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Best Local Hip-Hop Artist 

Benny Starr

click to enlarge benny-8.jpg

Ruta Smith file

Readers Pick

Do we even need to explain this one at this point? Since releasing A Water Album in 2019, Starr has become one of the rare examples of a local artist who transcends the music scene. People listened when Starr endorsed Elizabeth Warren for the Democratic Presidential nominee. Citizens took note when he dropped out of TEDx 2019, calling the organization out for a racist comment made by a speech coach and what he perceived as censorship behind the scenes. Avery Research Center even dedicated an exhibit to A Water Album when they reopened earlier this year. And, even if none of those things happened, Starr would still be one of the sharpest rappers in the Lowcountry. Lately, Starr has been collaborating with keyboardist and producer Rodrick Cliche for a new project, Native Son, which continues Starr’s tradition of facing racial and social justice issues in music. —Heath Ellison

Runner-Up: Damn Skippy

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