From UK drill to lo-fi house, a few of the musicians that’ll be making your 2017.
What does 2017 have in store? We don’t have a crystal ball, but we do have a list of 10 artists who look set to make the year their own.
Dave – aka Santan Dave – has crammed a lot into his 18 years. From Streatham, south London, he’s a philosophy and ethics student, a Grade 7 pianist, and perhaps the brightest hope in UK rap. He started the year on Red Bull Studios’ Midlands Vs London cypher and ended it seeing his Wanna Know track get a prestigious Drake remix.
Listen to: Two Birds No Stones
2. Stefflon Don
Born in Birmingham, raised in Rotterdam, now resident in London, Stefflon Don’s music crushes rap, dancehall and the Dutch “bubbling” sound into something upfront and volatile. Features with Lethal B and K Koke made her one to watch in 2016, but it’s new mixtape Real Ting – released December – that has really cemented her reputation.
3. Ross From Friends
Don’t let the jokey name put you off: Ross From Friends makes music with serious substance. One of the so-called “lo-fi house” wave, this London producer’s dusty, soulful productions make something beautiful and profound from rough edges and low bit-rate samples. Check his You’ll Understand EP, which has just seen issue on Lobster Theremin.
4. Young T and Bugsey
Last year, teenage Nottingham duo Young T and Bugsey turned social media heat into a proper record deal when they inked on the line with Black Butter Records. Their distinctly Midlands brand of UK rap is hard enough to please the underground, but potentially hooky enough to hit the mainstream – and they’re already winning some influential fans. See the video to No Micky Mouse Ting, which features a cameo from Stormzy.
Listen to: No Micky Mouse Ting
Or:la made a name for herself throwing her venue-hopping Liverpool party series Meine Nacht, but now she’s rightly getting recognition for her own productions. See UK Lonely, a four-track EP for Scuba’s Hotflush that mixes up fractured rhythms, melancholy soul and the entrancing pacing of classic club rollers.
6. Jorja Smith
Jorja Smith broke cover in January 2016 with Blue Lights, a part-rapped, part-sung plea on behalf of inner-city youth that plucked a lyric from Dizzee Rascal‘s Sirens. It’s a neat intro to a vocalist who draws as much from grime and reggae as she does from her hero Amy Winehouse – and her new EP Project 11 proved it was no fluke.
7. Moses Sumney
With just his voice, a guitar and a loop pedal, Mosey Sumney can bring a room to stunned silence. Increasingly, though, the LA-based musician is spreading his wings, further integrating electronics in his sound and teaming up with other virtuosos like bass maestro Thundercat. In 2016 he toured the US with James Blake; in 2017 he’s turning his attention to the UK with a must-see show at London’s Union Chapel scheduled for Apri
8. Ray BLK
Ray BLK has come a long way in the last 12 months. My Hood was a sweetly soulful glimpse of London living with a guest spot from Stormzy. But new track Chill Out found her looking far outside her manor. The video was filmed in Kingston, Jamaica with the Gully Queens, an LGBT community living on society’s margins – and the song’s message of empowerment shines bright.
Listen to: Chill Out ft SG Lewis
9. Sam Gellaitry
A 19-year-old from Stirling, Scotland, Sam Gellaitry’s dreamy, hyper-melodic take on UK bass has seen him ink a deal with XL Records. Fans of Hudson Mohawke and Rustie should check out his two EPs, Escapism and Escapism II, pronto.
From Brixton Hill, 67 – aka ASAP, LD, Dimzy, Monkey, SJ and Liquez – are the sound of London right now. Their recent mixtapes Let’s Lurk and iTunes Hip-Hop chart-topper In Skengs We Trust offer a volatile mix of drill, rap and grime that should be considered essential for fans of Section Boyz, Giggs, etc. Also check out their track Jackets, featuring Nines, on XL’s forthcoming New Gen LP.
Listen to: Jump Out Gang