BEST BRUSH WITH FAME

Gee Watts, with Kendrick Lamar, on "Watts R.I.O.T."

Critics' Choice

"This next song I did with Kendrick Lamar," Gee Watts said onstage at the Riot Room, during The Pitch Music Showcase back in August. "Truth be told, it's the only reason The Pitch is fucking around with a young-ass dude like me." We'd dispute that — the track, "Watts R.I.O.T.," isn't even our favorite from the 22-year-old East Side rapper's debut, Watts Up. But the Lamar collaboration — born out of some Twitter back-and-forths and consummated during a tour-bus recording session on the red-hot Compton rapper's stop at the Sprint Center last year — definitely boosted Watts' profile, both in KC and across the country. "Watts R.I.O.T." didn't make it onto Lamar's acclaimed debut, but at least Watts can say he held his own alongside the rapper whom MTV recently crowned "Hottest MC in the Game."

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