For hip hop journalist Sowmya Krishnamurthy, 2012 was all about newcomers -- namely, the young rapper Kendrick Lamar, and R&B singers The Weeknd and Frank Ocean. The trio of breakout stars, ranging in age from 22 to 25 years old, all made critically acclaimed major label debuts this year -- topping Sowmya Krishnamurthy's Soundcheck 2012 Music Survey for Favorite Song, Favorite Newcomer and Favorite Album, respectively.
Sowmya Krishnamurthy Answers Soundcheck's 2012 Music Survey
1) Favorite Album -- Frank Ocean, Channel Orange
"Sonically interesting, very eclectic -- part of this new wave of R&B."
2) Favorite Song -- Kendrick Lamar, "Swimming Pools (Drank)"
"What a great song -- very murky and hazy. Lyrically, it sounds like a party song upon first listen, but when you actually decode it, it goes into the ills of addiction. The beat by producer T-Minus out of Toronto, just amazing."
3) Favorite new band / newcomer -- The Weeknd
"Someone like The Weeknd -- he has a very signature sound. It's this coo, mixed with a wail. All of his songs tend to have subject matter like addiction, and sex, and excess -- it's a hip hop sensibility mixed with this new wave of R&B."
4) Biggest Musical Surprise -- Frank Ocean "comes out" on the eve of his album debut.
5) Biggest Musical Disappointment -- Rick Ross's over-hyped God Forgives, I Don't.
"To me, this was just a miss. It was too long, it was very monotonous, and there was nothing new. It showed that groupthink and hype does not always mean a good record."
6) Music Trend of 2012 -- Group songs
"Every song featured a cavalcade of other artists. It was the year of collectives, from Maybach Music Group, to Kanye West's GOOD Music, Little Wayne's WYCBM. There was a lot of love going on in hip hop this year."
7) Most Memorable Concert -- Drake's OVO Fest and Jay-Z at Barclays Center
8) Worst music –- Psy, "Gangnam Style"
"The moment happened when my dad, who lives in Kalamazoo, Michigan, said, 'Yeah, I really like that song!' That was when the shark had been jumped, so to speak."