2015 was an insane year for music, based on whether it was Adele with her record-breaking numbers (Over 3 Million, U.S Alone), or Drake’s Messi like performance throughout (dropped 2 great projects, convincingly won some rap beef and Shutdown Wireless), or was it the amazing breakthrough acts (list below), the increased popularity of Trap music and the Soulection movement pioneering a sound that is ahead of its time, yet reached so many.
So the acts that have made the team sheet as candidates with a highly anticipated year ahead are as following, it was a tough one, but for the year of music that I’ve personally consumed up, these are the gems that are looking very promising.
Kehlani – The 20-year-old Oakland, CA, singer who had previously been in a group named PopLyfe which came 4th in American Idol’s 6th Season in 2011, has certainly come along way with a 2015 sold out North American tour that was preceded with her also headlining a European tour briefly after. With influences like Jill Scott, Lauryn Hill, Erykah Badu she certainly has picked up an Aaliyah like comparison along her journey to full time success.
Highlights: ‘Tore Up’, ‘All In with MR CARMACK’ and ‘Cloud 19’ which was my favourite project but it was her 2nd mixtape ‘You Should Be Here’ which gained her a deserved Grammy Nomination.
Post Malone – Also 20 years old and coming in from Syracuse, NY, comes from a multi-genre background due to his father’s love for music in addition to his cousin giving him the introduction to rap music thus producing music when he was only 16. Malone is known for being quite a musical talent with his unique singing voice, which makes sense based on the fact that his musical origins also include country which diversifies him in the hip-hop culture.
Highlights: What’s Up, Too Young & White Iverson with a highly anticipated album for 2016.
Lil Uzi Vert – Is one to lookout for as he released his debut project two months ago which was absolutely fire, especially for us ravers! Uzi Vert has broken into the scene with some leverage as his feature list consisted of Young Thug, Wiz Khalifa and production by TM88 members and FKI. But Let’s not take anything away from the Philly native, the kids good and in a sense, reminds me of Future, Young Thug, and Swae Lee in one huge blend at times with his various flows and vibes, yet with his own twist.
Highlights: Luv Is Rage EP
Sam Gellaitry – Was certainly causing waves last year, with an enormous following on Soundcloud of 112K. So you could only imagine that with a growing fan base, the Stirling, Scotland producer will only be aiming to take 2016 by storm. Gellaitry’s production is quite elite and mature which amazes me as he’s only 18 years young, but already has such a strong presence in Future sounds alongside his collaborators/friends Soulection.
Highlights: Short Stories EP
FKI – Is a production team which consists of two producers, 1St Down and Sauce Lord Rich. The Atlanta duo both perused music together as engineers by deciding to perfect their craft and study studio engineering at Full Sail University. Once receiving their degree’s, it was only right that they began to make an impact on the music industry. 2014 was when work with Post Malone began as they discovered what could be possibly be the start of something amazing!
Highlights: Have worked with artists like, Rich Homie Quan, Jeremih, T.I. and YG. Their most recent work contributed towards Lil Uzi Vert’s ‘Luv Is Rage’ and Post Malone’s induvial singles.
Amir Obe – Brooklyn born and Detroit raised, Amir displayed his talents in 2015 rapidly, as I caught wind of 3 tracks that consisted of nothing but heat. With affiliations to OVO and PARTYNEXTDOOR in particular, we saw the pair come through in full effect on songs like ‘I’m Good’ and ‘Truth For You’ that also appeared on his 2nd project’s track list (HITGA). Obe’s got bars, a mean flow to match and like I always say… too much finesse.
Highlights: Happening In The Grey Area EP, current status: on repeat
Roy Woods – From Brampton, Ontario, Canada, was also a part of OVO’s summer takeover, featuring on his label’s first Apple’s Beat 1 Radio show. Wood’s vocal range has characteristics that give you a glint of Michael Jackson almost, which is something that isn’t just said lightly. So keep your eyes peeled for his next collective of work. We’ve already heard the 19-year-old deliver at such a high level with tracks like Drama which featured Drake and two sick visuals for ‘Jealousy’ and ‘Get You Good’. I Must say that roaster is moving quite X-Men like.
Highlights: EXIS EP
Stormzy aka The Problem – Although considered a grime artist, I’d like to consider the South London, UK, talent as more of a musician, as he displayed in 2015 that he has more in his locker than just the norm. His grime flow is as if he’s been a veteran in the game, he can switch it up to rap with no trouble and has given indication that he can also slow it down to a sing/rap vibe on a track. Qualities like that are hard to just confine in one lane, with his MCing experience coming from the early age of 11 years’ old, the “#Problem” certainly has taken the UK scene by storm with a hugely growing fan base and close affiliations to Skepta and JME’s Boy Better Know who also had a great year.
Highlights: Shut Up, You’re Like, performed ‘Shut Up’ for British Heavyweight boxer Anthony Joshua’s ring walk Vs. Dillian Whyte.
Tory Lanez –With his Fargo Friday releases on the hip hop site ‘HotNewHipHop’ attention towards the rapper/singer accumulated beside his 2014 efforts with projects like Lost Cause. The 23-year-old from Toronto headlined his own North American tour/European tour in 2015 which was certainly a big year for Lanez as he dropped 3 mixtapes, with two of them on Christmas Day. Lanez describes his music as “Swavey” in interviews which is understandable as that's literally what it is, with the catchy hooks and smooth melodies throughout songs that keep him as a top contender for this year. Once you’ve discovered his music you won’t look back.
Highlights: ‘Other Side’, ‘Looks’ from The New Toronto EP/Chixtape 3 EP, Cruel Intentions EP
SG Lewis – Last year was when I discovered the Liverpool producer and singer/songwriter, thankyou Shazam. Hearing the quality of his single ‘No Less’ which was delivered so cleanly and ‘Warm’ which I discovered in the credit’s for the HBO show Ballers starring Dwayne The Rock Johnson. With a voice like his, and such pleasant songs to listen to, its only right that he has been booked for Coachella’s April line-up and he is already preparing a follow up to his EP with a 2016 summer album. With artists like Pharrell and Justin Timberlake impressed by his soulful vocals, Lewis shall be combining that with his love for the electronic sound that he admires coming out from the Soundcloud community.
Highlights: No Less, Warm, Shivers EP
Bryson Tiller – Tiller’s rise to fame was hugely successful in 2015, with his hit ‘Don’t which blew up big on Souncloud with the aid of some co-signing from record producer Timberland and Drake along the way. Don’t was followed up by ‘Sorry Not Sorry’, ‘Exchange’ and the 23-year old’s ‘T R A P S O U L’ Album. The album debuted at number 11 on the Billboard 200 and compellingly trapped many female souls into his songs with his upsurge through the charts. So Is this new tree branch of the Trap genre one that shall be heavily replicated in the year ahead?
Highlights: ‘T R A P S O U L’ Album
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