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A few years ago, Rickie Jacobs was a promising teenaged hip-hop producer who'd occasionally put his own small, awkward voice on his tracks instead of selling them to another rapper. But in 2013 he's not just a prolific MC but one who rarely bothers to produce anymore, so confident in his still-offbeat voice that the listener quickly grows accustomed to it. This year, Jacobs ramped into overdrive to release the album Songs for High School Kids in March, and then following it up with perhaps his best project to date, June's Beautiful America EP. Add in ace one-off tracks like "Can Goods" and guest verses where he holds his own with other great local MCs like StarrZ and Tate Kobang, and you've got the combination of quantity and quality that it takes to make it in hip-hop today.

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