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Best Hip-Hop Artist 

Spaide R.I.P.P.E.R.

With his big braids and big smile, Spaide is everywhere -- car shows, clubs, picnics, even orphanages. His ubiquitous street team is composed of eight women, ages seventeen to twenty-one, and their daughters, and they hand out swag galore at these events -- everything from Spaide CDs to Spaide towels. Spaide's yet to break out on a national level, though his single, "Always," gets play on a handful of mainstream radio stations around the nation. It's the Lou where big Spaide gets his love -- well, here and Boonville, where he played to a bar full of bikers earlier this year on a bill with Ruka Puff. "Our crews were the only black people there," recalls Spaide. But it was all good. "They clapped for us at the end!" See, even leathered classic-rock fans can't help but fall under the spell of "Da People's Champ." Maybe it's because he doesn't go in much for profanity or samples. Maybe it's because he's got a track with Juvenile. Or maybe it's because he's -- sorry Spaide! -- so damn cute.

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