Jesse's sophomore effort, Leaving Atlanta: Feel Good Songs For Bad Times, is set to drop via hometown label Douchemaster Records. The new batch of songs veers away from the power-pop label he's been slapped with, as he takes on a more troubled rock 'n' roll tone. — CR

Rozewood: Hailing from "Horrorville" (aka Amityville, N.Y.), Rozewood has quickly established a brand for himself amid Atlanta's underground hip-hop scene by wielding a smooth and sophisticated edge. The nocturnal narratives he weaves throughout his December 2011 release, Neon Paradise, are at turns eerie and gritty, evoking NYC's post-gangsta response to the rise of West Coast hip-hop in the early '90s. Keep an eye out for a new full-length that pairs Rozewood with Mr. Enok — one producer and one M.C., a classic formula. — CR

Tre Luce: Every debut from a new discovery should sound as thorough as Tre Luce's November 2011 release, The Return of the A. As the title suggests, the Atlanta native is cut from the same hip-hop cloth that put ATL on the map. Besides showing off Tre Luce's deft lyrical drawl and bawdy but thoughtful pen, the independently released Return features veteran Dungeon Family session musicians and was partly recorded at OutKast's Stankonia Studios. In 2012, he intends to expand his hometown presence with a featured spot on Killer Mike's "Burn" remix, a collaborative album with cousin Tai Chi, and a lost-tapes release featuring re-recordings of early demos titled Afro Engineering. — RC

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