Here are 15 artists who broke out in big ways this year.
Last September, Young Thug was still struggling to get by, just as he had done all of his life. With a few tapes to his name, the rapper was without a deal or a substantial fanbase -- another faceless entity trying to make it in Atlanta's increasingly saturated hip-hop scene. That all changed for him in 2014. Now, he's been on top ten singles, performed on The Tonight Show, rejected numerous six-figure offers, lit blunts with hundred-dollar bills and weathered more hate than most rappers receive in their lifetimes.
Thug is one of many rappers who've seen their prospects change drastically for the better in the past twelve months. Now that you're able to blow up as soon as a 10 second loop of your song soundtracks a few thousand Vines, Twista's concept of the "Overnight Celebrity" is more real than ever. Some of these artists dropped unexpectedly from the sky like Bobby Shmurda's gravity-defying hat, some have been toiling for years, but one common thread runs among them: they've done more with their careers in the past 12 months than they did in the combined years that preceded 2014.
On this list, you'll find oddballs, precocious teens, critical darlings, commercial success stories, major label signees and leaders of grassroots movements. The sheer, undeniable breadth between them all speaks to the crazy year that was 2014. Click ahead to view an alphabetized list of the 15 breakout stars of the year.