Artist on the Verge: Kap G

Atlanta rapper Kap G had big visions in his head when he named his debut mixtape, released in March, "Like a Mexican." "I wanted to come in the game with a bold statement," says the 19-year-old first-generation Mexican-American, born George Ramirez. "We're the forgotten, and it's time for us to have a voice."

Kap's peers are hearing him loud and clear. Street singles "Tatted Like Amigos" and "Jose Got Them Tacos" boast appearances from Wiz Khalifa and Jeezy, respectively, and "Cocaina Shawty" features Fabolous and production from Pharrell Williams.

"Keep in mind, this project was free," says Atlantic Records head of urban A&R Kawan Prather, who signed Kap in late 2012. "People weren't coming at him about any big checks. For somebody like Pharrell to give him a free record with Fabolous on it, and for everybody to agree on putting it out? That just shows what they think about him. He's at the 'cool kids' table."

Kap's syrupy drawl and catchy lyrics aren't the only selling points. He also has an unconventional look, rocking blond bangs and skinny jeans, and serious Atlanta cred: He was born and bred in College Park, 2 Chainz' hood, and he attended Tri-Cities High School, where Outkast's Big Boi and Andre 3000 met. Atlantic isn't relentlessly pushing him yet, allowing him to develop artistically and build his own fan base. Kap is doing his part by continuously releasing videos - next up is one for "Come Up," produced by Bangladesh (Lil Wayne, Ludacris) - and planning a summer tour and a full-length debut featuring more already-recorded Pharrell productions.

Beyond Pitbull, Latino rappers are still rare, especially in the South, but Kap hopes to set a new standard. "People looked at me crazy at first," he says. "But it's growing on people, whether they're Mexican or not - because it's good music."