RLGT Up-Next: 5 Artists To Watch For in 2017
DISCLAIMER: First off, I want to formally take thechance to let y’all know that their probably won’t be any in depth Top 10 albums/songs lists this year. As fun as the ‘dick-swinging contest’ would be (word to Kanye for the terminology), that’s really all it ends up being. When it comes to something like art you can look at them individually, review them critically and judge them in that sense, but as soon as comparisons come into play is when things start to become less thought out and more elitist in the sense that the pop-culture hierarchy begins to rear its ugly head. List-makers become more concerned with including the critically acclaimed music rather than the stuff they actually liked, and when they do include the stuff that they actually liked, it comes across as amateur – or at least this is what I’ve noticed. With that said, if I had to choose my personal favourites for 2016, it might look something like this:
Sure, there were probably some better projects (that I might not have even gotten around to listening to), but these were the albums that kept me coming back time after time. In terms of my least favourite (/most underwhelming based on my personal hype), that list would look something like this.
4 Your Eyez Only made this list based on that aforementioned criteria of not living up to the hype I had for it, but could have just as easily been in my top 10 based off of a few songs alone (i.e. that title track… oooweee). The rest, well they were just plain bad.
*Swinging comes to a pendulumic hault*
NOW, to the reason that the 4 or 5 of you readers are really here: These are my picks for the top 5 artists set to blow in 2017. Again, this all comes down to personal favour, but in my humble f*cking opinion I’d say these guys got a pretty great shot at widespread, lasting success granted all goes well. In comparison to top albums of the year, I’d tend to place a little more importance on these guys; those projects already happened, but these dudes, they have potential to be the future.
Anyways, lets get into it.
(And yes, they are in particular order – game on)
Smino is so good that even Kendrick Lamar tried to set him up to fail. Well, not technically, but the St. Louis based rapper was recently taken off of the final version of Big Sean’s latest single, “Living Single“, after many fans applauded him for having a better verse than both Big Sean and Chance the Rapper on the track. As many know, the last time Sean got ATE on his own track (and this is coming from a Seandon stan), people talked about that Kendrick verse for literal years. Obviously there is no official explanation as to why Smino didn’t make the final cut, but got the sake of argument lets just go with that.
Joining the class of unique-voice, crazy-flow rappers that are popping off currently (Saba is another, but we’ll get to him), Mr. Smino Brown brings a vibrant energy to every track he hops on. Having already released 2 acclaimed tapes, look out for blkswn to drop in early 2017. For now, check out the title track below, and get a taste of whats to come over on his Soundcloud.
4. Daniel Caeser
Ontario’s own Daniel Caeser possesses possibly one of the greatest sounding voices in the class of 2017. Paired with an insane song-writing ability, Caeser’s music has been a personal fixation of mine over the last month of so. The range of ability shown from the effortlessness on “Japanese Denim” vs. the raw emotion as seen on the likes of “Show No Regret” truly reveals how talented this kid really is.
After hitting it big with the recent track “Get You” ft. Kali Uchis, which recently eclipsed the 1M mark on his Soundcloud, it should come as no surprise when Caeser becomes a common name to hear throughout next year. Check out the popular cut below!
Technically not a newcomer at all, Atlanta based artist 24hrs previously found moderate success as a rapper by the moniker Royce Rizzy before deciding to embrace his own advice: “Every 5 years… reinvent yourself.”
Every 5 years .. Reinvent yourself
— Rizzy (@roycerizzy) September 28, 2016
Now, back as the new and much improved (in my meaningless opinion) 24hrs, new modern vocal vibes take main stage, and frequent neon collabs with the likes of Ty Dolla $ign & Roy Woods have brought what may be considered by some to be an unexpected buzz. To me, it shouldn’t be considered this at all, and might just be the best glo-up that we’ve seen in hip hop since Tity-boi became 2 Chainz. As the brother of fellow up-and-comer Madeintyo (who narrowly missed the cut for this list… mainly based on the fact that he was already one of my favourite artists of 2016), hip-hop may just have its next power family. Check out the recent track “What You Like” ft. Ty Dolla & Wiz Khalifa over a bonkers beat by Hit Boy below, and check out 24hrs complete yet scarce catalog over on his Soundcloud.
Making standout appearances on Chance the Rapper’s Coloring Book (he also delivered that crazy verse on Acid Rap a few years ago) & Noname’s Telefone, Chicago rapper Saba finally released his latest mixtape Bucket List Project to glowing reviews.
Chance fans will dig this guy, and to be honest there really isn’t much that needs to be said about Saba. The man simply makes great sounding music, with positive yet realistic vibes that give you a window into his life, thoughts, and dreams. With a crazy work ethic and talent as far as the eye can see, barring any sort of musical tragedy (knock on wood), 2017 should be a big year for the 22 year old. Check out “World In My Hands” with the aforementioned Smino & LEGIT here, and be sure to listen to the entire Bucket List Project. The future is bright.
Oh boy, where to start. Without a doubt, and obviously without any disrespect to any of the other artists on this list, if I had to put my money on any artist doing something really, really special in 2017, it would be El Paso, Texas bred singer-songwriter Khalid. With one of the most delicate & gentle, yet jaw-droppingly unique vocal palletes out, the 18 year-old (YEA, he’s only 18) seems to be poised to take over the airwaves.
If anything, listeners might have heard the crooners track “Location” earlier this year as it did NUMBERS across the internet (6 million, on Soundcloud alone, to be exact), but to say this is his only worthy track would be a farce. As DJ Booth so perfectly worded it, Khalid sings of “Puppy love for the digital era”. Hell, perhaps I’ve just watched The Breakfast Club one too many times and youthful expression has become my go-to topic, but even the dudes demo’s are better than some of your favourite artists album cuts (i.e. one of his rough cuts entitled “Saved”).
Currently, Khalid has no full projects under his belt, and in the name of quality over quantity has only readily released a handful of tracks at this time, though he is currently working with a major label for a future release. As some of this years biggest artists have proven, you don’t necessarily need a large catalog to pop-off, and you definitely don’t need an album. For now, kids of the internet, music lovers in general, and all of the overlap will continue to anticipate what come next. If I had a guess though, I’d be expecting sometime pretty special.
Check out the latest from (The Great) Khalid, a collaboration with Brasstracks for #Songsfromscratch called “Whirlwind”, and be sure to listen to everything Khalid has for us so far over on his Soundcloud.