Best Hip-Hop Artist (2009)

Butta Verses

Raised in the Boogie Down Bronx, the MC born John Joseph Cullen left his gritty native borough for the sunnier climes of Coral Springs in 1993. To our benefit, he brought his hometown's reverence for true hip-hop culture and dove into the break-dancing scene at now-defunct spots like the Sugar Shack and Club Boca. He soon discovered, though, that his real gift was for rhyming — he scored his current nickname in honor of his easy-gliding delivery. Eventually, around the turn of the millennium, one of his demos landed with Maseo of De La Soul. That led to Butta V's closest thing to a big break: a guest spot rapping on De La's track "Oh No" and a release of his 2004 debut album, Brand Spankin', on Maseo's Bear Mountain Recordings imprint. He's continued a steady grind since then, and if a quality hip-hop act has rolled through town — KRS-One, Boot Camp Clik, Wu-Tang Clan — Butta Verses has probably opened for them. A follow-up full-length, Reality BV, followed last September and raised the bar, showcasing Cullen's slow-burning narrative technique, crafty wordplay, and a flow as smooth as... well, you know.

"Work" off of the debut album "Brand Spankin'" from Butta Verses:

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